Shire Hall

Venue Type & Location

Town Hall

Site Name: Shire Hall
Location: Stafford
County: Staffordshire
Location Type: Town - in town at determined location


The 17th-c. Staffordshire shire hall served as the mayor’s office and a meeting place for the county quarter sessions. 

There is no extant information on the materials or design of the original medieval hall, located on the N side of the market square at the corner of Greengate Street, but by the 1280s, the building was in use as a site of civic government. The hall was rebuilt in the middle of Market Square in 1607 with 2 storeys: an open ground floor and an upper floor supported by a colonnade.  

Performance History

The early 17th-c. hall was the probable location of performances by touring companies before the mayor and council.

Current Status

Demolished at the end of the 18th c.

History of the Venue

128x: Earliest known reference to the hall as a meeting place for the county court.

1468: A moot hall described as town property.

1482: Hall noted as the meeting place of the borough courts. 

ca. 1580: Plans to rebuild the hall began, but difficulties securing financial resources impeded completion.

1607: Construction of the new hall in Market Square completed.

1617: Office for the mayor built under the town hall. 

1736: Town clerk given permission to use the hall for corporation business.

by 1790s The hall had fallen into disrepair.

1794 The Stafford Shire Hall Act 1794 authorized the building of a new courthouse, designed by architect John Harvey. 

1798: Construction of the new town hall completed.

1853-4: Construction of a new hall, at a new site on the W side of Market Square, began according to the design of Charles Trubshaw. Borough offices relocated to new hall.

1991: Old hall ceased to function as a court building. Building renovated to house an art gallery and exhibition centre. 

Bibliographic Sources

  • Greenslade, M.W. and D.A. Johnson. A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 6. London: Victoria County History, 1979.
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus. Staffordshire. 1974. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth, Midd: Penguin Books, 1996.
  • Tringham, Nigel. The Shire Hall Gallery Stafford Guide. [Stafford]: Staffordshire County Council, n.d..