Upton Cressett Hall in the Press
Restored Upton Cressett Hall wins hidden gem award – Shropshire Star, 7 December 2011
England’s Thousand Best Houses, Simon Jenkins, Penguin, (2009)
‘The manor was held by the Cressett family from the Conquest to the 20th century. The present hall is earlier than the rest of the complex. Apart from the gatehouse, the courtyard has gone, to be replaced by a medieval garden. The gatehouse is an Elizabethan gem, with oak spiral stairs, small corner turrets and a central gable. Its upper rooms have plasterwork that include Catholic sacred hearts and other recusant symbols.
The main house is not easy to read. Its hall is 14th century with an inserted upper storey concealing its roof timbers. The 16th century added parlours and side chambers., including a newel staircase and two gigantic chimneys with twisted stacks. Tudors loved their chimneys…The rooms now contain Jacobean furniture appropriate to the house’s Royalist past.
The (dining room) fireplace is one of the largest I know, 13 ft across and more appropriate to the hall of a medieval palace. There is said to be a secret passage from the parlour to the distant chapel. Medieval numbers are still visible on the roof beams and braces of the library above the hall.’
The Country House Guide, R Fedden & J Kenworthy-Browne, J. Cape, (1979)
‘The Saxon village, high in the Shropshire hills, was appropriately named Upton. Now there remain only the manor house, once moated, and the diminutive church with its fine Norman chancel arch. John de Upton was the Norman Lord of the Manor, and in the 14th century his descendant married a Cressett. Hugh Cressett in the 15th century was Constable of Mortimer Castle and High Sheriff and Member of Parliament for Shropshire. His son Robert, a Yorkist by allegience is said to have lodged the boy King Edward V here on his last journey from Ludlow to London. The oldest parts of the house may be dated about 1380 and 1480.
The Cressetts remained Catholic and royalist. Francis Cressett was one of those who tried to rescue Charles I from Carisbroke Castle in 1648. And was his Treasurer in that last fateful year. Yet eventually they changed their loyalties and James was envoy to Hanover during the negotiations for the Hanoverian succession. The family lived at Upton until 1701 but then they built a new house Cound Hall, in this county. Upton was let and was finally sold in 1919.
Remote from public highways, the house first appears on the skyline as a solid mass with two prominent chimney stacks. Adjoining it is a Gatehouse, a substantial late Elizabethan building of diapered brick with polygonal turrets. The newel stair leads to good rooms, obviously built as additional lodgings, with plaster ceilings. The narrow gateway is aligned with the original main door of the house.
Doubtless the Manor once enclosed a courtyard, but half of it was demolished by the early 18th century and whatever remained of the old timber building was cased in brick. The lower part of the original Great Hall was once longer than it is now. Two oak piers that rise from the floor suggest that this is a rare suvival of an aisled hall, while in the room (now a library) above the arched timber roof survives in fine condition. The date for this maybe 1380 when the families of Upton and Cressett were united by marriage.
The long cross-wing, at least half of which is 15th century, undoubtedly replaced an earlier structure. Two fireplaces, one of them serving the kitchen, three brick chimneys and some windows look early Tudor. But substantial remodeling was carried out in 1580 and the panelling in the Drawing Room and the bedroom above is dated 1600. At some point the oak staircase was moved from the cross-wing to its present position. So many alterations and dates add to the fascination of this house, and it deserves a detailed and expert study.’
Other Books featuring Upton Cressett Hall
The Morville Hours
Katherine Swift, Bloomsbury (2008)
The Old Houses of Shropshire on the 19th Century: The Watercolour Albums of Frances Stackhouse Acton
Dog Rose Press (2006)
English Architecture to 1900: The Shropshire Experience
Eric Mercer, Logaston Press, (2003)
Nooks and Corners of Shropshire
K Thornhill Timmins, (1899)
Country House Treasures
Arthur Foss, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, (1980)
The Buildings of England: Shropshire
The Manor Houses of Britain
PH Ditchfield, Bracken Books (1985)
Shropshire: Its Early History and Antiquities
John Corbet Anderson (1864)
Vernacular Buildings of Shropshire
Madge Moran, Logaston Press (2003)