Bromfield Priory Gatehouse

Near Ludlow, Shropshire

Overview

This medieval timber-framed gatehouse was enlarged with an upper storey after the Dissolution to create a room which has served as both manorial court and village school. It is now a large open plan space where life is lived beneath the splendid timber roof trusses.

  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • ShowerShower

Beds 2 Twin 1 Double

Sleeps
6
4 nights from
£424 equivalent to £17.67 per person, per night

Highlights of Shropshire

The upper floor of Bromfield Priory Gatehouse only partially prepares you for a visit to nearby Ludlow, where timber-framed houses stand huddled along the narrow streets. This is a place where the high points of most Landmark holidays collide; good food, walking and an interesting and inspiring space in which to enjoy the company of your family or friends. Bromfield itself is an estate village deep within the south Shropshire countryside.

Multiple purposes before life as a Landmark

The Benedictine monks of Bromfield Priory added a new stone gatehouse to their precinct before 1400. After the Dissolution a timber-framed upper storey was added to this. The room over the arch was used for the manorial court, and later, from 1836 until 1895, for the village school. A teacher’s cottage was added at one end and the Gatehouse was largely done up in a Picturesque manner. Afterwards it became, for many years, the parish reading and recreation room, complete with billiard table, and came in useful for meetings of various sorts, from the youth club to the teaching of first aid. At one end, a chimney piece and large cupboards have been put together from an odd assortment of Jacobean carving.

 

Floor Plan

‘A week which seemed to last for aeons, full of castles, treasures, and untouched countryside.’

‘The surrounding countryside is full of magic and mystery.’

From the logbook

Map & local info

Bromfield Priory Gatehouse opens on to a grassy churchyard. A few miles away is the historic town of Ludlow, described by John Betjeman as 'the loveliest town in England' and now renowned for its culinary establishments as well as its timber-framed buildings.

Ludlow is a delightful Medieval town with plenty to see throughout the year. Look out for markets, children's events and the annual Food and Drink Festival. Ludlow Castle stands at the heart of this bustling town. 

Ludlow Museum, found in the centre of the town, is well worth exploring. Slightly further afield is the spectacular 17th-century Croft Castle (14 miles). You can gain free entry to both of these places with a National Art Pass, which enables its members to enjoy free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic houses throughout the UK as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions.

The pass is presented by one of Landmark's partners, the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art, which has been supporting museums and galleries for over 110 years by helping them to buy and display great works of art for everyone to enjoy. Income raised through the National Art Pass goes straight back into their charitable programme. Find more about it at artfund.org/national-art-pass.

The Clee Hills are a designated area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and a great place for walking. Cardingmill Valley is a great base from which to explore this area, with a tea shop, access to walking and cycling routes and a stream to play in. 

 For more information and ideas of things to do during your stay at Bromfield Priory Gatehouse, take a look at our Pinterest Map.

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.

Bromfield Priory Gatehouse
Near Ludlow, Shropshire
Clear directions

‘A week which seemed to last for aeons, full of castles, treasures, and untouched countryside.’

‘The surrounding countryside is full of magic and mystery.’

From the logbook

FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    No.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Directly from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Ludlow – 4.5 miles
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    Yes there are two car parking spaces adjacent to the property.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

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

    Logs 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 has a free-standing shower and the other has a bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The stairs are steep and relatively narrow.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is an enclosed garden.

    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 lavatory 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 lavatory rolls and a bar of soap, per basin but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

Three main periods of development

The history of Bromfield Priory Gatehouse falls into three main periods. The first of these is medieval and to it belongs most of the lower, stone, part of the building; the arch itself and the sides of the gate passage, and the walls to the left (or north) of it. The walls south of the gate arch are later, but may contain medieval masonry - narrow windows, or loops, in the gate passage show that there were originally rooms both sides of it.

This first gatehouse, possibly of just one storey, guarded the entrance to a small Benedictine priory beside the church of St Mary. There had been a religious community at Bromfield since before the Norman Conquest, which in 1155 became a priory subject to St Peter's Abbey in Gloucester. The Gatehouse was not built for another two centuries after that, however, the design of the arch and the loops in the gate passage can be dated roughly to the mid-14th century. It probably replaced an earlier gatehouse. On either side of it there would have been a stone wall or a timber stockade. With this, and with the two rivers (the Onny and the Teme) which join east of the church, forming a narrow promontory between them, the priory site was a very secure one.

Bromfield Priory was dissolved in 1538. Its buildings were acquired by Charles Foxe who turned them into a house for himself. The Gatehouse continued to preside over its entrance, and before 1600 it was enlarged by the addition of a timber-framed upper storey. This formed a single large room, the present living room, which was probably reached by an outside stair on the north-east corner. The Gatehouse was smaller then than it is now, consisting of just the northern two thirds. 18th-century views also show it to have had two windows on the west side, a roof of slightly flatter pitch and no chimney.

One reason for enlarging the Gatehouse was undoubtedly to impress. A fashion for building ornamental gatehouses began in the early Tudor period, and was still going strong among the country gentlemen of Shropshire and neighbouring counties until well after 1600. There was obviously also an advantage in having the entrance to your house watched over, even in relatively peaceful days - while a good strong pair of doors could be closed in times of unrest.

At the same time, no one put up a large room intending to leave it empty. The upper room at Bromfield is thought to have served as a courtroom, where the manorial court was held and local disputes settled. Records of the manorial court in Bromfield continue until 1770. If it was indeed held in the Gatehouse, its ending would explain why the building was abandoned after that, being shown in a state of picturesque decay by watercolourist of the 1790s.

Then, in 1836, as part of a general round of improvement in the village, the Gatehouse was restored and enlarged again, this time to serve as the village school and teacher's cottage. The courtroom became the main schoolroom, reached by a stair at the north end: the low rooms there were tall enough for children's cloakrooms. At the south end, a three storey addition was made, with a classroom on the top floor, and rooms for a teacher below. The oriel window on the west front, the chimney, and the decorative finials on the gables were all added at this time, as were the chimneypiece and cupboards inside, made up from an assortment of Jacobean and later carving.

In 1895 the school moved to a new building. The south end became an estate cottage, and the main room became a parish reading and recreation room. Although still used occasionally in the 1970s, the Gatehouse was really by then in search of a new use once again. A solution was found when in 1990, the Gatehouse was leased by the Plymouth estate to the Landmark Trust, as a charity which specialises in the repair of historic buildings. 

To read more about the history of Bromfield Priory Gatehouse please click here.

Restoration

Repairs needed to the Elizabethan timber frame

While some repairs had been carried out in the 1970s by the Plymouth estate, more work was needed, particularly on the Elizabethan timber frame, some parts of which were badly decayed. The roof also needed attention. This meant stripping off the tiles to repair the structure beneath, before relaying the tiles. To repair the framing of the walls, the brick panels between the timbers had all to be taken out. New oak was then pieced in, preserving as much of the old wood as possible.

We could then have replaced the bricks with lath and plaster, which is what was there originally, but there were several arguments against this, both practical and historical. Not only does brick mean a warmer building, but the Gatehouse today owes its character as much to the 19th-century restoration as to its Elizabethan builder. There seemed little point in winding the clock back to a past which no longer exists.

Inside the gatehouse, some minor alterations were needed to make the building work more easily in its new use. The main room would become the main living room, with bedrooms and bathrooms in the cottage at the south end. However, when the school closed in 1895, the door between the main room and the cottage was blocked up. This was now reopened. At the same time, it was decided that the low rooms at the north end should be left as they were, and would not form part of the accommodation. To make space for a kitchen at the north end of the main room, it was decided to floor over the stair at this end, leaving just a trapdoor in case access was ever needed.

After being redecorated inside, and limewashed outside in the traditional way, the Gatehouse was ready for furnishing in March 1993. The work had been supervised by the Shrewsbury architects, Arrol and Snell, and carried out by builders from Herefordshire, L.J. Preece and Son. English Heritage gave a grant for the repairs. While these were in progress, the opportunity was taken to learn a little more about the building. Richard Morriss of the Hereford Archaeology Unit did a brief survey of the building which confirmed the theory that the timber frame of the upper room is 16th century in date. It also revealed that the design of its roof trusses is highly unusual - no others like it have been seen in the area. So there is still more to learn in the future.

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.