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 guild in Shrewsbury and as a town is unique in having a surviving guild with an original hall. (1)
The Drapers Hall, rebuilt in 1576 on the site of an earlier hall, is used by the Company for business meetings, celebrations and feasts using much of the 17c furniture built in the Hall for the Company.
Today the Hall is also a popular bar, restaurant boutique hotel. Visitors are able to have full use of many of the original features of the building and some of the original furniture.
In St Mary`s Church, the Leybourne Chapel has been used by the 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 Drapers in 15c and 16c and are open and available to visit. These buildings include Rowley's Mansion; which houses the Visitor Information Centre. Vaughan's Mansion; incorporated into the site of the proposed Shrewsbury Museum. Millingtons Hospital, Owen's Mansion, Bennet's Hall, Prowde's Mansion and Ireland's Mansion are all retail outlets and there are many other that can be visited by arrangement including Bowdler's House and Perche's Mansion.
Since 1444 the Company has an unbroken link with the people of Shrewsbury by providing them with affordable housing.
Almshouses were built 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 rebuilt in 1964 in Longden Coleham where they house 16 residents.
The Company has recently 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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