Baddesley Clinton - moated medieval manor house in Warwickshire

Stately Home & Garden

Baddesley Clinton - moated medieval manor house in Warwickshire

Baddesley Clinton in Warwickshire has been described as 'the perfect medieval manor house'. It occupies an island hemmed in on all sides by a wide moat, and has beautiful gardens as well as several secret compartments used to hide priests after the Reformation.

Originally built in the 13th century, the house came into the ownership of the Catholic Ferrers family in the reign of Henry VIII. Following the Reformation in the 1530s, the family remained loyal to their Catholic faith, risking their lives giving refuge to Catholic priests. 

There are three wings of the manor arranged around a courtyard garden. At one time there was a fourth side on the west, making Baddesley Clinton a square, but the west range was demolished in the 18th century.

The house is approached over a two-arched bridge leading to an imposing gatehouse with a large Elizabethan window above the entrance. Through the entrance is a small, formal garden surrounded on three sides by the wings of the manor, and on the fourth by the moat.

The house has beautifully decorated interiors, which are an excellent example of Elizabethan style.

The house has three “priest holes,” or secret compartments. These were created by the famous carpenter and Jesuit supporter Nicholas Owen, who had built similar hideaways into the nearby Harvington Hall, and in many other houses around the country. 

One of the secret rooms was designed to be entered through a privy, with a rope leading down to the house’s sewer, which was large enough to hide 12 people. This proved very effective when a conference of Jesuit priests was raided by the local authorities in 1591. Another priesthole is hidden in a ceiling.

The house remained in the ownership of the Ferrers family until 1940 when it was purchased by a distant relative, Thomas Walker (who later changed his name to Ferrers) and later passed into the hands of the National Trust.

Further reading

Links to external websites are not maintained by Bite Sized Britain. They are provided to give users access to additional information. Bite Sized Britain is not responsible for the content of these external websites.