West Stow Hall, West Stow, Suffolk
The gatehouse and Hall may have been built by the last abbot of Bury St Edmunds about 1520 although more likely by John Croft a wealthy merchant. There was probably a moated house already on the site, the first documentary reference to it being from the mid 13th century. The colonnade linking the gatehouse and main house was built in 1580. The gatehouse has turrets surmounted by terracotta figures and contains a very rare 16th century wall painting of the Four Ages of Man. The coat of arms of Queen Mary of France, Henry VIII’s younger sister, and later Duchess of Suffolk, is displayed above the entrance.
The Hall consists of large timber frames joined by iron ties. The front downstairs rooms are very heavily timbered with some side uprights rising through the house to the roof. The lounge has one of the largest inglenooks in Suffolk. The rear frame includes a great reception hall with heavily carved beams and interesting detail. It is said to date from the early 16th century. Beyond it were the parlour and solar end of an earlier hall which were demolished before the 19th Century.
The house was partially faced in brick in the 1840s by the Rev. Benyon, the wealthiest clergyman in England. His builder complained that the house was full of voids, which are indeed still there. The Hall is surrounded by well-designed and interesting gardens, woodland and an orchard.
Tour of the house and grounds led by the owner.
The owners of West Stow Hall were delightful and made our visit an afternoon to remember. They went to great lengths to explain the history of the house and provided us with the most delicious refreshments. It was a great success.
West Stow Hall is situated on the Icklingham road in the small village of West Stow, four and a half miles north west of Bury St Edmunds and three miles south east of Icklingham. The Anglo-Saxon village, about one and a half miles from the Hall, is also on the Icklingham road and is well signposted. The entrance to the Hall is nearly opposite the trout farm and is shared with West Stow Stud. Continue past the Stud buildings to the end of the drive about 200 yards. Park in front of the Hall, or where indicated.
Tea, coffee and cakes.
No photography in the house, no dogs. Because our properties are old and fragile, unfortunately we cannot include children under 14.
Ground floor and gardens only.