Baddesley Clinton is a moated manor house located just north of the historic town of Warwick; the house was probably established during the 13th century when large areas of the Forest of Arden were cleared and eventually converted to farmland. In 1438, John Brome, Under-Treasurer of England, bought the manor, which passed to his son, Nicholas. Nicholas was responsible for the extensive rebuilding of the nearby parish church dedicated to Saint Michael, done as penance for killing the parish priest, a murder reputed to have taken place in the great house itself. The house from this period was equipped with gun-ports, and possibly a drawbridge. When Nicholas Brome died in 1517, the house passed to his daughter, who married Sir Edward Ferrers (High Sheriff of Warwickshire) in 1500.
Henry Ferrers "The Antiquary" (1549–1633) made many additions to Baddesley Clinton, including starting the tradition of stained glass representing the family's coat of arms. Such glass now appears in many of the public rooms in the house. It is thought that he was responsible for building the great hall. In the 18th century the great hall was rebuilt in brick, and the east range was extended, though with great care to continue the style of the original building. The house was inhabited in the 1860s by the novelists Georgiana Chatterton and her second husband Edward Heneage Dering, both of whom converted to Catholicism. The house's Catholic chapel was rebuilt, along with a general refurbishment of the house. Major interior changes took place up until the 1940s, with the first floor outside the chapel being completely altered.
The Ferrers appear to have remained Roman Catholic recusants after the Reformation, along with many other members of the Warwickshire gentry. They sheltered Catholic priests, who were under the threat of a death sentence if discovered, and made special provision to hide and protect them. Several priest holes were built, secret passages to hide people in the event of a search. One hole is off the Moat Room, and is simply a small room with a door hidden in the wood panelling. A second leads into the ceiling, and though not visible to visitors, is reputed to hold six people. A third is hidden in an old toilet. Fugitives could slide down a rope from the first floor through the old garderobe shaft into the house's former sewers, which run the length of the building, and could thus probably hold at least a dozen people. These priest holes are said to have been built by Saint Nicholas Owen, a lay-brother of the Jesuits who made many masterful hides, notably at nearby Harvington Hall. He was eventually caught and tortured to death by the Protestant English government. The hides came into use at least once, in 1591 when a conference of Jesuit priests was raided by local authorities. They did their job, as no-one was caught.
The house as it now exists has extensive formal gardens and ponds, with many of the farm buildings dating back to the 18th century. St. Michael's church, which shares much history with the house is just a few hundred yards up a lane. Inside the house are a beautiful great hall, parlour and library, amongst other rooms, and there is a great deal of 16th century carving and furniture to be seen, as well as the 19th century accessories the later inhabitants used.There is a Mobility car park with separate parking, 10 yards from the house. Mobility toilet near shop and ticket office. Wheelchair available. There is a Braille guide available and an Induction loop. There are sensory experiences. Assistance dogs are welcome.
Location : Rising Lane, Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire, B93 0DQ
Transport: Lapworth (National Rail) 25 minutes or taxi. Bus Routes : No bus service.
Opening Times : Daily 11:00 to 17:00
Tickets : Adults £10.45; Children £5.15
Tel: 01564 783294