The walls appear to be composed of strongly framed timber, on a substructure of stone and brick. It is in wonderful preservation for its age, dating from Henry VIII.'s reign, to which these half-timbered houses belong. In front of the house a small stream of water flows through a bridge, on one side of which it has been raised by means of a weir. This gives the upper part of the stream a broad, river-like appearance. Large and well-furnished gardens skirt its banks for a considerable distance.
Pitchford is said to have derived its name from a bituminous well, on the surface of which floated a sort of liquid bitumen resembling that which is seen on the Dead Sea.
The first possessors of the place took their name from this well. We read of a Sir Ralph de Pitchford, who behaved so valiantly at the siege of Bridgenorth that Henry I. gave him Little Brug, near it, as a reward, to hold it by the service of finding dry wood for the great chamber of the Castle of Brug or Bruggnorth, whenever the king was coming there.
The hall is the property now of Lord Liverpool, devised to the then earl, in 1806, by Mr. Ottley, in whose family the estate had been for nearly four hundred years. William Oteley (as the name was originally spelt) was high sheriff for the county in the fifteenth of Henry VII., and again in the fifth of Henry VIII., in whose rein he probably built this hall.
During the civil wars the Ottleys, who were loyal Cavaliers, gained much distinction for their valour and services, although they were not always successful.
Sir Francis Ottley was successively governor of Shrewsbury and Bridgenorth. In the latter town he was besieged in 1646, and was compelled to surrender to the Parliamentary army, with the stipulation that "Francis Ottley should be permitted to retire with his family and possessions to Pitchford, or to the Hay," another estate belonging to him. He must have been not a little mortified at having to surrender the place where his ancestor had won a reward of valour.
Screened from the hall by thick plantations is a plain but very old church, placed close to the grounds. It contains some interesting monuments of the Ottley family, and also a curious and well-carved oaken figure of a knight templar, a Baron de Pitchford, who fought in the Crusades, and is buried here.
The Duchess of Kent and her fair young daughter (now our beloved Queen) visited Pitchford Hall in October, 1832, on which occasion the old house, true to its ancient loyalty, entertained the royal guests with Shropshire hospitality.