Right: King Edward IV, who granted the Shrewsbury Drapers their first charter in 1462. Painted by Thomas Francis in 1660.
Shrewsbury is a very special place and is proud of its surviving guild and Guild Hall.
The Shrewsbury Drapers` Company has retained many unbroken links back to its foundations in the 15c and its zenith in the 16c
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 a also 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 1444.
The Old Market Hall in the Square was built 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) Fellmongers` Hall in Frankwell was built around the same time as Drapers`Hall . It was used by Messrs T Birch Ltd of Birmingham, Fellmongers and Wool Merchants, until 1971.
Various part od 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
If you have any evidence this was used as a guild hall, please use the contact page and send Nigel Hinton. Nigel would also be pleased to receive information on the Shrewsbury Drapers Company or any of the Shrewsbury based trade guilds.