THE P RTAL
March 2012 Baddesley Clinton a visit by Eliza Treblecock
NESTLING ON the south side of the West Midlands conurbation of Birmingham and Solihull, Baddesley Clinton is a delightful Tudor Manor House which was, for twelve generations, the home of the staunchly Catholic Ferrers family. Te house was finally sold in 1940, still retaining much of its medieval character. Indeed when sold, the Estate covered the same area as it did in 1699!
It was bought by a distant cousin, one Tomas
Walker. He even changed his name to Tomas Ferrers. In 1980, with his son Tomas Weaving Ferrers-Walker at Baddesley Clinton, the property passed to the National Trust. It opened to the public in 1982.
Priests’ Holes Te house has at least three Hides or Priests’ Holes.
Te last one was discovered only in 1935 during some structural work. Entering the Kitchen one does not realise that what to all outward appearances is the garderobe or lavatory, isin fact a Priests’ Hole - not a very comfortable one, sitting in the sewer, but a Priests’ Hole nevertheless! Access was from upstairs and down a rope into the sewer. Te danger over, one had to climb back up the rope to a different type of safety. So this ingenious Hide was a sewer disguised as a sewer Hide. Te access is through the bedroom known as the Armada Room. It is believed that Fr John Gerard (who wrote his diary of the period, “Te Hunted Priest”) stayed in this Hide.
The Antiquary A family home from 1438 until 1980 the house is,
as one would expect, homely. Te staunchly Catholic Henry Ferrers, known as “Te Antiquary”, was fortunate not to be implicated in the Gunpowder Plot, although property he owned in London had been sub- let to the plotters for the storage of their gunpowder.
Blessed John Henry Newman Blessed John Henry Newman took tea in the house,
and there is a fine portrait of him outside the Chapel. Inside the lovely Chapel – built in 1876 - the walls are covered with gilded leather panels. Upstairs in the Party Room, there is another Hide inside the fireplace. Tis is the one discovered in 1935.
From the Moat Room one can view another. Tis one
could take two or three priests, all lying down. In 1587 Henry Ferrers was away in London leaving some sisters called Vaux in the house. With them were no less than nine English Jesuit priests. In fact the clerics had made Baddesley Clinton the base for their missionary work. Tis put everyone at Baddesley Clinton in danger
because the Act of Uniformity of 1539 made it treason to be, or to harbour, a Catholic priest. Not surprisingly, the house was under surveillance, but Nicholas Owen had done his work here, as at Harvington Hall, building Hides.
The priest hunters arrived All went well until October 1591, when seven priests
had to hide in the house for four hours as the priest hunters had arrived. It started at 5am and the priests just had time to secrete themselves. Tey included Fr John Gerard as he describes in his diary “Te Hunted Priest”, Fr Oldcorne, Father Stanney, and Saint Robert Southwell. As it turned out, all was well and the priest hunters leſt empty handed.
Te house will be of interest to all Ordinariate
members for its Recusant associations, but it is worth a visit for its historical value. Te excellent Restaurant is a must and there is the usual shop: All in all, a lovely day out.
Baddesley Clinton is open to the public every day except Christmas Day
telephone: 01564 783294
Rising Lane, Baddesley Clinton B93 0DQ
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16
| Page 17