The Homes of the Squires

Wood Hall Manor

I have always had an interest in historic houses which is just passing interest and not an obsession. Whenever I see on a map a legend that says ‘so and so’ Hall or ‘so and so’ Manor I like to Google it and see what the house and the grounds are like etc. No, I have no desire to live in a listed Manor type home and have all the upkeep that a large mansion would require. I have enough keeping up with the work that my old pile needs.

My ‘dead time’ filler at the moment is to look at old ordnance survey maps of this area and spying the Mansions, Manors and Halls on the Peninsula. I thought I might try a post and identity the buildings, who was in them and what were they doing in my favourite time for this area the 1850’s. As an aside, isn’t it annoying when your grammar checker, which you have paid good money for, gives and incorrect spelling suggestion for a word correctly spelled because they spell it differently in the USA where the software was created. Yes (which is even more annoying) I have do have the language parameter set to British English!

Anyway, let me look at Shottisham Hall. Grade II listed, set back off the B1083 and which was originally a farmhouse with the original building being built in the 16th Century. Now that is quite old and although the listing does not give a date of construction it does give and indication of ‘late 16th Century’. So rather than being built when Henry VIII was marrying Catherine of Aragon in 1509 followed by a few more, it was more towards when the Spanish Armada, misnamed by the Spanish as the ‘Great and Most Fortunate Navy’, was sailing up to Blighty in 1588. Now when Henry decided to divorce the youngest daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella it was never going to end well and if it had not been for our smaller and more maneuverable ships and some favourable wind directions we may have been eating chorizo instead of the good old British pork banger and aioli with our burger instead of just plain old mayonnaise.

So we have an Early 16th Century Farmhouse sitting on what should have been a track then and hundred or more years later, in the 18th Century, someone comes along and adds some bits to it followed in the 19th Century by a gable end wing. Quite when the Farmhouse became the Hall is not available to this blog which like most of them at the moment are internet researched only. I was hoping to get to the Suffolk Records Office to at least get some more detail for two blogs being written but unfortunately this is denied me currently because of the pandemic. Still I am able to see from the Census in 1851 that a Robert Edwards lived at the then ‘known as’ Shottisham Hall with his wife and children. Robert has got a mention is previous blog ‘A Village with a Shop’ with his wife Isabella, four children and three servants. By 1861 his workforce had reduced and in 1869 the Farm and Hall were in the hands of a Charles Edwards and then by 1881 the Robert Edwards Family appear to be living in London Road in Ipswich.

Pettistree Hall

Looking at the Hall on an old ordnance survey map the Hall is shown, and is marked as such. It has a few adjacent buildings where the farm buildings are today are set back from the corner of the road from Shottisham and the road to Ramsholt. These buildings and stables, which on another website are detailed as rectangular courtyard with a barn, all look to be 19th Century. The buildings, extant at the turn of the 1900’s, have now mostly been replaced by more modern buildings. The farm buildings were built in an old sand pit so the removal of sand must have finished some time before then. Interestingly the map shows the Hall with two well pumps, one near the Hall and one near the outbuildings to water the horses and the workers I assume.

Shottisham only has the Hall as a ‘large’ house of note and history although William Hayward’s 17th Century Map does indicate the site of a Manor on the west side top of Church Lane. The Manor is no longer there but I suspect that there could be some artifacts under the soil and perhaps we could get a detectorist to have a look in the gardens there. The History, Gazetteer & Directory of Suffolk, 1855 does include the name Miss Miriam Kett as a ‘Gentlewoman’ and she is noted in the 1851 Census as being a ‘Clergyman’s Daughter’. So Clergymen were quite well thought of then.

If we come a little northwest the rather grand Woodhall Manor stands behind a gated wall with the gates supporting columns topped by some sort of bird. If pressed I would suggest they are eagles but my knowledge of birds is a little thin. The name is also a question in my mind and that is the name of the Manor. It is now Woodhall but on my ordnance survey map from the edge of the 19th Century it does show as ‘Wood Hall’. When it lost the space between the ‘d’ and the ‘h’ is not particularly clear. The lodge at the end of the drive still has the space, i.e. “Wood Hall Lodge”.

Wood Hall does have a very long period of development from 1700 to 1899 and a little after. Included in the ‘listed’ description of the Manor is a barn suggested to be 16th Century and a coach house though to be 18th Century or earlier. There has been much written on the history of the building and like many antique structures, as I have said, has been added to a number of times. The current look is Tudor style and at one time would have been surrounded by a moat or ditch.

The Manor is the probable site of the medieval village of Udeham mentioned in the Doomsday book as a ‘Manor of carucates’ (the land that can be ploughed by eight oxen in a year) and a mill all owned by Gilbert, Bishop of Evreux. He is shown as owning zero places before the conquest and three after. These were Loudham, Campsey and Udeham. Well didn’t he do well!. Later, although owned by Thomas Waller in the period I am looking at, it was occupied by Henry Edwards who was farming some 1000 acres. Born in Sutton Henry was not living with a spouse and although it is very indistinct it looks like his ‘Census condition’ in 1851 is something beginning with ‘W’ ; ‘Widowed? In the 1841 Census Henry is shown as living with his wife Hannah Edwards who are both 55 at this point. Hannah and Henry were married at Hollesley in 1805 but unfortunately Hannah died in 1850.

A little further west from Woodhall lies Pettistree Hall. This is shown on Haywards Map of 1629 as having a moat surrounding the building so it must have been of high status. The building has been named as Pistrehall and earlier as the Manor of Petristres in 1456 and Pistrees in 1494. The name is probably taken from the family of the then William de Petrestre and the parish of Pettistree, near Wickham Market.

Originally a fine mansion in the Elizabethan style it was later occupied as a farmhouse which as usual included farm buildings separate to the main house. They can still be seen on the way past on the footpath from Woodhall. They include, on the description, a stable, a couple of shelters and a barn all 19th Century. Another stable was added in the last century. Finding out who was in occupation in the Hall for the period in question is a little difficult using the search software of my choice. I can see that a guy called James Noble as living in a place called Pestry Hall and having not found Hall of a similar name in the area I am assuming that this is perhaps a direct phonetic spelling in a Suffolk dialect of the time but I could be very wrong. I do consider myself fairly tenacious when it comes to internet searches but there is only a certain amount of digging around on the internet before you want to throw your laptop at the wall in frustration. If this is the guy then he is shown as a farm bailiff. The Hall is rather grand for such a profession although I have seen in other large houses the bailiff often lives in the house with the family. .

Back along the track from Pettistree Hall, a left turn will take you to the home of Thomas Waller who lived in the then newish Sutton Hall. A substantial house built in the 19th Century which possibly covers the site of the medieval Manor of Sutton. I suppose the Manor could have been demolished to make way for the more modern building at that time but I am unable to confirm this. My two sources seem to dispute the age of the current building. One says mid 19th and the other early to mid. It is not shown on the tithe map of 1844 so not built by then perhaps, but it does have a Georgian look about it so I am a bit at odds on that one.

Sutton Hall

The 1851 census puts Thomas Waller, the owner of Wood Hall Manor, in Sutton Hall but because of the vagueness of that particular Census it does not show any building names. In Whites directory of 1855 it does show Thomas Waller as Lord of the Manor living in Sutton Hall. In the 1861 Census we can see Thomas at Sutton Hall and farming 800 acres employing 35 men and 15 boys. No wife is shown on this census and he has just a housekeeper, two maids and a groom at the hall. In 1871 he is still at the Hall but with just a housekeeper and a cook one maid. Perhaps his wife died before 1851 or he did not have one. By 1892 the Hall is in the possession of a William Nauton Waller who in 1881 was shown as living in Little Bealings and in 1892 he is shown as being in Sussex. Now he could have been on holiday at 12 Brunswick Terrace, Hove, but in view of the fact that there were 7 family members and 6 servants, perhaps he lived there. It was not unusual, however, for the rich to move their whole households with them on holiday leaving a skeleton staff back at home. Having looked at Google Earth the address, 12 Brunswick Terrace, is a rather substantial Georgian Terraced house overlooking the sea. It does appear able to hold all his whole household. Back at the the Hall it had a number of other buildings of an agricultural or non-residential nature which included a Coach House, a wagon shed, granary and a stable all built in the mid 19th to 20 the Century.

If we cross the B1083 and branch off Post Office Lane we come across what is reputedly to be the site of the Manor of Fenhall which was demolished in the 16th Century. On the ordnance survey map of the turn of the 19th Century it does show a building named Fen Hall where the Manor of Fenhall was situated. A building does exist there today but it is not listed. In the 1855 Whites directory it does mention Fen Hall but lists it just as farmhouse with a bailiff Thomas Meyer living there.

Looking to Ramsholt there are no many grand houses although there is Peyton Hall which was once the seat of the Peytons during the reign of Henry VIII and later they assumed the name of Ufford. Although I cannot trace that the substantial building which is at the site in the list of listed buildings in Ramsholt I will include it here. The History and Gazetteer for Suffolk of 1855 shows Peyton Hall as a large Farmhouse with William Last as the occupier and although only 42 years old the 1851 census does not show him as living a wife. He has a 17 year old Frederick Last living there but the lad’s relationship or occupation is illegible. William has four servants with him in the house which included a housekeeper, dairymaid and housemaid. Mr Last was farming 230 acres and employed 11 labourers, 3 women and a farmers son who I assume would have been shown on other similar records as a ‘boy’. By 1861 William is living at the Hall with his wife Sarah who was born in Raydon, Suffolk and to whom he married in 1852. She was still living with her father one year earlier and at 28 years old quite old to get married back then. Some of the ages seem to change from one record to another and there is usually an ‘about’ when the year of birth is recorded in the early years of the 19th Century. By 1871 William and Sarah are no longer at Ramsholt.

If we look up to Bawdsey from Ramsholt the only building which is called a hall or manor at this time is Bawdsey Hall. Bawdsey was listed in the History, Gazetteer & Directory of Suffolk, 1855 as compact and well built Parish which included, what was then often called, Bawdsey Haven. Sir Cutbert Quilter, after Building his impressive pile Bawdsey Manor, went to the expense of building a steam powered chain ferry, ‘The Lady Beatrice’ or ‘Lady Quilter’, which ran from the Bawdsey side to the Felixstowe side so he could reach Felixstowe Station in his vehicle. His Manor is outside this blog’s timeline but may appear in the next blog.

I cannot find Bawdsey Hall on the list of ‘listed buildings’ for Bawdsey. I often wonder what makes a listed building. Bawdsey Hall is a substantial and impressive building of some age and was extant in 1855. The Gazetteer of Suffolk lists the house with the occupier of Edward Cavell and in another local publication Edward is shown as the uncle of the heroic Edith Cavell. In 1851 we find him living with his wife Anne, his five children and a few others who seem to bear no relationship to the family or the land he was farming. His farm was split between arable and pasture and made up 525 acres with 29 men and 19 women and boys tending the land. Quaint how women were totalled in with the boys but we are some way from Woman’s Suffrage becoming a force. The ‘few others’ living in the Hall included a teacher and perhaps Ted had the wherewithal to have his five children schooled at home.

In the 1855 Gazeteer three other houses of note are listed, Red House, High House and Manor house. Red House may be the Redhouse Farm noted on a later Ordnance Survey map from about the turn of that Century and is a substantial house now. Certainly the Red House recorded in the 1851 Census does record a farmer of some substance farming 480 acres of arable and pasture land with a number of men and 7 women and boys although it is not clear with what appears to be a later ‘check mark’ partially covering the vital numbers. Joshua Bryant the farmer living at Red House had a wife, Mary, and two children under 6 and by the time the Gazetteer is published, in 1855, she appears to be the head of the household and ‘the farmer’. It does appear that poor old Joshua died in 1853 aged 57 and was buried in Bawdsey when his children were 7 and 5 and his wife only 45.

The Manor House in Bawdsey at the time of my delving into this period of history was occupied by a Samuel C Gross although it had gone through a period of change. In 1851 the farm was run by three sisters Mary Ann, Emma and Sarah who were 62, 60 and 58 years. The household included Mary Ann’s niece of 24 and a 6 employees who included the Bailiff. I have noticed in the larger houses the Bailiff often lived in the ‘big house’. The ladies farmed 176 arable acres and 54 acres of pasture and employed 12 men, 6 women and 3 girls.

High House which is a very imposing building that lies just off the road to Bawdsey Ferry. It must have been an imposing house in 1855 although the then occupier, Stephen Everitt, only farmed 200 acres split between pasture 50 acres and 150 arable. The farm employed 14 men and 10 women and boys and the household included Stephen’s wife Maria and his sister Mary and 2 servants. The whole household was aged below 40 which appears unusual for such a large house and farm. Of the ‘high status’ buildings in Bawdsey at this time only High House has a listing but then it does date back to the 17th Century. When viewed from the road does have the look of an older house with a more modern frontage but still ‘antique’.

Travelling away from Bawdsey back towards Shottisham you will come across Alderton which has a couple of houses of note, Alderton Hall and Stangrove Hall. In Alderton Hall you have one Joshua Rodwell living with his wife Sarah and his two children Mary Jane and Joshua and three house servants. The hall originally started as a 15 century farmhouse with some 19th and 20th century additions. These must have been quite substantial additions to make a ‘hall’. The site may be earlier than this, possibly with a moat. From Google you can see a number of agricultural buildings so quite a farm at one time during the period of this blog.

Stangrove Hall which sits on the B1083, the road to Bawdsey, and is not included separately on the History and Gazetteer. It is also not named on the 1851 census so I cannot see who was resident and what the purpose of the hall although from the turn of the century ordnance survey map it is shown as a very substantial house and other buildings, so it must have been a farm of some acreage. There are other farmers noted on the Gazetteer but none that I can trace as living at the hall.

I have done my best with Hollesley and apart from a couple of large farms around at the turn of the century there appears to be no ‘Halls’ of note and even someone called John Barthorp ‘Esq’ who lives what appears to be a comfortable life with his family and four servants does not appear to be living in a ‘named’ manor or hall.

That is about it for this blog. I started and dropped it a number of times thinking that it lacked a significant amount of interest for me. I originally started it some time ago and I was hoping to spend a lot of time in a records office researching the properties and people who made this area so interesting but unfortunately three lock downs and they put the kibosh on that hope. Maybe I will do that when we get back to normality. Meanwhile here it is.