IronbridgeBenthall Hall
National Trust
Broseley
Shropshire TF12 5RX
 
 
 
Not so many tourists know about this historic house, but Benthall Hall in Shropshire, England is well worth visiting if you are in the area when it is open. It is not a Stately Home but an intimate Elizabethan manor house still lived in by the Benthall family.
 
Situated on a plateau above the gorge of the River Severn, this fine sandstone house has mullioned and transomed windows, and a stunning oak panelled interior with decorated plaster ceilings. It has a magnificent carved oak staircase leading to the upper floors.
 
Beside the path to the house is the interesting Restoration Church of St Bartholomew, also well worth visiting.
 
Apart from the gorgeous house, Benthall Hall is well-known for its charming gardens, renowned for their Spring and Autumn displays of crocus. The gardens are the legacy of two previous tenants – George Maw (1832 - 1912) and Robert Bateman (1842–1922).
 
The estate also includes the Benthall Edge woodland which is packed full of rare and special varieties of flora. It is just a short walk from Ironbridge to Benthall Hall through this spectacular woodland.
 
The House
Lawrence Benthall built the current house in 1583 on the site of an earlier medieval dwelling. The three-storey house is built of brick faced with sandstone with a large projecting wing and two double-storey bow windows. It is lavishly decorated inside with Jacobean carving, panelling and moulded plaster ceilings.
 
The Benthall Family were staunch Catholics who remained faithful to their religion. On the front of the two-storey entrance porch are five small circles. These marks were a secret symbol indicating 'priest's welcome here'. As good as their word, the family provided a secret hiding place for any visiting Catholic priest. Over the porch is a small priest's chamber, a reminder of those dangerous days, and in the floor is a small compartment, presumably for hiding sacred vessels if danger threatened.
 
The first piece of magnificent carving to greet the visitor is the oak staircase in the entrance hall. Built in 1618 it is embellished with wyverns and leopards, symbols of the Benthall and Cassy families. More leopards and wyverns decorate a splendid Jacobean fireplace in the hall. Upstairs are a drawing room with a richly decorated plasterwork ceiling and lavish panelling, and contemporary bedrooms.
 
The Benthall Family played an important role in British history but as a result of their religious leanings they suffered financial penalties and missed out on the riches bestowed on other aristocratic families. As a result Benthall Hall is a perfect time-capsule of late Elizabethan architecture. They were on the wrong side again in the Civil War and fell to the Parliamentarians in 1645.
 
The family sold the house in 1844 but then bought it back several generations later, before passing it to the National Trust in 1958 on condition that the family continue to live there.
 
Collections
Throughout the house are collections of 17th and 18th century furniture (mostly English); Welsh pewter, some porcelain and some 20th century paintings.
 
A Monograph of the Genus Crocus (1886)
The most outstanding treasure on display is a hand-tooled leather-bound 19th century book entitled A Monograph of the Genus Crocus written by former tenant, George Maw. The book, published in 1886, is illustrated by Maw’s own watercolours of which art critic, John Ruskin, wrote that they were “most exquisite … and quite beyond criticism”.
 
The delightful, friendly guides show visitors around, recount the family history, point out the secret hidey holes, and lift the carpet to reveal a complete floor of Maw & Co Victorian tiles.
 
Open
Seasonal opening: Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday afternoons during the summer season (March–September). 13:00 – 17:00 hours Gardens close half an hour later.  For current admission times go to Web:  National Trust/ Benthall Hall Admission times
 
Admission Price
National Trust Members: Free
Adult Admission to the house, gardens and grounds can be found at  Web:  National Trust/ Benthall Hall Admission Prices 
 
Disabled Access
Mobility car park with drop-off point
Mobility toilet
Braille and large print guides
The Grounds have slopes so are partly accessible. Some visitors may require assistance from their companion.
 
 
Facilities
Toilets, Tea Room: Open 13:00 – 17:00.
Afternoon tea of cakes and drinks is served in front of the fire.
Children – pushchairs welcome, children’s quiz trail available.
Dogs allowed in parkland and woodland only.
 
The Gardens
A restored period garden surrounds the house. It is an intimate garden with paths and secluded spots - a lovely peaceful place, ideal for leisurely walks amid primroses, wood anemones and orchids.
 
The Garden dates back to 1860, when George and Arthur Maw, owners of the Jackfield Tile Works took on the tenancy. The influence of the Maws can still be found in the garden to this day. George Maw travelled throughout Europe, and North America collecting many plants and bulbs on his way. One of his favourites was crocuses and he returned home to grow many species, with many still surviving in sunken frames.
 
In Spring and Autumn there is a wonderful display of crocuses which look like a carpet across the wilderness floor.
 
The Benthall family have collected a large variety of unusual plants over the years and there is a carefully restored plantsman's garden. The Old Kitchen Garden with its herbaceous borders lies to one side of the hall. There you can find crab apples, cherries and plums.
 
The garden has a very natural feel about it. The plants are left to intermingle and are not manicured and regimented as in other National Trust properties. Much of the garden's design that can be seen today comes from artist, Robert Bateman and his wife who lived at the Hall from 1890 to 1906. It was them who laid out rockeries and terraces and planted the topiary and the rose garden.
 
The visitor can venture beyond the garden into the wood and see various flowers throughout the seasons, including Narcissi and anemones, bluebells, camassias and lilies.
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone   +44 (0)1952 882 159
Mail   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Getting There
Benthall Hall is 1 mile (1.6 km) north-west of Broseley, 1 mile (1.6 km) south-west of Ironbridge, and 4 miles (6.4 km) north-east of Much Wenlock.
 
- By Car
From junction 6 of the M54 take the A5223 south towards Ironbridge. At the fourth roundabout turn left on to the A4169. At the next roundabout turn right on to the B4373 to Broseley. In Broseley turn right on to the B4375 and right again to Benthall Hall.
Parking: Free. (100 yards/91.5 metres).
 
- By Bus
Services run from Telford and Wellington to Much Wenlock. Benthall Hall is 4 miles (6.4 km) north-east of Much Wenlock.
 
- By Train
The nearest railway station is Telford Central, 7½ miles (12 km) away. For information go to Web:  National Rail Enquiries
 
- Walkers
The OS Grid Reference for Benthall Hall is 127:SJ658025.
 
Google Map - Benthall Hall