The Drapers' Hall
10 St. Mary's Place,
Charity No's: 213372 233903
The Shrewsbury Drapers Company was founded as a Guild by Royal Charter in 1462. There are 80 elected Freemen of the Guild who are trustees for three charities which manage and support almshouses in Shrewsbury. The Drapers Hall, was built in 1576, and is now in the custody of a fourth charity, (Shrewsbury Drapers` Hall Preservation Trust) which leases it for use as a boutique hotel and restaurant. The Guild retains rights to hold meetings and feasts, and keep its historic furniture in the Hall. The Freemen are much involved in charitable work, including the almshouses and running an annual textile competition each Autumn. The other three Registered Charities are Shrewsbury Drapers Company General Charities (no. 213372) and Hospital of St Giles (no. 233903) and Holy Cross (no.1132671).
Shrewsbury is a very special place and is proud of its surviving guild and Guild Hall.
The Shrewsbury Drapers`Company is the only surviving ancient town guild in England using an original Hall built for the Company in the sixteenth century. (1)
The Hall was rebuilt in 1576, and today it is used by the Company for business meetings, celebrations and feasts. Some of furniture in the Hall was made for the Company in the seventeenth century.
Today the Hall is open to the public as a popular bar, restaurant and boutique hotel.
Adjacent to the Hall is St Mary`s Church, which has been used by the Shrewsbury Drapers` Company since its formation.
The Old Market Hall in the Square was built and opened in 1596 for the Shrewsbury Drapers`to conduct their business on the first floor.
Many of the great timber framed buildings in Shrewsbury were built by wealthy Drapers` in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Some are open to visitors including Rowley's Mansion; which houses the Visitor Information Centre: Vaughan's Mansion; incorporated into the site of the new Shrewsbury Museum; Millingtons Hospital; Owen's Mansion; Bennet's Hall; Prowde's Mansion and Ireland's Mansion. are retail outlets and there are many other that can be visited by arrangement including Bowdlers` House and Perches` Mansion.
Since 1444 the Company has an unbroken link with the people of Shrewsbury by providing them with affordable housing.
Almshouses were built originally in front of St Mary`s Church in 1444 by a draper Diggory Watur. These were replaced in the 1820s (across St Mary`s Street) and then subsequently rebuilt in 1964, in Longden Coleham.
The Company has taken over responsibility of almshouses near St Giles Church and more recently the almshouses of The Abbey Church of The Holy Cross. These were transferred to The Shrewsbury Drapers Company in 2010. We propose building additional affordable housing on the site.
(1) The Fellmongers` in Frankwell was built around the same time as Drapers`Hall but was built for processing fleeces and was used until 1971, by Messrs T Birch Ltd of Birmingham, Fellmongers` and Wool Merchants. Various part of the building have been used previously for the various processes in the wool trade and only relatively recently became associated as a place used by Fellmongers` (Nigel Baker, Shrewsbury; An archaeological assessment of an English border town, Oxbow Books, 2010
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