Slight scheduling error – this is today’s post!
Many castles are actually fortified manors. Manor houses were built during the times when Feudal laws existed in England, and throughout Europe, and they were administrative centres as well as homes.
Stokesay Castle is a gorgeous example of the mix of manor house and defensive castle. Built in the late 13th century by a wool merchant, who sadly drowned with a shipment of wool, it remained a family home until the 16th century. The defences were added not to protected it from the Welsh, but thieves. Attacked during the English Civil war, it’s largely ornamental gatehouse wasn’t much use. The Royalists were besieged, refused to surrender, then when asked for a second time, they did, which meant they saved face. Stokesay thankfully survived the slighting rituals and continued to be rented out to various tenants.
Stokesay is an example of a lightly fortified manor. Some features really didn’t help it – the gatehouse at the wrong end of the house and the large windows in the great hall went down to the ground, which made it vulnerable. Fortunately, it has survived intact and much of that is down to its owners. Gratitude should be given to the Victorian restorers who saved it from decay. John Allcroft, a glove manufacturer, left the castle unoccupied and built a new mansion nearby. Recognising it as a historical monument, by not living in it, it was left relatively unaltered. This preservation continues to this day, leaving Stokesay a wonderful treasure to the country.
It’s a beautiful mish mash of manor and castle. Largely unfurnished, it sits quietly in the Shropshire countryside.
Words can’t do Stokesay justice.