It is believed that this is the best preserved fortified manor house in England.
Back in 1281 Laurence Ludlow, a rich wool merchant from Shrewsbury, bought
this land from a John de Verdon.
As the Anglo/Welsh wars were coming to an end, Laurence felt secure enough to build for himself this fortified manor house. King Edward I granted him a licence to crenelate in 1291.
The building comprises a fine medieval tiled floor in the great hall, with a central octagonal hearth and above, double collar-timber roof beams. The hall is flanked by the north tower, possibly late 12th century, and the stone fortress type south tower with buttresses, Access is through an Elizabethan gatehouse and the whole property is enclosed by a curtain wall.
During the Civil War, it came into the ownership of the Craven family and was used as a Royalist supply base. After a short siege, without a pitch battle, the curtain wall was breached. Although it was captured by Parliamentary forces, the building was not slighted.
In 1869 the property was bought by John Derby Allcroft who set about its restoration and
since 1992 it has been
in the care of English Heritage and is open to the public.
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