places to stay in ludlow
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Ludlow is a famous old coaching town. If you had visited Ludlow 200 years ago there would have been plenty of places to stay in but they would have been mainly Inns. The first place to call itself a hotel was the Angel. Mail coaches used to leave there for London and did the journey in 2 days, very quick for those days. In 1802, when Lord Nelson was given the Freedom of the Borough in a room in the Angel, he addressed cheering crowds from one of the upstairs bow windows. The window still survives to this day. During the wars with France, Napoleon’s brother, Lucien, King of Naples ate regularly at the Angel. During this time, he was staying in Dinham House as a prisoner of war. With the arrival of the car the stables were converted for parking but, because it was difficult to turn round parked cars, a revolving turntable was installed to make turning the cars round more easy. The Angel stopped being a hotel in the 1990s when the owners were declared bankrupt over unpaid council tax.
One of the other famous places to stay in Ludlow was, and still is, the Feathers Hotel once described as “perhaps as fine an example of black and white timbered building as may be found anywhere.” In 1554, The Feathers, then a house, belonged to Thomas Hakluyt, Clerk to the Council of the Marches. In 1619 it was sold to Rees Jones, one of Ludlow’s wealthiest citizens, for £225. The frontage of the Feathers you see today is the result of the work he had done to re-front and enlarge the house. The house did not become an Inn until around the 1670s and still survives as a 3 start hotel to this day and a popular, local, meeting place.
Over the last 10 years, the major growth in places to stay in and around Ludlow has centred on self catering. Our oldest self catering property, in Lower Broad Street, is Paul Pry which was, over 200 years ago, a public house. During that time, there were at least 10 pubs in Lower Broad Street, the only survivor today being the Wheatsheaf, a justly popular pub and a good, convenient place to eat and drink for our guests staying at Paul Pry.
Paul Pry was given than name in 1842 when it was owned first by William Cook, described as an inn keeper, Cook had a wife, 2 children and 2 servants, and later by Mrs Stephens. The name refers to a popular play of the day made famous by “the” comic actor of his day John Liston. The play is about a nosey man, Paul Pry, who is always portrayed holding an umbrella. He left behind the umbrella after his visits so he could listen at the doors to what was being said. If discovered he only, of course, said he was coming back for his umbrella. The play was an incredible success and during the 1840s – 1860s you could buy Paul Pry Staffordshire figures, hankies, butter pats and even a Paul Pry game. Before being called Paul Pry, it was known as the Nag’s Head, a name going back to the 1790s when there was stabling for horses. In 1667, Robert Smith, labourer, lived there with his wife. In 1553 it belonged to William Foxe who was probably the richest man in Ludlow then. In 1482 the property was part of St. John’s Hospital which had occupied the lower part of the street since about 1270. This varied history of the property can be seen in the interior of Paul Pry with its remains of the timber framed house and medieval stone wall.