Pitchford Hall is Grade I listed and one of England’s finest Elizabethan half timbered houses. It is possible to view on a pre-booked guided tour. The first record of the estate is in the Domesday Book (1081 – 86) and “Piceforde” is described as follows:
Pitchford Hall has a long and largely peaceful history, having passed between many owners in its time and seen many alterations and renovations. Royalty have been infrequent guests, sometimes on pleasant vacations and sometimes on more urgent business. Boasting architectural oddities, wandering cigar-smoking ghosts and the weight of centuries, there’s plenty to discover on the Pitchford Estate.
Pitchford derives its name from a naturally occurring pitch, or bitumen, well by the Row Brook within the grounds and is one of the few such wells in the country. The bitumen was used for waterproofing and protecting the exposed timbers of the house. Opposite the pitch well is a ford across the Row, hence Pitchford.
Historical records relate that a mediaeval manor house existed somewhere on the site from at least 1284 to 1431 and it is possible that portions of the earlier house may survive within the fabric of the west wing. Soon after the three wings were completed a garderobe tower was added to the north east corner, overlooking the brook and rolling parkland. Many of the 16th century arrangements have been altered by successive waves of taste and need, with the exception of the drawing room where the paneling and ceiling are amongst the finest of their type and date back to 1626.
The famous Tree House at Pitchford, arguably the oldest in the world, is circa 17th Century origin – first mentioned in 1692. It was given a new image in 1760 and was renovated again in 1980. Situated in a large leaved lime tree (Tilia Platyphyllos) it is constructed in the same style as Pitchford Hall.
A part glazed door opens into the tree house to reveal a carved moulded cornice ceiling, stripped oak floor and gothic windows on all sides. There is evidence that the restoration in 1760 may have been the work of the Shropshire architect Thomas Farnolls Pritchard.
Queen Victoria recorded in her diary that she watched a visiting pack of foxhounds from the treehouse during her visit to Pitchford Hall as a young princess.
When it was first built in the 1600s the treehouse was supported entirely by the tree. Now, because of its great age the tree is held up by metal supports and wires, ensuring that the treehouse will remain standing for decades to come.
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House tour with tea and cakes £20