I didn’t expect to be hunting mice in Stafford’s Ancient High House, but spent the afternoon doing just that. As a half-term diversion mice were hidden in holes around the famous old house and we had the job of finding them.
I’ve lived in Staffordshire for many years, but like many perhaps take the Ancient High House for granted. It’s a wonderful timber building made from oaks cut down in nearby Doxey Wood in 1593. The house was built for a rich merchant and his family and must have been very impressive in the last years of the 16th century.
Even today the house is a striking sight in Stafford. There are many floors and rooms to explore. There is wallpaper from the 1700s (a wallpaper room), the Stuart bedroom where Charles I stayed en route to Shrewsbury after raising the Royal Standard in Nottingham.
There is an exhibitions room, a grocery store (the High House was a grocer’s in late Victorian times) and a military museum in the attic.
The huge stone fireplaces are wonderful and it’s a fascinating thought to touch those ancient oak beams and imagine who ate and slept and was born under them. There are many great stories associated with the old house.
My favourite concerns the dashing Prince Rupert who led the assault on Parliamentary forces at Lichfield Cathedral (some 16 miles away). Prince Rupert slept in the High House and apparently indulged in some target practice with his cavalry pistol shooting at the weathervane on St Mary’s church.
You can read more about the Ancient High House here.
Incidentally we found all the mice…