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Castle Lodge, Ludlow


Castle Lodge is a fine large mostly 16th Century Mansion located in the centre of Ludlow, in Castle Square, with Ludlow Castle a nearby neighbour. There are some stocks near the building - possibly the market square stocks of old.

The building is listed II*, has fine 16th to 19th Century interior fittings - oak carvings - wall panels, doors and so on, some old stained glass, and a lovely pendant plaster ceiling. Even the late 18th Century railings outside are listed. The door arch is probably 14th Century, about when the property was originally built.

Despite its age and condition it is almost an unknown building with little mention in books or on the web. Listed Building details

The building is one of Ludlow's finest, with a great heritage and a fair number of authentic historical fittings and decorations. The building is in private hands. Reported to have been sold in 2018, its future is at present not known however a hotel conversion has been mentioned. Great shame. Public access is no longer available. It needed to be saved for posterity- not to have its insides torn out and scattered to the four winds which is a real risk. Hopefully the Grade II* listing may protect it a little but to change it to a hotel requires severe alterations. The various national charities just don't have the funds to take on every old building. It was reportedly sold for the price of a Stockport semi-detached house!

To visit the building all you had to do before 2018 was look for a sign by the front door reading "Open - Please ring bell" and it only cost three quid to look around. In 2011 there was severe illness in the occupied house, and the owner was left on his own with this vast ancient building to care for, and just the odd three quid to help. Some Tripadvisor comments were severely lacking in empathy. You may have needed patience waiting by the door, or it may have been closed for a period. The need to set in place a strong rescue plan for the building which kept in place the panelling, plaster and so on, really was serious.

To remedy the lack of information a little, I am presenting some small photographs of the building here. Ludlow has hundreds of ancient buildings, and no public money to maintain them. The Castle Lodge is in private hands and with no funding to maintain the building there was nothing in place to continue public access long term.

The building has only brief references in David Lloyd's book "The Concise History of Ludlow" - notably:
Robert Berry of Castle Lodge, official of the Council of the Marches, sitting in six parliaments from 1584-1614.
Described by Thomas Churchyard in 1587- the fayre house of Master Sackford - upper story added later by Robert Berry, like Thomas Sackford a Council official.
The lower parts built in the early 1570's by Thomas Sackford, incorporating an arched doorway from an earlier building on the site.
1643: Castle Lodge listed as a void house available to billet soldiers for the defence of the town from the Parliamentarians (the town surrendered after 33 days siege).
Robert Berry of Castle Lodge married Dame Katherine Howard widow of the 5th son of the Earl of Suffolk.

Such an old building must be haunted... reputedly (jointly with the nearby Castle) by Katie or Katherine of Arogon who lived for a time at the Castle with Arthur.
I found a reference in Hansard for 1938- Castle Lodge received a mention in the UK Parliament when the government's attention was drawn to the intention to sell the Lodge (then apparently owned by a Mr and Mrs Brown) and export it to America. It is still in Ludlow. This was only a few years after the film The Ghost Goes West (1935) which may have inspired such a move or story- but the entry is really there in Hansard, 4th July 1938.
In 1965 Castle Lodge was used during the filming of Moll Flanders.
Remarkable that such an ancient property should have so little readily available about it.

It is possible that one of the fireplaces Royal coat of arms came from the nearby castle.

Here are some images to look at - only small ones but more than is available anywhere else....
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