A historic coaching inn from the 17th century, the Gaskell Arms has been a focal point in Much Wenlock since the beginning, welcoming guests with its stately bow windows and traditional appearance even today.
Since the Georgian times the Gaskell Arms has held a prominent position in the travellers heart, with coach and horses in the 1700s, through to the arrival of the railway in Much Wenlock in 1860. Whilst the world now runs at at faster pace, and the roads and transport methods used by guests to arrive at the Gaskell Arms have changed, the warm welcome and respite it offers to travellers is still the same, retaining its importance as one of the main hotels in the areas.
According to local historians, in Tudor times the site was occupied by Rindleford Hall, of which some of the original vestiges are still present in the building internal timbers and limestone footings. The external brick work dates back to the 1700s, all creating a sense of history around the building.
Originally the Gaskell Arms faced a ford, fed from the stream that provided the main water supply for the Priory, and although you can’t see it, this historic waterway still runs beneath the road.
Since the 1700s the Gaskell Arms has been owned by a number of estates, with generations of the local families putting their name to the hotel. Between 1630 and 1861 it was part of Much Wenlock estate owned by the Williams-Wynn family, as was the fashion at the time the hostelry was named the “Wynnstay Arms” referencing the hosts.
The ownership changed over time, and the crossed foxes of the Welsh borderland that previously featured on the inn sign was changed to represent the heraldry of the new owners, the Yorkshire Milnes-Gaskell family.
Under the Milnes-Gaskell family, the Gaskell Arms and the town was transformed from being a merely picturesque location into an archaeologists delight, for which it is still recognised today, with many buildings of interest in the locality.
The Gaskell Arms is now under the ownership of the Sheldon Family, and has been for the past 30 years, however the past is not forgotten. The local Wheatland Hunt still meets at the Gaskell Arms (a tradition of over 200 years) as well as the Mary Webb Society and the existing stabling has been brought into modern usage as accommodation, as well as the main building being extensively updated, all whilst retaining the essential charm of original features of the building.