There aren’t many homes that can boast superb oak panelling and leaded windows that are reputedly from Nonsuch Palace – regarded as Henry VIII’s grandest building project.
But not all homes are a special as Castle Lodge.
Dating back to the 1190 – and rebuilt in 1580 – Castle Lodge is a one-of-a-kind property, located in the heart of the picturesque Shropshire town of Ludlow, next to the castle.
It was once home to Catherine of Aragon, when she was married to Prince Arthur. After Arthur died from tuberculosis, Catherine married his younger brother, Henry VIII.
This grade II* listed home is one of the finest historic homes in the country and is even included in Simon Jenkins’ book 1000 Best Houses in England.
The 12-bedroom home has been lovingly tended by William Pearson, who bought it 24 years ago with his wife Gwen. It was a labour of love for the now 82-year-old.
When they first bought the home, it had lain empty for a number of years and was advertised as offices for sale. Horrified at the thought of it being a commercial building, they bought it, even though it needed more than TLC – it also needed deep pockets to restore it.
They spent tens of thousands of pounds upgrading the electrics and plumbing, re-roofing it with 25,000 tiles and restoring this historical gem.
Soon after they unpacked their belongings, they decided that it was of such historic importance that the public should also have access to it.
“The building uses the finest oak panelling, out of Henry VIII’s best palace, it is magnificent,” says William. “I have about 2,000 panels, all fitted immaculately throughout the house; wonderful fireplaces, suspended hanging ceilings.
“It’s a beautiful place to live in, very high quality property. Houses like this are so rare, which is why it is listed in the 1000 Best Houses in England, alongside Windsor Castle and places like that.
“And even though we are in the centre of Ludlow, it is very quiet, particularly in the evenings.”
Under Mr Pearson’s custodianship, Castle Lodge is open 365 days a year and visitors from across the globe have marvelled at the floor-to-ceiling linen-fold and carved oak panelling, plastered ceilings, beamed walls, Tudor stained glass windows and unique carved fireplaces.
The couple lived in a suite of rooms and now the retired castings business owner, whose wife died five years ago, maintains the property alone.
Castle Lodge has a colourful history. Elizabeth I installed Thomas Seckford there when he was appointed Master of Requests and was put in charge of prisons. The property was also used by the Guild of Palmers and the Ludlow Corporation before becoming a finishing school.
And if you are interested in spooky goings-on, the ghost of Catharine of Aragon is said to haunt her former Ludlow haven.
It’s a substantial timber-framed building, offering 8,900 sq ft of accommodation space, and it would undoubtedly make a magnificent home if the new owners decide to inhabit all the rooms.
The ground floor comprises the Chapel, Drawing Room, Court Room and Great Hall, the largest room of which is an impressive 27’ x 20’5”, and there’s a substantial kitchen/dining room.
The first floor houses six bedrooms and a bathroom, while the second floor also accommodates six bedrooms and a further bathroom. There’s also plenty of room in the attic that can be converted into more living space.
What you won’t find is a garden to match these regal surroundings – instead, Castle Lodge has a small walled courtyard.
The estate agents say while it would make a fantastic family home, it would also be suitable as a guest house or restaurant, subject to planning consent.
* Agent: Balfours
* Tel: 01743 353511
* Price: On application