Haunted History page 5

Boscobel House,

Shropshire / Staffordshire.


Boscobel House was built around 1632, when landowner John Gifford of White Ladies Priory converted a timber framed farmhouse into a hunting lodge, Boscobel House became one of the most evocative sites in the English historical imagination. It was at this property that Charles II famously hid in a tree to escape discovery by Parliamentary soldiers after the the Battle of Worcester. Gifford called the new hunting lodge Boscobel House which is believed to come from the Italian phrase " bosco bella " meaning " in the midst of fair woods ". In 1632, Boscobel House was surrounded by dense woodlands. The Gifford family were Catholics and, at that time, the Catholic religion was viewed with great suspicion. The house itself seved as a secret place for the shelter of Catholic priests with numerous priest holes and hiding places dotted around the premises. This secret purpose of the house was to play a key part in the history of the country. Near the end of the English Civil War, after the battle of Worcester, Charles II fled for his life, seeking refuge at Boscobel House. He hid in a nearby oak tree from where he could see the patrols searching for him. The tree famously became known as The Royal Oak.


Above : Part of the formal gardens. Left: Just one of many priest holes at Boscobel House.