History of the Coopers Arms

History of the Coopers Arms, Weston Hall, Weston on Trent

The Coopers Arms resides in Weston Hall, a large 17th Century Mansion House which is a Grade II* listed building. The curious appearance of this former mansion house is complemented by its enigmatic history. The generally accepted story is that the house was begun by an Anthony Roper in 1628, and that Roper's impoverishment and the outbreak of the Civil War halted its construction in the 1640's.

The land on which Weston Hall sits was inherited by Ropers first wife, Mary Gerrard, from her great uncle Charles Paget, whose family had in turn acquired the land from King Henry VIII after the Reformation. It is believed that the inspiration for Weston Hall came from Sir Thomas Holte (father of Ropers second wife, Dorothy Holte), who was building the magnificent Grade I Listed Aston Hall in Birmingham.

The construction cost for Weston Hall is believed to have been within the region of one thousand pounds. Unfortunately, this led to Ropers bankruptcy and consequently he severed his ties to Weston in 1637 by letting the house to a George Poulton. Only 4 years later Poulton gave up the lease, so the house may have been empty when the English Civil War broke out the following year. This would explain why Parliamentary troops were garrisoned here with their horses stabled in the basement(now the bar area of The Coopers Arms).

Thomas Fairfax, known as 'Black Tom', was a general and parliamentary commander-in-chief during the English Civil War, who stayed the night here hence our 'Fairfax' Room. Hanging on the Carvery wall you will find the coats of arms of Charles I and Lord Huntingdon which were taken from Ashby castle as a trophy by the Roundheads. In 1648, following Roper's death, the hall was sold to a Robert Holden from the nearby village of Shardlow. Holden's total estate upon his death amounted to £464.

From the public records office it is noted that Weston Hall was 'taxed on seven hearths' in respect of the unpopular hearth or chimney tax. More recent history relates a tale from the First World War when a German prisoner of war escaped and hid in the enormous chimneys for two days before completing his escape and subsequent return to Germany.

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