English Heritage
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Reach the parts visitors can't - volunteer at Boscobel House

Volunteers sought to help out at 17th century historical gem.

If you are interested in getting up close to the history of one of the region’s  greatest historical gems, why not volunteer at Boscobel House?

The timber-framed house in Shropshire, close to the border of Staffordshire is fully restored and furnished with panelled rooms and secret hiding places. The house played a key role in the county’s history when Charles II hid in a nearby oak tree and then a priest hole in the house’s attic to avoid capture by Cromwell, after he was defeated at the Battle of Worcester. The tree famously became known as 'The Royal Oak'.

Rife with stories and legends stretching back nearly 400 years, Boscobel House is in need of volunteers to help with two key roles: conservation cleaning and room stewarding.

Training will be given in both roles: how to carry out specialised conservation cleaning of historical artefacts, books, furniture and tapestries as well as how to act as a room steward. Stewards will be trained to give visitors a brief history of the house and, where appropriate, engage in informal conversation about the history of the room they are stewarding. 

To find out more about what’s involved, come along to one of the open days being held on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th November at Boscobel House, Bishops Wood, Staffordshire, ST19 9AR. A two hour session will run at 11am and again at 2pm on both days.  

Lee Allison, Visitor Operations Manager for English Heritage at Boscobel House said:  “Boscobel House is updating its visitor experience for 2010 and we’re looking for enthusiastic volunteers interested in working with the public. So if you want to get involved with local history, make new friends and learn new skills please come along to one of the open days in November. We look forward to seeing you there.”

Bosobel House was built around 1632 when John Giffard of Whiteladies converted a timber-framed farmhouse into a hunting lodge. The Gifford family were Catholics and, at that time, the Catholic religion was outlawed. The house itself served as a secret shelter for Catholics and there were numerous priest-holes and hiding places dotted around the premises. As well as the fascinating house, visitors today can also see the dairy, farmyard, smithy, gardens, and a descendant of The Royal Oak.

For more information about volunteering at Boscobel House please contact Lee Allison/Ella Harrison on Tel: 01902 850244.

Notes to editors

Lucille Winnubst, Visitor Operations Team Member for English Heritage
at Boscobel House stands in front of a portrait of King Charles II holding a book by Thomas Blount -  an original account of Charles’ flight from the battle of Worcester in 1651. 

Boscobel House: Following the execution of King Charles I in 1649, his eldest son made a brave though misguided attempt to regain the throne. In 1651 his hopes were crushed at Worcester in the final conflict of the Civil War. Young Charles was forced to flee for his life and sought refuge at Boscobel, hiding first in a tree which is now known as The Royal Oak and then spending the night in a priest-hole in the house's attic. He then travelled on in disguise via other safe houses before escaping to France.

 Ref: WM439/09


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