Boscobel House was built in about 1632, when John Gifford of Whiteladies converted a timber-framed farmhouse into a hunting lodge. The Gifford family were Roman Catholics, at a time when the religion suffered persecution. 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. He sought refuge instead 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 stayed at Boscobel for several days while Parliamentarian forces searched the neighbourhood, hidden by a family of servants, the Penderels. In 1812 Walter Evans bought Boscobel House and the associated farm, attracted by its romantic association with King Charles II, and acquired paintings of the main protagonists for his house. Oliver Cromwell is shown plainly dressed, and wearing armour, a successful but godly military commander. Charles is shown after his restoration to the throne, in the full pomp of royal robes. Dame Penderell, mother of the men who helped Charles to escape, wears the old-fashioned clothes of a countrywoman. The lady who may be a later member of her family is dressed for an appearance at court, in silk and lace.
English Heritage, Boscobel House
Boscobel Lane Brewood, Bishop's Wood, Staffordshire ST19 9AR England
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