Belchamp Hall, Sudbury, Suffolk
The eclectic collection at Belchamp Hall tells the story of the Raymond family who have owned the house and surrounding estate since 1611. The present red brick Queen Anne mansion was built in 1710 on the site of the previous Tudor house. Bay windows forming powdering chambers were added to the two principal bedrooms on the north and south of the house during the Georgian era, when hair powdering and wigs were in fashion. The front porch leads into the central hall, hung with family portraits, and from which, an elegant staircase leads to the upper rooms. To the right is the dining room. This was originally two rooms and is panelled with oak and chestnut thought to have come from the original Elizabethan house.
The house overlooks the fine 14th century parish church of St. Mary, with its famous medieval wall paintings. Outside, large lawns border the central drive with its circular sweep round an old sundial. To the right is a long raised terrace walk, originally planted with an avenue of Scots firs, as seen in the portrait of the owner’s great grandfather in the hall. These have now been replaced with smaller cherry trees. The south terrace leads to a small, early Victorian summer house, with a formal marble floor and early coloured glass windows depicting pastoral scenes, flowers and vegetables.
There are many family portraits painted by the local artist Thomas Gainsborough, who was born in nearby Sudbury, and was the leading British portraitist during the second half of the 18th century. Belchamp Hall featured as the fictional Felsham Hall in the BBC series ‘Lovejoy’.
Original family portraits by Thomas Gainsborough. Relics captured in the battle against the Spanish Armada. Organ gifted to the Raymond family by famous C18th composer George Frideric Handel. Learn about the Raymond family’s connections to 18th century India.
Belchamp Hall is extremely interesting and made even more so by the knowledgeable owner. We really enjoyed it all and it was suggested by many members to be one of the best visits we have made.
From London: Access the M11 from the North Circular (A406) or from the M25. Exit the M11 at junction 8 (Stanstead Airport). At the roundabout take the A120 (signposted to Colchester). Continue for approx. 20 miles over several roundabouts. At the A120 and the A131 junction Take the A131 to Sudbury. Continue along the A131 for approx. 3 miles until the AlOl7 (signposted Haverhill), which bears to the left - look out for this turning it's a small sign. Continue on the A1017 for approx. 6 miles. Continue through Sible Hedingham, turn right onto the B1058 to Castle Hedingham. Continue along the B1058 through Castle Hedingham. Now follow directions in paragraph 2. From Cambridge/the North: Exit the M11 at junction 10. Head west on the A505 for approx. 4 miles. Turn left onto the A11. After approx. 1/2 mile turn right onto the A1307 towards Haverhill. After approx. 5 miles bear right at the roundabout onto the A1017 (Haverhill bypass). Follow this road to Sible Hedingham for approx. 19 miles. At Sible Hedingham turn left onto the B1058 to Castle Hedingham. Continue along the B1058 through Castle Hedingham. After approx. 2 miles turn left to Gestingthorpe - again look out for this turning, there's a small red post box on the left side of the road. Now follow directions in paragraph 2.
After approx. 2 miles turn left to Gestingthorpe - again look out for this turning, there's a small red post box on the left side of the road. Go through Gestingthorpe and at the village green continue straight over the crossroads to Belchamp Walter (approx. 2 miles). Before reaching Belchamp Walter the road bears off to the left up Chapel Hill - don't follow this, instead continue straight on to Belchamp Walter. Turn right at the crossroads in the centre of Belchamp Walter (by the village pond) and continue down the hill for approx. 1 mile. At the bottom of the hill take the right hand fork which leads directly to the church of St Mary the Virgin and Belchamp Hall.
|Duration||1.5 hours. Visitors are welcome to visit the gardens after the tour.|
Tea or coffee and cakes
Ground floor tour only. Doors wide enough for wheelchairs. Gravel driveway and paths.