Soulton Hall

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Soulton Hall
Country house in rural setting
Soulton Hall in Shropshire
Soulton Hall is located in Shropshire
Soulton Hall
Location within Shropshire
Former namesSuletune, Suleton, Soleton, Sulton, Sowton, Soughton,[1]
General information
Architectural styleTudor architecture
Locationnear Wem, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Coordinates52°52′04″N 2°40′44″W / 52.8678°N 2.679°W / 52.8678; -2.679Coordinates: 52°52′04″N 2°40′44″W / 52.8678°N 2.679°W / 52.8678; -2.679
Elevation125 m (410 ft)
Construction startedprior to 1017 for the manor, on the current site by the late 1300s, with the current brick exterior begun in 1556
Technical details
MaterialGrinshill Sandstone and Tudor brick, incorporating medieval timber framing
Design and construction
Architect? Walter Hancock

Soulton Hall /ˈsʊltɒn/ is a country house in Shropshire, England, located two miles east of the town of Wem, on the B5065.

The Present Hall[edit]

View of the Present Manor House of 1556 at Soulton

The manor of Soulton is pre-Norman in origin. What can be seen externally of the present hall is constructed of brick, fired from clay at the site in a field now known as "the Brickle", a corruption of "Brick Kiln", with Grinshill stone dressings.

The present exterior of the building was constructed in approximately 1550. However in incorporates within the building traces of an older Tudor or medieval building of timber frame construction, which would have been of considerable extent for its time: four stories high, of three bays, and containing close stud work. Some of the timbers even within this structure were reused from a yet older building.

Coat of Arms added above the front door in 1668

The hall of the 1550s which can be seen today was built by Sir Rowland Hill (MP), who was the first Protestant Lord Mayor of London in 1549, and, as Sheriff of London, was involved in the case which established Parliamentary Privilege. It has been speculated that this building was the work of Walter Hancock, who built the Old Market Hall in Shrewsbury. The manors of Hawkstone and Soulton were sold in 1556 by Thomas Lodge to Sir Rowland Hill and Thomas Leigh under long leases (until 1610) for quiet enjoyment by his brother Edward Lodge.[2]

Within the building are traces of an older Tudor or medieval building of timber frame construction, thought to date from the late 15th century.

Examples of simple pargeting on this earlier building can be seen within the building.

In 1668 a semi-circular pediment bearing the marital coat of arms of Thomas Hill, a descendant of Sir Rowland's and a friend of Samuel Pepys, was added above the front door. The blazon on those arms is given below.

There are said to be masonic influences in this semi-circular pediment, and the hall's cubic appearance may be an early re-interpretation of Vitruvian ideas.

To the east of the hall is a walled garden, accessed by steps from the terrace on the north, or by a small gate to the north.

At the front of the hall is a Pillared forecort, again part of the 1550s design concept.

View from front door of Soulton Hall, showing the pillared forecourt
View from front door of Soulton Hall, showing the pillared forecourt, the older developments to the site are to the right of this view in the middle distance

Associated Buildings and Features[edit]

The Moot Hall
The Moot Hall
Exterior of Soulton Court
Exterior of Soulton Court
Aspects of the 'Soulton Court' Building, exteranly dated 1783, but including older buildings

Within the grounds of the hall are thought to be the remains of extensive medieval gardens although an alliterative view exists that the obvious forms in the fields near the hall may in fact be the remains of a deserted medieval village.

These are a Scheduled Ancient Monument.[3]

There are also some 18th-century farm buildings, of which a range of buildings now known as Soulton Court, which has a stone tablet dated 1783 relating to later work, incorporates a manorial moot hall of unknown date prior to the mid-1600s.

A dovecot once existed to the east of the garden wall, it had been dismantled by the end of the 1800s.


View of farmland Soulton: a no-till crop of wheat looking to the woodland

There is a farm at the manor, including Soulton Wood.

The farm practices no-till farming.

Research cooperation between Harper Adams University and Oxford University looking at the results of cultivation on Soil ecology, which used DNA sequencing of the soil biome has been hosted on the farm.[4]

The woodland is largely oak with some cherry and ash.

In total the woodland covers about 50 acres and it is designated ancient woodland.

Material from the wood was supplied for repair of the House of Commons after bomb damage in the Second World War.[5]

History of the Manor[edit]

Flint artifact found at Soulton in 2016, dated by Cambridge University at c.3,500BCE
Flint artifact found at Soulton in 2016, dated by Cambridge University at c.3,500BCE
Archaeological aspects of the manor's history

Saxon and earlier[edit]

Within the manor is evidence Bronze Age habitation, and some signs of Neolithic activity.[6]

The name of the manor is Saxon and means either 'settlement with a plough' or 'settlement with reeds' or possibly 'settlement in/near a gully' .[7]

The manor of Soulton existed at the time of the Domesday Book (see: PASE Domesday) and is recorded as "Svltune".

The Domesday Book goes on to record the manor as being freely held by Brihtric, the brother of Eadric Streona, who was the Ealdorman of Mercia. Both Brihtric and Eadric were slain by King Cnut on Christmas Day, 1017.

Post Norman[edit]

The building on the present site was pre-dated by Saxon ane perhaps earlier structures. A Norman Adulterine castle was constructed approximately 300 meters to the north-east of the hall during the Anarchy in the early 1100s.[8]

The manor supported the clergy of the King's Chapel of St Micheal in Shrewsbury Castle. The manor house has probably always occupied the current site with this fortification only being used for military and not domestic purposes.

The location is marked by a mound which can still be seen. This site is located around the point at which the roadway crosses a narrow gap in some wet terrain which would likely have had a strategic reason for establishing a fortification in that location.This building is believed to have burnt down at some point in the late 14th century.

1086 Entry in Domesdaybook
1086 Entry in Domesdaybook
A grant of the manor of Soulton in 1299
A grant of the manor of Soulton in 1299
Early Documentary Accounts of the Manor of Soulton

A grant of the manor in 1299 indicates that some of the ancient marker posts marking the boundary with Wales were part of the boundary of the manor.

Post 1556[edit]

The present hall, described above was built in 1556, remolding the surviving the earlier hall.

There is an 1801 Thomas Telford bridge on the B5065 known as Soulton Bridge.[9][10]

There are also the remains of a water mill active from at least the 1300s until the mid-to-late 1800s.


Before the modern spelling of 'Soulton', a wide variation in spelling can be observed:[11]

  • Suletune (Domesday Book, 1086)
  • Suleton' (Curia Regis Rolls 1200; Rotuli Hundredorum, 1255)
  • Soleton (Assize Rolls, 1271-2; Feudal Aids 1284-5A)
  • Sulton' (Assize Rolls 1271-2, 91-2)
  • Sulton (Feudal Aids 1431, 1470, 84; Calendar of Close Rolls Preserved in the Public Record Office, 1703; Shropshire Parish Registers, 1809)
  • Solton' (1334, The Shropshire Lay Subsidy Roll of 1 Edward III)
  • Sowton (Saxton's Map of Shropshire, 1695 The County Maps from William Camden's Britannia 1695 by Robert Morden)
  • Soughton; 1672, The Shropshire Hearth-Tax Roll of 1672)
  • Soulton (1677, Shropshire Parish Register)
  • Saulton (artifacts at the building, 1800s)

Coat of arms[edit]

rendering of the arms carved in stone above the front door of Soulton Hall in colour

The blazen of the arms added above the front door in 1688 is as follows:[12]

  • Hill of Court of Hill ermine, on a fesse sable a triple towered castle argent
  • Hill of Longslow: Sable, a lion rampent argent, langued and armed, crowned or between three croffed fromee fitchee of the second;
  • Evans of Watstay, Co Denbigh Argent, a fesse between three fleur-de-lys, sable;
  • Eyton of Rhiwabon C Denbigh ermine, a lion rampant crowned or, langued and armed;
  • Bird of Charleton, per pale or and argent, an eale displayed, beaked and armed;
  • Hill of Buntinsdale; gules, a chevron between three pheons argent, points downwards;
  • Lloyd, (Bishop of St Asaph, 1680) argent, a chevron between three crows sable, each holding in its beak an ermine spot;
  • Grifith, Lord of Bromfield Play of eight argent and gules, a lion rampant sable;

Culture and Heritage[edit]

View of Rosewell, ca. 1900

Soulton Hall is a Grade II* listed building, along with its walled gardens, pillared forecourt and carved stone work. Soulton Bridge, crossing Soulton Brook is a Grade I listed structure, built in 1801 by Thomas Telford.

It is now a hotel and farm. It is still owned by descendants of Sir Rowland Hill.

Some affinity both architectural, and by family connections has been attributed to Soulton with Rosewell (plantation) in Virginia.

An eighteenth century dance, the Soulton Jigg, is linked to the manor and published in John Walsh's 1740 "The Second Book of the Compleat Country Dancing-Master".[13]

There is periodic filming at the manor.[14]

Modern Long Barrow[edit]

The Modern Barrow at Soulton
The Modern Barrow at Soulton

In 2017, plans were announced to build a long barrow, similar to the new monument in All Cannings.

Three limestone megaliths were added to land to the north of the hall in late 2017. these standing stones are thought to be the first raised in Shropshire in centuries.

Construction on the Soulton Long Barrow was ongoing in 2018.[15][16]

There has been some engagement and observation of this project from archaeology researchers at Cambridge University.[17]

Soulton Standing Stones[edit]

Soulton Standing Stone One
Standing Stone One
Soulton Standing Stone Two
Standing Stone Two
Soulton Standing Stone Three
Standing Stone Three
The Soulton Standing Stones, erected in 2017

Three megalithic limestone standing stones are located on the access route to the barrow.

These were added to the approach route to the barrow in autumn 2017.[18]

The stone for these monoliths, as with the barrow itself came from Churchfield Quarry, Oundle, near Peterborough.

There is no deliberate alignment beyond way-marking for these standing stones.

Present Use[edit]

The manor is now a hotel and venue.



The hall and annex buildings are heated by 62kWp Ground source heat pump, and the home site has a 50kWp solar PV array. These were installed in the 24 months from December 2011.

See also[edit]

References and further reading[edit]

  • An excursion from Sidmouth to Chester in the summer of 1803 (1803) by Edmund Butcher. Whittingham.
  • Antiquities of Shropshire, Vol. 10 (1860) by Robert William Eyton. J.R. Smith,.
  • The Castles & Old Mansions of Shropshire (1868) by Frances Stackhouse Acton. Leake and Evans.
  • Memorials of Old Shropshire (1906) by Thomas Auden. Bemrose & Sons.
  • Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, Volume 40 (1919). Shropshire Archaeological and Natural History Society.
  • Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society Held at Philadelphia (1939). American Philosophical Society. 1939
  • Burke's Guide to Country Houses: Reid, P. Herefordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire (1978) by Mark Bence-Jones, and Peter Reid. Burke's Peerage.
  • The Tudor and Stuart Legacy, 1530-1730 (1989) by Lawrence Garner. Swan Hill.
  • The World of the Country House in Seventeenth-century England (1999) by John Trevor Cliffe. Yale University Press.
  • Hills of Hawkstone (2005) by Joanna Hill. Phillimore & Co Ltd.
  • Shropshire (Pevsner Architectural Guides: Buildings of England) (2006) by John Newman. Yale University Press.
  • Design and Plan in the Country House: From Castle Donjons to Palladian Boxes (2008) by Andor Gomme, Austin Harvey Gomme, and Alison Maguire. Yale University Press.


  1. ^
  2. ^ The National Archives, Discovery Catalogue piece description 'Bargain and sale (1556)', 215/31 (Shropshire Archives).
  3. ^ Historic England. "Soulton moated site and formal garden remains (1017236)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2017-02-11.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Soulton Hall on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2017-02-11.
  7. ^ English Place-Name Society. The University Press. 1990-01-01.
  8. ^ Historic England. "Soulton moated site and formal garden remains (1017236)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2017-02-11.
  9. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1237047)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Soulton Jigg - The Traditional Tune Archive". Retrieved 2017-02-11.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Church Times from Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd". Retrieved 2017-02-11.
  16. ^ "Sacred Stones :: Shropshire: Soulton Long Barrow". Retrieved 2017-02-11.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Pugh, James. "Three limestone monoliths mark a path to Shropshire's first long barrow in 5,000 years". Retrieved 2018-04-27.

External links[edit]