Shelwick Court

Near Hereford, Herefordshire

Overview

The stone front of this sturdy farmhouse conceals the grandeur inside, including a medieval great chamber on the first floor. There is a six-bay open roof of massive timbers; big enough to hold everyone for both living and dining.

 

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • ShowerShower
  • Waitrose DeliveryWaitrose Delivery

Beds 2 Single, 1 Twin, 2 Double

Sleeps
8
4 nights from
£492 equivalent to £15.38 per person, per night

A medieval great chamber, hidden within later alterations

The impressive first floor chamber has plenty of space for sitting and dining with friends and family. Spacious bedrooms are downstairs on the ground floor. For many years Shelwick Court had been falling down about the ears of an old farmer. It lies on the edge of a hamlet near Hereford, beside the long filled-in Gloucester & Hereford canal – made redundant, as so often, by the (still-active) railway and road built next to it. Although it has a respectable stone front of about 1700, which with some difficulty we restrained from falling outwards, and a staircase of the same date, this alone would not have justified our intervention. But concealed within the house on the first floor, and indeed made almost invisible by later alterations, lies a medieval great chamber.

Curiously relocated from elsewhere

This impressive room has a six-bay open roof of massive timbers, cusped and chamfered in the Herefordshire manner. What is more surprising still, this roof of about 1400 and the timber framing which holds it up has clearly been moved here from somewhere else. It looks important enough to have been a hall, but there is no trace of smoke-blackening, and it must have formed, it seems, the solar cross-wing to a really grand hall, perhaps on a nearby site. Whatever its origins, it is a rare interior, which has, very strongly, a life of its own.

Who lived in this hall house? We cannot say for certain. The manor of Shelwick belonged from the time of the Domesday survey to the Bishops of Hereford. There is no evidence that they had a manor house here, but perhaps there was a house for their steward, which would probably have been where the manorial courts were held, so the name Shelwick Court could have significance. Alternatively, the bishop may have granted the manor to someone else, who then built a house for themselves - though again there is no evidence for this. Either way, what survives is a pleasure to share, even for a short time.

‘We have spent a lot of time lying on the sofas, gazing up at the roof.’

‘What a lovely space and what a pleasure to have so much of it.’

From the logbook

Floor Plan

Map & local info

Shelwick Court lies near the historic cathedral city of Hereford, a lively place with lots of restaurants, cafes and shops. Visit its museums, including the Cider Museum and the fascinating Old House.

Take a walk around Hereford itself and the surrounding area to discover many more places of interest.

Explore Longtown and Goodrich Castles and wander around the beautiful Weir, Brobury and Kentchurch Court Gardens, all about a half hour drive away from Hereford.

For more information on things to do during your stay at Shelwick Court, please see our Pinterest page. 

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages. 

Shelwick Court
Near Hereford, Herefordshire
Clear directions
FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Via a short driveway from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Hereford – 1.5 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    There are five / six parking spaces adjacent to the property.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There are electric night storage heaters and a solid fuel stove.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Fuel may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc.
    There is also an electric cooker and a dishwasher.



  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There are two bathrooms, one with a bath and the other with a free-standing shower unit.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The internal stairs are not particularly difficult.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is a garden (not enclosed). Please note the unfenced pond.
  • Is there higher than expected background noise?

    Yes the property is near to a railway line.

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact webmaster@landmarktrust.org.uk.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there toilet rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

On the brink of collapse

In 1981 Shelwick Court was in a ruinous condition, on the brink of total collapse. For many years its elderly owner, Mr John Orgee, had lived in a caravan beside it, the house having been declared unfit to live in. After his death in 1977, his heirs thought there was no alternative to demolition.

When the County Conservation Officer visited Shelwick Court, to see whether the building held any architectural interest apart from its charming stone front of about 1680 he found that on the east wall, plaster had fallen off to reveal timber framing of an early type with ornamental braces. Venturing inside the eastern bedrooms, he found all the signs to indicate a medieval roof above - moulded posts and the foot of an arched brace. A dangerous scramble in the attic confirmed that there was indeed a medieval roof, a very fine one of about 1400.

The Conservation Officer spot listed the building and then approached the Landmark Trust, as a charity which rescues small and endangered historic buildings and gives them a new life by letting them for holidays. Landmark agreed to take the house on, a sale was agreed with the owner and completed in 1981.

The History of Shelwick Court

While the restoration was in progress, some very interesting discoveries were made about this building. First of all, only the eastern part is medieval. This range, which runs from north to south, did not contain a great hall, as was first supposed, but always had two storeys, with a great chamber on the first floor and other rooms below. This it seems was the cross-wing of a larger house and lay at the western end of a vanished great hall. The other side of the quatrefoil panels which you can now see in the great chamber would have appeared inside this hall.

Who lived in this hall house? Unfortunately, we cannot say for certain. The manor of Shelwick belonged from the time of the Domesday survey to the Bishops of Hereford. There is no evidence that they had a manor house for their own use here, but there may have been a house for their steward. While you would not expect this to have been large or grand, it would probably have been where the manorial courts were held. The name Shelwick Court could therefore have some significance. Alternatively, the bishop may have granted the manor to someone else, who then built a house for themselves - though again there is no evidence for this.

The most curious thing is that the whole wing has been taken down and rebuilt. We cannot say if it has always stood on its present site, or if it has been moved from somewhere else. This rebuilding seems to have happened about 1680, when a new first floor, attic and central chimney were inserted. Box-framed wings were added on the west side at the same time using much old timber. These formed a double gable (one of which no longer stands) making the house into a square block with a staircase in the middle of the north side. This new house was given a regular south front in stone with cross-mullion windows and a central door around the same time.

Shelwick Court was by this time the house of a prosperous farmer which it continued to be until it entered its slow decline in the post-war years, a decline which nearly ended in disaster. Its fortunes are now happily reversed, and its rare interior can be enjoyed by a succession of different visitors through the Landmark Trust.

Restoration

Returning the building to a sound structural condition

The restoration was carried out 1982-4 under the supervision of the architect John Schofield, of the Bristol firm Architecton. The builders were Beavan and Hodges of Hereford. There were two main aims behind Landmark's restoration of Shelwick Court. The first, and most urgent, was to return the building to a sound structural condition.

The second was to reveal the fine medieval chamber inside, but to maintain its disguise on the outside by preserving the additions made to it in about 1680. This meant removing an attic floor and the upper section of a chimney, and renewing a missing truss at the south end as a gable, breaking intriguingly through the front slope of the roof.

As the ground floor had always been divided the lower stage of the chimney could be kept, with its fireplace on one side and ovens on the other. It also supports a ring-beam of reinforced concrete which the engineers advised forming around the front half of the building. This anchors steel ties running through the wall to plates on the outside, holding the two skins of stone together. The original design of the south front was restored at the same time by removing a porch and some brick buttresses.

Repair of the medieval wing was more complicated, the idea being to keep new timber to a minimum. Only where an element was visually or structurally essential was it renewed - where a section of collar-beam had been cut away for the chimney, for example, or where part of the northern tie beam had rotted. In two cases where joints had failed, steel plates were inserted to hold the truss, rather than go in for wholesale renewal. In this way just about everything visible is medieval workmanship.

In the wall frames, some panels of both original and 17th century wattle and daub survived. These were kept if possible, and new wattle and daub was formed around them. The traditional method of mixing the daub was used, complete with cow dung. Inside, the panels were finished with a coat of lime-hair plaster, leaving the timber frame exposed. Outside, however, tradition was departed from. For reasons both of strength and economy the walls were clad in weather-boarding. This is usually found on barns in Herefordshire, but is occasionally seen on houses, and there was in fact some already at Shelwick Court.

The great chamber did not originally have a fireplace, but it was felt that one would be desirable now, so a new chimney was built against its western wall. The oak floorboards are also new. Surviving 17th century mullion and transom windows were retained at either end.

In the rooms below, medieval framing has been exposed. Fragments of a medieval window were uncovered in the wall between the bedroom and the entrance hall. In the south room a beam with painted decoration was discovered, apparently dating from the late 1500s. The beam itself was in poor condition so the painted surface was cut off and applied to a new composite beam which supports the new ceiling. The decoration itself was cleaned and consolidated. New windows were fitted in the north room, and new softwood floors in both.

Round the staircase and south-west wing the walls were repaired on the same principles as the east wing, and then the weather-boarding carried on round. Two 17th-century windows survived intact on the staircase, the small top one still with its original glass and lead. The stair itself was repaired with new oak and its 19th-century balusters were replaced with more simple ones.

Inside this part of the building, while the rooms all have new partitions, traditional materials were used - lime-hair plaster and limewash on the walls; salvaged stone flags or quarry tiles on the floors. Throughout the house as many old doors as possible were reused. The glass for the new windows comes from 19th century greenhouses. The roof above is covered in salvaged clay plain tiles. In this way, a harmony between new and old is achieved.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.