About the Company

Founded 1462
About the Company

Shrewsbury Drapers Company is a long-established Guild which was granted a royal charter in 1462 and was historically responsible for the importation of unfinished Welsh cloth into England. The Guild has been running almshouses continuously since 1444.

There are approximately 75 members or Freemen, of whom about 50 are actively engaged in volunteering for the company. Freeman are invited to join on the basis of their willingness and ability to volunteer. Most are local and come from all walks of life; they are invited and selected in order to provide the skills  required to further the objectives of the Guild. As well as providing the strategic leadership of the company under the Master, Freeman manage all activities, supported by just 2 paid staff. Volunteers arrange for the repair and maintenance of the Hall, almshouses and gardens; they manage projectsand supervise the health, safety and safeguarding; they raise funds and manage accounts, insurance and investments; they give free advice on law, buildings, textiles, care and conservation; they organise events, services and competitions; and they offer welfare help, advice-or just a listening ear-to our residents.

It is one of about four guilds in the country that has been occupying its medieval Hall (completed in 1576) continuously from before the Great Fire of London. Some original oak furniture made for the Hall has been there since King Charles I. (Click here for more details of the building and the restaurant on the ground floor with a boutique hotel above)

The Guild is very conscious of the historical background and works to preserve two important buildings in Shrewsbury – Drapers Hall and Hospital of the Holy Cross adjacent to the Abbey Church in Abbey Foregate.

There are almshouses in Longden Coleham, Abbey Foregate , Wenlock Road. and Horsefair.

King Edward IV, who granted the Shrewsbury Drapers their first charter in 1462.

Painted by Thomas Francis in 1660

What is an Almshouse?

“Many of us reach a point in our lives when we feel that, although we are physically fit and healthy, we would like to have the security of knowing we do not have to worry about the maintenance of our home and the paying of the bills that relate to it. We would like to be living in a community where our needs are understood but we can maintain our independence whilst living in our own home.

The Shrewsbury Drapers Company Almshouses can provide this security for single or widowed people of pensionable age, who do not require nursing care.

The Shrewsbury Drapers Company strives to the best of its ability to provide that happy, safe, secure and supportive community for the benefit of the Residents."

For more details of our almshouses click here


Degory Watur and his wife. A Warden of the Company, Watur founded the almshouses in 1444.



Vacancies in our Almshouses occur from time to time and are advertised on this website. 

 If you would like to register your interest please complete our Application Form and we will contact you. Details of the eligibility criteria and accomodation are on this website - look under Almshouses.