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HER Number (PRN):01513
Name:Charlton Hall
Type of Record:Monument
Protected Status:Conservation Area: Shrewsbury

Monument Type(s):


Charlton Hall was one of several high-status buildings in the southern central part of town that were more like large rural manor houses than town houses. Both Charlton Hall, and its neighbour, Vaughan's Mansion, PRN 10576, had substantial stone walls forming private enclosures around the residential buildings.

Parish:Shrewsbury, Shrewsbury and Atcham, Shropshire
Map Sheet:SJ41SE
Grid Reference:SJ 4901 1244

Related records

60339Related to: Masonry remains, Swan Hill, Shrewsbury (Find Spot)

Associated Finds: None recorded

Associated Events

  • ESA2055 - 1960 field observation by the Ordnance Survey
  • ESA3821 - 1990 Evaluation of 17 Market Street, Shrewsbury by BUFAU
  • ESA4894 - 2000 WB at 17 Market Street, Shrewsbury by Nigel Baker


History: License to crenellate granted in 1325. Described in 1470 as one great hall called Charlton Hall, one great chamber annexed to the Hall, and one great garden enclosed on either side with stone walls. In 1892 excavations for a Police Station found large blocks of red sandstone, possibly from the hall. Location: almost the whole area bounded by Cross Hill, St John's Hill, Swan Hill and Market St <1a>
Sandstone walling at SJ4902 1245 and SJ4900 1242 may be part of an early dwelling. OS FI 1960 <1>

Date of the license to crenellate given as 1308 by Owen. The most considerable remnant is a lofty building of red stone extending in length 100ft and in breadth 31ft. Blocked gothic arches. At right angles to this fragment are the ruins of a large building which was doubtless the hall. On each side is a doorway with a pointed arch which made the through passage between the screen and the buttery hatch, the gothic door of which still remains at the bottom of the hall. <4>

Drawings dated May 23rd, 1821 The remains of Charlton Hall looking North and Entrance to Charlton Hall <7>

The material relating to Charlton Hall was summarised in the report of the 1990 evaluation of the redevelopment site at 17 Market St. Charlton Hall is cited as one of several high-status buildings in the southern central part of town that were more like large rural manor houses than town houses. Both Charlton Hall, and its neighbour, Vaughan's Mansion, PRN 10576, had substantial stone walls forming private enclosures around the residential buildings <8>

Documentary evidence: Three published documents seem to be fundamental to the history of the site.
The first is a licence to crenellate granted to John de Charlton in 1325 [<2><9>] (not 1308 as Owen says).
The second is a deed of 1445, quoted by Owen (1808) [<4>] by which Henry Grey, knight, son of Joan de Charlton, granted to Thomas Bromley, merchant, 'one messuage or dwelling house called Chorlton Hall, with the buildings, and nine tenements, two cellars, with a garden, and all other lands belonging to the said messuage…..between a certain street called Scheplache and a parcel of waste ground called behind the walls on the one part, and in breadth between the land of William Mytton Esq., and the land of John Grace, mercer [<4>].
The third document is a deed of 1470 (49 Henry VI) when the site was described as 'One great hall called Chorltons Hall, one great stone chamber annexed to the hall, one large cellar under the said hall, and one great garden enclosed on either side with stone walls…'.
After 1600 the site became the property of the Waring family [<4>].
Physical description. In 1808 Owen described the site thus: The boundary walls, he said, enclosed the whole of the street block. The house, he thought, was planned around 'one if not two quadrangles, which may still be traced'. The most considerable remnant was a ' lofty building of red stone' measuring 100ft by 31ft. The side next the street (=Shoplatch) had been modernised and rendered; the other ' exhibits the original walls of red stone, with some gothic arches blocked up, and various marks of high antiquity'; this, said Owen, was probably the great chamber. At right angles to this building were the ruins of another large building 'doubtless the hall' with pointed-arched doorways defining the cross-passage. The modernised building was then in use as a theatre (see below); from the flattened arches, Owen judged this to be 15th-century [<4>].
The site was analysed by J T Smith [<2>] in some detail, from the written description, and from drawings made by John Buckler in the early 19th century [<7>]. Smith's opinion was that the recorded remains represented a ground floor hall of possible mid-13th-century date, with a later chamber block at right angles to it, possibly early 14th-century. The later building seems to have been parallel to and possibly actually on the Shoplatch frontage: Smith says that two parallel stone walls survive of the chamber block undercroft, one 'lies beneath the pavement of Shoplatch'; he doesn't say where the other is/was (is this a reference to the standing rear wall of the old theatre building?). The ground floor hall lay parallel with Market Street but set some way back from it. The low end of each building was at their junction, somewhere in the north corner of the street block [<2>]. In 1892 excavations for the Borough Police Offices on Swan Hill (Scotland Yard) encountered 'very solid and thick masonry of red sandstone' [<1a>] which Smith suggests may have been part of the enclosure walls rather than one of the main buildings.
Later development/archaeology. The hall was, according to Parkes, demolished in 1823 [<10>]. Smith [<2>] quotes references to the effect that the chamber block was ruinous and dangerous in June 1821 and was demolished c.1833; according to Forrest [<11>], the chamber block had been converted to use as a theatre in 1765 (presumably when it was ' modernised'). The location of the medieval buildings and the crenellated perimeter wall cannot be established at present with any accuracy, the demolitions having taken place prior to detailed mapping of the town. The relationship of the medieval site to the substantial terraces within the street block, accommodating the rise in ground up from Shoplatch towards Swan Hill, is also totally unclear. <12>

No trace of the remains of Charlton Hall or its enclosing compound were observed and no finds predating the 13th-14th centuries were found during the watching brief carried out on the site in 2000.<13>

Madge Moran, citing Smith [<2>], classifies the later, early 14th century wing to the original ground floor hall at Charlton Hall as a First-Floor Hall House. Reproductions of 4 early C19 views. She notes that Buckler' drawing (reproduced) shows that a jettied C16 range was added to the medieval remains. This appears to have been of transitional type, with S-braces and a high second storey.<14>

An architectural fragment, recovered during demolition in 1958 at Shrewsbury Typewriter Company (PRN 62630) possibly derives from Charlton Hall. <15>

Included in gazetteer of castles in Shropshire [presumably as its license to crenellate would presumably classify it as a fortified manor house]. <16>


[00]SSA20722 - Card index: Shropshire County Council SMR. Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards. SMR record cards. SMR Card for PRN SA 01513.
[01b]SSA31554 - Site visit report: Ordnance Survey Field Investigator. Various. NRHE: Ordnance Survey Field Investigators Comments. F1 JR 13-OCT-60.
[01a]SSA4134 - Monograph: Forrest H E. 1911. Old Houses of Shrewsbury. p35-36.
[01]SSA5689 - Card index: Ordnance Survey. 1960. Ordnance Survey Record Card SJ41SE108. Ordnance Survey record cards. SJ41SE108.
[02]SSA4160 - Manuscript: Smith J T. 1953. Shrewsbury: Topography and Domestic Architecture to the Middle of the 17th Century. pp.160-166, pls. 35-37.
[03]SSA937 - Volume: Anon. 1880. Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society. Transactions Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 1, Vol III (=Vol 3). p372.
[04]SSA5372 - Monograph: Owen H. 1808. Some Account of the Ancient and Present State of Shrewsbury. p480-484.
[05]SSA5619 - Monograph: Blakeway J B. 1905. Topographical History of Shrewsbury. p34.
[06]SSA1219 - Monograph: Phillips T. 1779. History and Antiquities of Shrewsbury. p145.
[07]SSA5688 - Drawing: Buckler J. 1821. Drawings.
[08]SSA5687 - Excavation report: Baker Nigel J et 2 al. 1990. 17 Market Street, Shrewsbury - An Archaeological Evaluation. BUFAU Rep. 0108. p2-4.
[09]SSA10519 - Monograph: Cromarty D. 1991. Everyday Life in Medieval Shrewsbury. p21-23.
[10]SSA10562 - Drawing: Parkes D. 1800/ 1830. Drawings of Remains of Antiquities in Shrewsbury.
[11]SSA10649 - Article in serial: Forrest H E. 1912-Feb-23. The Old Theatre, Shrewsbury. Caradoc News Cuttings. Vol 9. p79 (or p54?).
[12]SSA20432 - HER comment: Baker Nigel J. UAD Analysis.
[13]SSA20905 - Watching brief report: Baker Nigel J. 2000. An archaeological watching brief at 17 Market Street, Shrewsbury.
[14]SSA22146 - Monograph: Moran Madge. 2003. Vernacular Buildings of Shropshire. Table 2, pp 3, 217, 251.
[15]SSA26784 - HER comment: Carey Giles. 2014 onwards. Comments by Giles Carey, HER compiler in HER database. 05/02/2015.
Date Last Edited:Mar 8 2022 2:48PM