Dominating Stafford's Greengate Street, is an impressive Elizabethan building that has stood at the centre of the town for over 400 years. It's historic nature makes it Stafford's most important building, but its superb decorative black and white facade makes it the town's most distinctive and attractive property.
The house has a fluctuating history, throughout the centuries some of the region's most illustrious personages have occupied the High House which was originally built for the Dorrington family in 1595. The following century the house was visited by King Charles I and his nephew Prince Rupert at the start of the English Civil War. In 1643, the house was taken over by the Parliamentarians who used it as a place of imprisonment for captive Royalists.
Later in the 17th century the Snyed family were in occupation, and in the 18th century Mr. Brooke Crutchley lived in the house. He divided the property, and Samuel Twigg, a wealthy mercer, lived in the other half.
Building work of the 19th century seriously weakened the structure of the property and for a time it was left to deteriorate until Stafford Borough Council recognised the buildings historic potential and its use as a museum. A programme of restoration began, this resulted in the preservation of the property, and today visitors can enjoy seeing this lovely old house with rooms set out very much as they looked in days of yore.
The Civil War room commemorates the visit of King Charles I and Prince Rupert. This beautiful room is dappled with light streaming through a stained glass window containing the coat of arms of the Snyed family. The window was purchased by the Friends of the Ancient High House.
Another room is the splendid Victorian room, a beautifully proportioned and exquisitely furnished room which is used for evening entertainment.
The Ancient High House has been the home of The Staffordshire Yeomanry Museum since 1993. This provides visitors with an exciting peep into the history of The Queen's Own Royal Regiment with a display covering 200 years of regimental tradition. The focal point of the museum is the Guidon, or Standard of the Yeomanry. It is at the centre of maps detailing the battle honours of the regiment, 19 in total.
Also to be seen are samples of wallpapers from the 18th and 19th century, these were discovered when the property was being restored by Stafford Borough Council.
The Ancient High House offers an interesting time for all who visit - it is a must for military enthusiasts, with the added bonus of historic interest covering over 500 years.
With the exception of special events, admission to the museum is free.
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