The Gatehouse at Upton Cressett is one of the most romantic and historically significant gatehouses in the country, often compared to the Tower at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent in which Vita Sackville-West created her library and wrote her many books. Prince Rupert, nephew of Charles I and commander of the royalist troops, stayed in the Gatehouse during the Civil War and the panelled bedroom he slept in is named after him. A set of linen tapestries in the Gatehouse, known as 'The Four Seasons of Prince Rupert', celebrate his life as a soldier, naval commander, print-maker and scientist, as well as his visit to the Bridgnorth area in the Civil War.
This unique and historic self-contained property is available to rent either for romantic short-break weekends (minimum two nights), by the week, as well as over holiday periods. Several times a year, it is taken over as a writers' retreat by the Upton Cressett Foundation.
The property has recently been refurbished to a luxurious high standard with all modern comforts – including new Lefroy Brooks bathrooms, designer kitchen, satellite television and underfloor heating – that blend in with such historic features as original carved oak spiral staircase, mullion windows, ornate sixteenth century plasterwork, Tudor fireplaces, oak floors, panelled bedchambers and half-tester beds. The beamed dining room has a hand-painted Tudor ceiling by Adam Dant and an original north European refectory table which seats ten.
Built in 1580 as an entrance to the moated manor of Upton Cressett Hall, the turreted Gatehouse – with bedroom suites on two floors - has been featured on the cover of Country Life and was admired by Nikolaus Pevsner. In his acclaimed book Best Houses of Britain, Simon Jenkins described the Gatehouse as 'an Elizabethan gem'. There is a long-standing tradition that the young Edward V (one of the princes in the Tower), son of King Edward IV, stayed at the early manor in 1483 on his fateful journey from Ludlow Castle (some 17 miles away) to the Tower of London. Others who have stayed in the Gatehouse, as well as Prince Rupert, include Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Sir Denis Thatcher, Elizabeth Hurley and many writers.
The imposing Gatehouse has its own entrance gates which lead into a medieval apple garden with a fountain that evokes the atmosphere of the Elizabethan Age when Richard Cressett built the Gatehouse during the reign of Elizabeth I. The Cressett family were long-standing royalists who were closely connected with the royal court. Richard Cressett’s grandson, Sir Francis Cressett, was Treasurer to Charles I and was one of the men who tried to rescue the king from Carisbrooke Castle in 1648. His portrait by Wissing hangs in the Great Hall.
‘With its twisted and moulded chimnies and diapered brickwork mellowed by age, the building presents a beautiful picture. There is a detached gatehouse with a turret at each of the inner angles; in one of these is a staircase of solid oak blocks, leading to the upper rooms in which Prince Rupert ... slept’ H.E Forrest, The Old Houses of Wenlock (1914)