This historic hotel has a characterful and intriguing past
The site on which The Swan stands is thought to have been the college buildings serving St. Mary’s Church in 1600. The Swan, an alehouse, emerges in 1711 as one of two buildings on the land owned by Lord Stafford and its thought the name “The Swan” comes from his coat of arms. In 1752, the two houses were combined and later followed the introduction of the architectural features of the Georgian era. From 1785 after a main post road being diverted through Stafford, resulting in booming business, The Swan became an important coaching inn, providing the weary traveller with much needed rest and recuperation.
Rail travel brought an end to the boom years for The Swan, which started its decline that continued during the Victorian era. But, change and improved fortunes beckoned with the growth of industry in the town, resulting in a renovation for The Swan in 1886. By 1924, the hotel was accredited with 3 start from the AA.
Famous guests at The Swan include fugitives in the Jacobite rebellion who were concealed in a priest hole, that was found during renovations. Charles 1st, during the Civil War, once slept in the rooms now occupied by The Swan, and Charles Dickens who was once a resident, is said to have put pen to his experiences here. The Swan has also had its fare share of ghostly residence with tales of unexpected happenings with lights being turned off and on themselves, and locked doors opening.
Some of the secrets of The Swan revealed during an extensive renovation of the period property include wattle and daub walls, original stone fireplaces, a grand ceiling rose and the aforementioned priest hole. The aim of the refurbishment was to reflect the fascinating history of the hotel, but take it into the 21st century with style, by combining historical architecture with cosmopolitan design.