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24 September 2014
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Moseley Old Hall
Moseley Old Hall

See Charles' hiding place

Not Camilla’s Charles, but King Charles II. He was on the run in 1651 and hid in the priest hole still there today in Moseley Old Hall on the outskirts of Wolverhampton.

Moseley Old Hall, on the outskirts of Wolverhampton, was the hiding place of King Charles II, on the run from Cromwell’s army.

You can see the priest hole where the exhausted King hid from the search parties in 1651, before making his escape to Europe.

The house and gardens are beautifully restored and provide a fascinating glimpse into the life of the Cavaliers and Roundheads during the Civil War.

The house is run by the National Trust and is open from 19 March – 30 October,  6 November – 20 December.      

Charles' Black Country hideout

When you think of the Black Country you probably don’t think of days out at historic country houses and gardens. But at Fordhouses,  just outside Wolverhampton, there’s a beautiful old house with a compelling history that would make a great trip out for the family.

priest hole
Charles II hid in this priest hole

Mums, dads and grandparents can enjoy the beautiful gardens and the rooms within Moseley Old Hall, while the children can even get a bit of history homework in too.

In 1651 King Charles II was on the run after having his army wiped out in the Battle of Worcester. He was a hunted man with a price on his head, and being pursued by Cromwell’s men.

For days he hid in a tree near Boscobel, now known as the famous ‘Boscobel Oak’, then arrived at the door of the Whitgreave family home, now known as Moseley Old Hall. The owner and his priest, who lived in the house, helped the King and hid him safely in the house’s priest hole, as the Parliamentarians searched for him. 

Saved in Wolverhampton priest hole

The exhausted king was dressed in rags and wore ill fitting shoes that had torn his feet to shreds. Thomas Whitgreave and Father Huddlestone bathed his wounds and gave the homeless monarch food and shelter.

Four poster bed
Charles slept in this bed

His father, Charles I, had been executed in Whitehall in 1649 and the Monarchy abolished. His son had fled into exile in France and came back to Britain to try and reclaim his throne. It was after his devastating defeat in battle when he came across the Black Country home of the Whitgreave family.

The priest hole, and the original bed and bedroom Charles II slept in, can both be seen in this beautifully preserved house. The interior of the house has been faithfully restored to its 17th century look, with uneven wooden floors, a secret chapel and living rooms showing how the family lived in this difficult period of Catholic persecution.

His rescuer was rewarded

The priest hole is a shocking reminder of the terror people lived in a the time. It’s cleverly concealed below what would have been a closet off the bedroom – a tiny hole hidden under floorboards and with no light.

Did Charles II walk up this path?

With the help of Thomas Whitgreave and his priest, Charles II escaped the search parties in Wolverhampton and eventually reached safety in Europe. He returned to Britain over 8 years later and retook the throne. He never forgot the Black Country gentlemen who helped save his life, and rewarded them with high appointments and a rich pension.

Step back in time

The outside of the house would originally have been made of timber, but now has a charming weathered brick frontage built in 1870 as the house was in desperate need of repair.

But you can still see paintings and drawings of how the exterior of the house would have looked when the bedraggled King Charles meekly knocked on its door.   

The Knot Garden

The gardens of the house are kept with flowers and foliage true to the time, and you can enjoy the Knot Garden with its beautiful topiary box bushes, the foxgloves, poppies and sweet peas, and the herb garden and small orchard filled with 17th century variety fruit trees and old shrub roses.


Moseley Old Hall
Fordhouses, Wolverhampton, WV10 7HY
Telephone: 01902 782808

House is open - 19 March – 30 October,  6 November – 20 December              

Check the National Trust website or telephone for days and opening times

Prices:   Adult £4.80    Child: £2.40     Family: £12

last updated: 12/10/05
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i think moseley old hall is realy good for when your learning about charlesII escape, and for public.

i went there with walton and found it ever so fascinating it looked so boring from the outside

it was cool

John Ward
Going on Bank Holiday Sunday in the drizzle I thought I was mad, yet the weather did not detract from a fantastic afternoon at a house with a compelling history. It helped to bring history alive and 'feel' a period of time that I know from the written sources but not that well from the physical objects used at the time. A great day out, so much so that I am going to try and take pupils from my school.

Helen & Shaun Parker
Superb Place, wreaking of history, captures the immagination of any would-be history fanatic. Will go again.

Coleen Rosa
The Whitgreaves are my ancestors on my Mothers Mother side. The last Whitgreave was Frank Whitgreave (my great Uncle) who passed away in the 1960's. His son who was adopted was not allowed to claim the heritage because of his adoption.

i visited moseley old hall with my school st, georges primary and ive really learnt a lot! it was very interesting ecspecialy charles's hide out i would like to thank the staff for a wonderful day of education and enjoyment.i would certainly recamend any one learning about the tudors to visit moseley old hall as you will find it very educational.

I think Mosely old Hall is a great place to visit and is so interesting.Me and my friends love it! I love all of its grounds it's so beautiful!

D Wade-Smith
I am currently studying for a degree in garden history and found the garden and house fascinating, with the volunteers, staff and manager being extremely helpful and informative. a must see attraction in the area

i think mosely old hall is amazing as i went there with my school whitgreave junior school. it was a great experience and helped me at school with my work.

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