The Shropshire manor that Hitler wanted to live in
Oct 11 2010 By Annie Roberts
If history had taken a different turn then Hitler may well have been living in Apley Hall, a glorious historic hall in the heart of the Shropshire countryside.
The Führer is thought to have set his heart on making the hall his home once the intended invasion of Britain was complete.
Clearly the war time leader had a taste for style.
The Grade II* listed house, built with Grinshill stone in a Gothic style, is a breathtaking country home that has been lovingly restored.
Its current owner is the latest in a long line of individuals who have cherished the property which stands near the village of Norton, seven miles from Bridgnorth and Telford.
“It is truly an amazing place – this is a home for people who want to make a statement,” said the owner.
Just four years ago the ‘wow’ factor was a little harder to imagine. The hall, which is the principal house on the privately – owned Apley Estate, was in need of refurbishment.
The house, commissioned by Thomas Whitmore in 1811, was designed to emulate a romantic castle completed overlooking the River Severn. Hitler may well have yearned to stay in the property, but others from royalty to the author PG Wodehouse were able to get their foot over the threshold.
The hall is even thought to have been the inspiration for Wodehouse’s novel Blanding Castle, with the writer’s descriptions reflecting what is on show at Apley.
The hall is now an impressive blend of stately accommodation and contemporary facilities.
The owner said: “I feel very strongly that the grandeur of the reception rooms should suit the setting so the furniture and wallpaper and chandeliers reflect this. It is important to work with what you have and I think there is a grandeur about these rooms.”
It is easy to get a sense of grandeur. The state rooms have soaring fan vaulted ceilings enhanced by ornate plaster, cornices, panelling and deep casement windows which frame the stunning parkland views.
The monumental staircase spans three storeys and is lit by the decorative cupula.
The house of arches and decorative details has six bedrooms, four with en suite bath or shower rooms and like the billiard room each makes the most of the glorious views.
The current owner has added modern touches like a cinema room and gym and made good use of the original servant quarters. This includes at the top of the back staircase, lit by another cupula, a bedroom with kitchenette and shower room.
The owner said: “The hall is an ideal home for a family and we converted a lot of the space that was no longer required and brought them to life while retaining the state rooms.”
While the interior is breathtaking the landscaped gardens have their own story to tell.
Historic records were researched by the current owner working with landscaped gardeners to ensure the gardens reflected their historic heritage.
“It was important to get it right and we didn’t want a football pitch but a formal garden – something that looked the part and made the most of the views,” he explained.
The parkland is listed which gives its protection from development and ensures that the hall’s owners can retain the views for generations.
“The hall was built in a location that ensured that as far as the eye can see there is no other building in sight. It was typical for the time and is what people imagine when they think of the English countryside.”
Apley Hall deserves this protection – a property that has never quite achieved national attention but has been quietly appreciated by those in the know.
Hitler may never have achieved his dream but, said the owner: “I feel very proud to have had the privilege of living in the hall and having the chance for it to be part of my life. You cannot take it with you and it is now someone else’s chance to enjoy the home.”
Guide price: £1.75 million.
Viewing through Savills Telford. Telephone: 01952 239500.