The Old House, Shropshire

Dogpole, Shrewsbury, SY1 1ES

The Old House

Experience this house


Historic Houses members must pay for entrance for this property.
Historic Houses members must pay for entrance for this property.
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The Old House sits on the historic thoroughfare of Dogpole, in the centre of Shrewsbury within the old Town Walls.

It is a substantial multi-period town house of 15th century origins, extended in two stages into an L-plan in the 16th century. The rear, riverside, of the property was extensively remodelled and rebuilt in brick in 1752.

Despite the age of the house, the principal rooms are large, spanned by large oak beams and extensive wood panelling. During restoration work to the wood panelling in The Library, painted decoration to the chimney breast was discovered behind the panelling. This can now be revealed via a hinged opening and visitors can view a painted motif of Henry VIII’s Tudor Rose and Katherine of Aragon’s Pomegranate. This painting is either from the early 1500s of possible from 1553 the year in which Katherine of Aragon’s daughter Mary ascended the throne. The reputed owner of The Old House at the time, Anthony Rocke was a courtier of the Queen.

1553 is a significant year for the house as it is also the date inscribed on the ornate wood fire surround in The Long Room, a large formal drawing room that looks out over the property’s garden, with views of The English Bridge, Lord Hill’s Column and the Wrekin (although we are not certain that Anthony Rocke had the foresight to know that Lord Hill’s Column would form the centre piece of the property’s view!)

The fireplace dated 1553 in The Long Room is simply stunning. Various wood inlays depict a scene of The Old House from a viewpoint just beyond the old English Bridge. Remarkably, today you can stand on the English Bridge and look at the same, almost identical roof-line of houses and church steeples.

Whilst the front of the house matches the Tudor “black and white” properties that Shrewsbury is renowned for, the rear of the property is Georgian. It was extensively remodelled in 1752 to match the trend of those times.

It’s not only the historical fireplaces and wood panelling that have survived. Smaller historical features such as door handles with ivory inlay, numerous stained glass windows and incredible wide oak floorboards all remain in situ.

In summary, The Old House is full of history. Its connection to Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon is intriguing. The story of its more recent incarnations from family home, to a school for girls, a solicitors’ office, a museum and then back to a private family house is equally fascinating.

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Let us know here