Claverley, Shropshire

Guide price

Bedrooms: 9
A beautifully located, and immaculately presented country house and estate extending to about 177 acres.

The rural hamlet of Ludstone is situated in a delightful, tranquil corner of Shropshire. The hamlet is made up of the Ludstone Hall Estate and a small collection of other properties, part of the rural parish of Claverley. The most attractive village of Claverley features the parish church of All Saints dating from the 11th century, has various village clubs and societies. Post office, primary school and two public houses.

Ludstone is about 7 miles from the popular riverside market town of Bridgnorth which has an exceptional range of everyday amenities. The larger county town of Shrewsbury is 28 miles distant whilst there is easy access to various commercial centres of the Midlands with central Birmingham about 26 miles distant. Wolverhampton railway station is just 10 miles away, with trains to London Euston from about 1hr 51 minutes and to Manchester Piccadilly from about 1hr 10 minutes. Birmingham Airport is 35 miles away.

Historical Notes

Ludstone Hall has a fascinating history, dating back to medieval times. The parish of Claverley, of which it has been a part, is one of seven manors recorded in the Domesday Book of 1085 in the possession of Roger Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury. After 1098 it came under the control of the Deans of Bridgnorth and it continued as a farm belonging to the college of St Mary Magdalen at Bridgnorth. In 1548 the Deanery of Bridgnorth was leased for 21 years to John Seymour who later parted with his interest to William Whitmore, a merchant of London. By an Act of Parliament in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I the Whitmores were able to purchase outright.

The present Ludstone Hall was built in around 1607 by the Whitmore family on the original moated site. From the 13th Century many manor houses were enclosed with moats, many for security but also for other functions such as fish ponds, as is believed to be the case at Ludstone. In 1735 it was claimed that the moat at Ludstone Hall contained 1,000 carp, 1,000 tench and 1,000 perch. Nevertheless, it is clear that the moat was also created to provide an attractive setting for the house, echoing the moated castles of the great and good.

The house remained in the possession of the Whitmores for two and a half centuries and was sold in 1867. In the early years of George I's reign the Whitmores appeared to have moved away from the hall and to have left it as a farm and this undoubtedly explains why the present house is unspoiled and retains so much of its 17th Century character. With the owners being absent there was no inducement to make 'improvements' in the 18th and early 19th centuries. By good fortune Ludstone Hall was acquired in 1870 by a Mr J. R. Cartwright who, appreciating its exceptional qualities, undertook a sympathetic restoration. Mr Cartwright also built the Coach House and current Gate Lodge in 1873, laid out the gardens and created the lake to the south.

The house faces south and the principal approach is from that side. It is believed that the older approach is from the east where the drive still exists and enters the moated enclosure between two square stone-built lodges with pyramidal roofs. It is believed that these were guard houses and understood that together with the abutments of the bridge are surviving portions of the mediaeval gate house.

After Joseph Cartwright's ownership Ludstone Hall has had just five owners, Captain Tudor Owen from 1910, Mr E. H. O. Carpenter from 1933, Mr & Mrs M. H. Rollason from 1939, Mr George Fergason from 1970 and Mr & Mrs K. Smith from 1997 to the present day.

Lot 1 – Ludstone Hall and about 156.1 acres

The majority of the estate is offered for sale as Lot 1 although the vendors may consider a sale of the Hall with less land.

Ludstone Hall

The historic Hall presents a wonderful family house that despite its age offers extensive modernised accommodation of a high specification and a layout well suited to modern living. The interior extends to over 8,000 sq ft with a wonderful balance of accommodation that includes fine reception rooms, well-proportioned bedroom suites and an exceptional indoor swimming pool complex.

The Hall is constructed of brick elevations with beautiful stone dressings. The handsome front elevation has perfect symmetry and features impressive Dutch gables and a two storey semi-circular central bay rising to a stone balustraded balcony. The entire is surmounted by pitched and gabled tiled roofs crowned with striking diagonal chimney stacks. Other fine features include mullioned windows and the remarkable survival of original lead rainwater goods, all beautifully ornamented. Ludstone Hall has the distinction of a Grade I Listing.

The Accommodation

An ancient front entrance door leads into a vestibule with double doors to an entrance hall having vaulted ceiling and twin archways opening through to the splendid reception hall. The panelled reception hall is a dramatic room with oak inlay floor, a wonderful carved stone fireplace and an elegant semi-circular window with perimeter seats. The dominant feature of the room is the magnificent ornate plaster ceiling with its twelve pendants.

Immediately off the reception hall is the oak panelled staircase hall dominated by the wide 17th century oak staircase with its elaborately carved newel posts surmounted by uncommonly large finials of 4-sided vase form. A door beneath the stairs leads to a lobby with access to the garden, off which is the elegant principal cloakroom.

The well-proportioned sitting room has full height oak Carolean panelling, featuring Corinthian pilasters ornamented with fret patterns and with a beautifully carved frieze above. There is a substantial carved stone corner fireplace and in the opposite corner is an early 18th century arched niche with display shelves. There is a beautifully fitted study with large walk-in strong room.

The dining room has oak panelled walls, the panelling believed to have been relocated from the second floor 'chapel'. Other features include window seats and a substantial stone fireplace. Adjacent to the dining room is a secondary kitchen/servery, perfectly located and equipped for entertaining. The substantial drawing room features large windows on two elevations, full height pine panelling and an elegant fireplace with carved mantlepiece.

The kitchen is ideally located and a large window and glazed door provide an amazing view of the moat and gardens. The room is fitted with an extensive range of handmade kitchen furniture and features seating, a four oven AGA and an extensive range of appliances. Immediately off the kitchen is a laundry room and WC. Off the rear hall is a boot room/cloakroom and a storeroom with door to inner courtyard.

Ludstone Hall has a remarkable leisure complex to the rear, accessed directly from the house and built in 2000. There is a function room featuring an original well inset into the floor with safety glass cover. There are oak panelled walls and a spiral staircase rises to a store room. There is a fully equipped, handmade oak bar. The dramatic pool room has an ornate plaster ceiling with large circular domed roof lantern and the walls feature illuminated statue niches giving the room a distinct Roman feel. The swimming pool has the rare distinction of having an extraordinary solid retractable floor which rises from the base of swimming pool in just a few minutes to create a dance floor. There is a separate dining area in a circular section of the room and beneath the raised platform is a hot tub. Three sets of double French doors lead out to the terrace and gardens. The leisure complex is completed by separate ladies and gents showers, changing rooms and WCs.

Ludstone Hall has extensive cellarage with numerous store rooms and wine bins.

The principal staircase rises to an oak panelled landing. The first room is a substantial double bedroom or can be utilised as a dressing room, having a connecting door to the principal bedroom. This first bedroom has oak panelling and a fascinating stone fireplace with plasterwork overmantel featuring Joseph and Potiphar's wife. Originally the great chamber, the principal bedroom has oak panelled walls with a beautiful vine motif frieze above together with a deep moulded cornice. A wonderful fireplace, stone below and plaster above, features caryatid figures, the upper pair representing Adam and Eve and the lower pair John Whitmore and his wife. The plaster section features striking cartouches, characteristic of late Jacobean decoration. Connecting to the main bedroom is a luxury ensuite bathroom. The first floor is completed by two further bedroom suites, a large and beautifully crafted dressing room, an ironing room and two further shower rooms.

Both the principal and secondary staircases rise to the second floor where the most striking room is a large barrel-vaulted space known as the chapel, perhaps on account of its orientation and cruciform shape, whilst it seems more likely that it was intended as a long gallery which is commonly found on the top floor of Elizabethan and Jacobean houses. It has a splendid carved fireplace and double French doors out to a small balcony with a fantastic view over the grounds and the southern lake. The remainder of the second floor comprises four further bedrooms, two additional bathrooms and a storeroom.

Ludstone Lodge

Marking the entrance to the main southern drive is Ludstone Lodge, a very pretty gate lodge matching the construction of the house with brick elevations, some fine stonework and tall chimney stacks. The accommodation is virtually all on the ground floor comprising hall, living room, kitchen/breakfast room, two bedrooms and a bathroom.

The Outbuildings

To the east of the hall is an exceptional range of traditional outbuildings, beautifully maintained and flexible in use. The largest building range is the imposing coach house of brick and tile construction with stone detailing. The impressive entrance archway has a crest carrying the date of 1873. The ground floor comprises extensive garaging in the former stables plus tack room and large workshop. The first floor has had a high-quality conversion by the present owners to create a museum featuring the history and artifacts of the Ludstone Hall Estate.

To the rear of the coach house is a squash court with viewing gallery and WC. In this area of the grounds are a collection of potting sheds, greenhouses, cold frames and a traditional double garage of brick and tile construction.

The coach house stands within a most attractive courtyard whilst a further courtyard on the other side of the drive contains the Estate Office and a range of useful additional buildings. The Estate Office features a reception/staff office with oak floors and oak fitted furniture to include reception desk, work stations, visitor seating and a glazed visitor lobby with electronic door-entry system. Beyond reception is a splendid private office featuring pitched ceilings, exposed timbers and brickwork. Beautifully fitted out with hand crafted oak office furniture, extensive cabinetry includes cupboards, drawers, glass fronted cabinets and integrated television screens. The ground floor of the Estate Office is completed by a kitchen area plus WCs whilst there are store rooms at first floor level.

Within this range of buildings is the fascinating clock tower, a most impressive structure of brick and stone construction, refurbished in 1994 and featuring a working clock crowned by a cupola and weathervane.

The Gardens, Grounds and Farmland

The main approach to the Hall is from the south where tall stone pillars flank wrought iron gates which open to a wonderful vista towards the front of the house. One of the great features of the gardens are the outstanding sandstone walls and these flank the impressive entrance drive as it leads towards the house, lined by rose beds and tall clipped hedges of holly and yew. The beautiful front courtyard features a central island with an original statue of Mercury, modelled on the well-known Giovanni Bologna prototype. The moat abuts the forecourt, disappearing out of view to surround the gardens closest to the house. The inner gardens of the estate are securely enclosed by tall walls or security fences.

The gardens are divided into many captivating areas. One of the more formal areas is the delightful knot garden with its wonderful symmetrical patterns of box hedges, some depicting playing card emblems, others enclosing colourful rose beds. Planted against stone garden walls are roses and camelias.

To the west of the front courtyard expansive lawns lead away from the house, interspersed with some fine trees and enclosed by herbaceous beds, shrub borders and giant yew hedges. At the centre of the main lawn is an ornamental stone pool with fountain. The west side of the house is dominated by a beautiful stretch of the moat. On one side adjacent to the house are seating terraces, whilst on the other side the walls of the moat rise to well stocked beds planted with heathers and lavender.

An upper section of the west garden features raised terraces beneath a pergola clad with wisteria and here, arched doors in the tall garden wall lead into the northern section of the gardens. Here the grounds take on a less formal appearance and are dominated by the beautiful lake. Two stone paved terraces have been created as the perfect seating areas to enjoy the tranquillity and wildlife of this lovely part of the gardens. Wide paths meander through the wooded grounds where there are many specimen trees and a huge variety of rhododendrons and azaleas. A pretty stream cascades through the gardens to the lake, the edges of the waterway planted with hostas, gunnera and ferns.

To the east of the parterre garden is the orchard. A central path divides the two lawned areas, passing beneath archways covered in honeysuckle and flanked by symmetrical herbaceous borders. Beyond the orchard and to the east of the moat is the impressive walled kitchen garden. Here a large number of raised beds are surrounded by gravel paths and planted with vegetables, soft fruit and salad crops. Pathways are divided by long runs of dwarf box hedges and the tall garden walls are clad with vines and fruit trees. Along the south facing wall is a traditional timber framed glasshouse.

The remainer of the grounds of Lot 1 is a mixture of pastureland, woodland and water. To the west and south of the gardens the grounds have a distinctive parkland feel with permanent pasture interspersed with mature broadleaf trees. The northern section of Lot 1 is divided into four grassland fields and there are two substantial, modern agricultural barns. The lower building is a 6-bay steel portal frame cattle shed whilst the upper barn stands within a concrete yard, has concrete block and timber clad walls and offers secure storage with roller shutter door.

The parkland to the south features a beautiful lake divided into two and stocked with fish. There is an area of woodland habitat and the grassland rises to a hill with some breathtaking views. In the corner of the southwestern block of pastureland a certified 'Caravan and Motorhome Club' site has been created. The Registered Parkland is Grade II Listed.

Lot 2, about 20.25 acres

Available separately, this Lot is divided from the main ringfenced block of land on the other side of a country lane at the northwestern tip of the Estate. Lot 2 comprises two fields of permanent pasture extending to about 8.19 hectares (20.25 acres).

Lot 3 – Manor Fold

Available separately is a collection of 8 residential properties known as Manor Fold. These properties present an interesting residential investment opportunity. They are some distance from the Hall and out of sight with separate vehicular access. A range of traditional barns were converted to create 6 spacious houses around 2014. In addition to these homes there area a pair of semi-detached houses subject to agricultural occupancy conditions.

Further details regarding the properties at Manor Fold and the income generated are available on request.

Travel Distances

Bridgnorth 7 miles, Shrewsbury 28 miles, Birmingham 26 miles

Nearest Station – Wolverhampton 10 miles

Nearest Airport – Birmingham 35 miles

01905 813787

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