Benthall Hall is a fine example of a late 16th century country house. The Hall was built on the site of an older dwelling by the Benthall family in around 1580. During the second and third decades of the 17th century the house was embellished with a new staircase, panelling and plasterwork but otherwise Benthall is much as it was built.
Although the property is close to Coalbrookdale its isolated position on a plateau above the wooded slopes of the River Severn meant that the Industrial Revolution passed the house by.
The exterior of the house has changed little since it was built in the 16th century.
The asymmetrical south front has a gabled roof line, mullioned and transomed windows and moulded chimneys. A pair of octagonal bays rising through two storeys give the facade charm. A third octagonal bay is found on the west front.
The projecting entrance porch has a hiding place in the little room above it and five stone tablets forming a quincunx above the door. This pattern alludes to the five wounds of Christ and would assure the initiated that the house was owned by Catholic sympathizers. The house also has other hiding places for priests.
The Benthall family were stuanch supporters of the Old Faith and were to suffer later for their support of the Stuart cause.
Many of the decorative features in the interior were created in the first half of the 17th century when Lawrence Benthall married Katherine Cassy. Their coat of arms can be seen in the overmantel in the entrance hall.
The entrance hall has panelling from the 18th century but the work in the dining room dates from aound 1610. The ornate staircase with its pierced strapwork incorporating heraldic beasts dates from about 1618.
An elaborate plasterwork ceiling, frieze and overmantel dating from 1630 are found in the panelled west drawing room. Rococo chimneypieces dating from 1760 are in the dining room and drawing room, these were added by T.F. Pritchard, architect of the Iron Bridge.
Benthall Hall has much good 17th century furniture including an oak refectory table of around 1640 which was probably made for the entrance hall where it stands.
The Benthall family left the house in the mid 18th century.
In 1844 they tried to buy the property back but were unsuccessful. In the early 20th century the family managed to rent the property and at last, in 1934, the Benthalls were finally able to obtain possession.
Members of the family still live at Benthall Hall but since 1958 the house has been owned by the National Trust.
Benthall Hall has a intimate and sheltered garden enclosed by trees.
The garden is mostly the work of Robert Bateman, son of James Bateman, and from 1890 to 1906 he laid out the rockeries, terraces and rose garden. He also continued the tradition of introducing unusual plants to the garden, started by the botonist George Maw and his brother in the 19th century.
George Maw established the autumn and spring crocuses that flower in the woodland bordering the lawn.