Wilderhope Manor

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Wilderhope Manor
Wilderhope Manor - geograph.org.uk - 1062884.jpg
Location Shropshire, England
Coordinates 52°31′53″N 2°40′22″W / 52.53139°N 2.67278°W / 52.53139; -2.67278Coordinates: 52°31′53″N 2°40′22″W / 52.53139°N 2.67278°W / 52.53139; -2.67278
OS grid reference SO545928
Built 16th century
Listed Building – Grade I
Designated 12 November 1954[1]
Reference no. 1383384
Wilderhope Manor is located in Shropshire
Wilderhope Manor
Location of Wilderhope Manor in Shropshire

Wilderhope Manor is a 16th-century manor house in the care of the National Trust. It is located on Wenlock Edge 7 miles (11 km) south west of Much Wenlock in Shropshire, England. The manor is a Grade I listed building and since the mid 20th century has been used as a youth hostel.

History and amenities[edit]

Wilderhope Manor is an Elizabethan period manor house, built of local limestone and dating from 1585 when England was enjoying a period of prosperity and stability. The house was built for Francis Smallman and his initials can be seen on the ceilings.[2] The manor remained in the family until 1734 when the estate including the neighbouring Wilderhope farm was sold.[2] It is believed that the manor house was not used as a residence after the sale in 1734 and by 1936 was in a poor state and uninhabited.[3] In 1936 the property was purchased by the WA Cadbury Trust who donated it to the National Trust on condition that it was used as youth hostel.[4] Opening as a youth hostel in 1937,[4] it has remained in use by the Youth Hostels Association since.[5]

Despite years of disuse many of the original features such as the oaken stairways, oak spiral stairs and plaster ceilings survived.[1] The adjoining stable block is itself a Grade II listed building.[6]

The surrounding manor of Wilderhope is also managed by the National Trust and comprises wooded valleys, pasture, flower rich meadows and ancient hedgerows dating back centuries along unchanged field boundaries. Evidence of medieval ridge and furrow ploughing can still be seen in fields below Wilderhope Coppice.[7]

Major's Leap[edit]

The Manor's owner during the English Civil War was Major Thomas Smallman. He was a Royalist who was forced to flee from Cromwell’s approaching troops. After managing to escape on horseback, Major Smallman took a do-or-die plunge down a steep slope at Wenlock Edge. His horse was killed but Smallman survived thanks to an apple tree breaking his fall. Since then the ghosts of Smallman and his horse are said to appear in an area now known as Major’s Leap and have been said to have been seen at the manor.[8]

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