Elveden Hall

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Gate leading to grounds of Elveden Hall

Elveden Hall is a large privately owned house overlooking the large Elveden Estate in Elveden, Suffolk, England. It is located centrally to the village and is close to the A11 and the Parish Church. It is a Grade II* listed building. [1]

Early life of the house[edit]

The date of the original house's construction is unknown but the estate is known to have been anciently appropriated by Bury St Edmunds Abbey. After the dissolution of the monasteries it was given by Henry VIII to the Duke of Norfolk. It subsequently passed through the ownerships of the Crisp and Tyrell families. The Georgian house at the core of the present house is thought to have been built ca. 1760.[1] In 1768 the estate was purchased by Admiral Keppel.[2] He died without issue in 1796 and it passed to his nephew, the Earl of Albemarle,[3] who sold it to MP William Newton in 1813.

The Maharajah (1849–1894)[edit]

In 1849, the Maharajah Duleep Singh, ruler of the Sikh Empire and owner of the famous Koh-i-noor diamond was exiled to England, having been removed from his kingdom by the British East India Company.

The Maharajah purchased the 17,000-acre (69 km2) Elveden Estate in 1863 and set about rebuilding the country house and dressing it in an Italian style. However, he redesigned the interior to resemble the Mughal palaces that he had been accustomed to in his childhood. He also augmented the building with an aviary where exotic birds such as Golden Pheasant, Icelandic Gyrfalcons, Parrots, Peafowl and Buzzards were kept. His architect was John Norton, the Gothic revival specialist who also redesigned Tyntesfield.

Elveden Hall played host to a wide range of sporting activities but none rivalled the Maharajah's passion for shooting. His shooting parties were popular amongst aristocracy including Prince George, Duke of Cambridge.

After seasons of poor farming in the 1870s, a downturn in the Maharajah's personal fortunes and political tensions in government, the Maharajah left Elveden and England in 1886. After his death in 1893, his executors sold Elveden Hall in 1894 to Edward Cecil Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh.

The Earls of Iveagh (1894–present day)[edit]

The 1st Earl of Iveagh, of the Guinness brewing family, purchased Elveden Hall in 1894.

The hall was used during the Second World War as a headquarters for the USAAF, and the staff quarters were struck and destroyed by a bomb. By the 1980s, the large Hall provided a home only for the caretaker and the owner arranged to sell the entire contents with the auction house Christie's in May 1984. The sale included elaborate items once owned by the Maharajah.

The hall now stands empty, aside from its use as an occasional film location. Owners of the house since 1894 have been:

The Heir Apparent is the present holder's son Arthur Benjamin Geoffrey Guinness, Viscount Elveden (b. 2003)

Filming location[edit]

Elveden Hall's unique and impressive architecture and surrounding landscapes have been used for filming on a number of occasions. These films include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b English Heritage. "Elveden Hall, Elveden". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Mrs. Stirling (July 1911). "A Master of the Horse". The Nineteenth Century and After 70: 525. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  3. ^ History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Suffolk, and the Towns Near Its Borders (White, William, 1844)
  • Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990.
  • Bance, Peter. The Duleep Singhs: The Photographic Album of Queen Victoria's Maharajah: Photo Album of Queen Victoria's Maharajah (2004) Sutton Publishing, 2004.
  • Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page
  • Edward Cecil Guinness

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°23′07″N 0°40′47″E / 52.3852°N 0.6797°E / 52.3852; 0.6797