Packwood is another Tudor Manor house a few miles south of Birmingham, and a few minutes away from Baddesley Clinton. Packwood largely dates back to 1920s-30s, as a restoration and extension of a 16th Century timber framed farmhouse.
A Little History
Packwood House was built in the late 16th Century for John Fetherston who was a wealthy farmer, the Fetherston’s owned Packwood for several centuries until it was sold in the late 19th Century. During the English Civil War Henry Ireton; Oliver Cromwell’s general, stayed a night at Packwood before the battle of Edgehill in 1642, and one of the first floor bedrooms is named after him.
In 1905 the house was in need of large scale repairs and was sold off once more and acquired by Alfred Ash, a wealthy industrialist, who’s son Graham Baron Ash inherited the house in 1920. Over the next two decades, Baron Ash undertook a large and expensive restoration project, turning run down Packwood into the house we see today, adding Tudor features and furnishing with 16th-17th Century furniture making it as authentic as possible. When Baron Ash completed his restoration and fell in love with a moated castle in Suffolk he donated the house and gardens to the National Trust in memory of his parents.
When first entering the house, you briefly walk through a corridor before entering the first room The Hall.
The Hall was heavily modified by Baron Ash in the 1920’s which was styled as an Edwardian Entrance Hall. The room is furnished with 16th and 17th Century chests, Jacobean stools, a painting of Henry VIII and several tapestries.
A photo of the Edwardian room can be seen below, showing how different the room looks today.
Leaving the Hall you enter into the Long Gallery.
The Long Gallery was created by Baron Ash to connect the Hall with the now Great Hall, an outbuilding used as a barn. Long Gallery’s were a common feature of 16th Century great houses, used for entertaining guests, exercise in poor weather and for displaying collections of art. It is adorned with many 16th and 17th Century items including pieces of furniture, paintings, tapestries, metalwork and ceramics.
Whilst the main function of the Long Gallery is to connect the Great Hall to the main part of the house, it also gives access to the Staircase and the Parlour.
The parlour is adorned with Jacobean panelling and overlooks the inner forecourt, like much of the house, it is decorated with authentic furnishings and built with reclaimed fixtures from other properties.
The Great Hall was converted by Baron Ash from a barn and was used as an entertaining space. The table which spans over 6 metres, along with a few other items of furniture were acquired from nearby Baddesley Clinton during a great sale.
On the other side of the house back by the entrance, there are additional rooms to view; the Dining Room, Inner Hall, Study and Drawing Room.
The Dining Room is located to the left of the entrance corridor as you enter the house, opposite the Hall. The room has dark wooden panelling on the walls, original ceiling beams and original fireplace though this has been moved from the corner of the room and has a dual aspect view of the forecourt and also the south facing Carolean and Yew Tree Gardens.
Located behind the Dining Room via the Inner Hall, the Drawing Room is authentic to the house with original panelling and beams, unlike the Dining Room the fireplace remains in the corner of the room rather than the centre of the wall.
Unfortunately I was unable to locate any decent quality colour photos of the Drawing Room or Study that I could use on my blog, though I will endeavour to take some photos to append to this post next time I visit.
The Study is located at the back of the house, next to the Drawing Room and similarly accessible from the Inner Hall. Again like the Drawing Room the features in the room most notably the panelling are original.
The natural flow of the house tour is to view the First Floor rooms after the Great Hall as the staircase is off the Long Gallery, there are three bedrooms you can view along with a bathroom and the Hall’s gallery.
The first rooms you enter on the first floor are the Ireton Bathroom and Ireton Bedroom, named after Oliver Cromwell’s general Henry Ireton who stayed a night in the Ireton Room in 1642.
The bathroom – which is obviously not authentic to the 16th Century house – was plumbed in with the latest modern conveniences of the early 20th Century including bath and basin, chrome fittings and delft tiles (blue and white ceramics made in Delft in the Netherlands), which were popular before World War II.
Queen Margaret’s Room
Queen Margaret’s Bedroom is named after the bed which was reputed to have been slept in by Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI before the battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. Baron Ash acquired the bed from a contents sale at Owlpen Manor in Gloucestershire.
Queen Mary’s Bedroom
Unlike Queen Margaret’s Bedroom which was never slept in by its namesake, Queen Mary’s bedroom is named as such after Queen Mary, wife of George V stayed at Packwood House in 1927.
- https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/packwood-house – Packwood House National Trust Website
- http://www.nationaltrustimages.org.uk/search?term=packwood+house&filters= – Packwood House images on the National Trust Images Website