Once there was a tree that saved the life of a king. Located just inside the town of Shropshire, Boscobel House was originally built as a farmhouse during the mid 16th century, and was later converted into a hunting house by John Giffard in 1632. The Giffard family was devoutly Catholic at a time when the religion was widely facing persecution across Britain, and stories tell that Boscobel was used as a hideout for Catholic priests and families.
THE ROYAL OAK
After the execution of his father King Charles I in 1649, his eldest son Charles II fought to regain control of the throne. Charles II’s forces were gradually worn out, and after his final battle in the Civil War at Worcester in 1651, the young prince was forced to flee. His attempts to cross the River Severn into Wales were hindered by Cromwell’s patrols searching for him. He was brought to Boscobel by Charles Giffard, still a devout Catholic and the now owner of the house, where the future king sought refuge. Soon after, Cromwell’s forces traced him to the house and began searching, while Charles II was forced to hide in a nearby oak tree in order to avoid detection.
The Royal Oak stands in a field to the south-east of the actual house, although there is debate as to whether it is the actual tree that hid Charles II from the Parliamentary soldiers during their search for him, or whether the tree is only a descendant of the original.
A FARMING SHOWHOUSE
Today, the house itself is used as a museum of sorts for the equipment used for farming during the Victorian period. It also showcases the old dairy and the process of making butter and cheese as well as the tools used, and the 16th century barn houses Victorian-era machinery used in its farmyard. Today, the house is managed by the English Heritage group, and often holds picnics in its gardens.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Old Youth Hostel, Regeley Road, Wandon, Rugeley
Staffordshire, England, WS15 1QW
+44 (0)1889 582 166
- Address: Offoxey Rd (just off), Brewood, Bishop's Wood, Shropshire, England, UK – ST19 9AR
- GPS: 52.671725,-2.241691667
- Phone: 0044 (0)1902 850 244
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: ST19 9AR
- Entrance Fees: Yes
- Disabled Access: No wheelchair access to house and exhibition.
- Visibility from Road: Good (From a distance)
- Image Credits: Header Image: Paul Vincent