Helmingham Hall is a moated manor house in Helmingham, Suffolk, England. It was begun by John Tollemache in 1480 and has been owned by the Tollemache family ever since. The house is built around a courtyard in typical late medieval/Tudor style.
The present Helmingham Hall may have been initially constructed in 1510 on the site of an earlier house called Creke Hall. The exterior was altered between 1745–1760, again in 1800 by John Nash, and in 1840. The original half-timbered walls have been concealed by brick and tiles. The house retains two working drawbridges: they were originally operated with a windlass but in recent years this has been replaced by an electric motor.
The house is not open to the public and Helmingham is best known for its fine garden, which is open on a regular basis. It is a semi-formal mixed garden with extensive borders, a rose garden, a knot garden, a parterre and an orchard. Beyond the garden there is a 400-acre (1.6 km2) park with herds of red and Fallow Deer. The Church of St Mary on the edge of the park has connections with the Tollemache family dating back to the Middle Ages.
Treasures of Helmingham
The Tollemaches of Helmingham own one of the only two English Orpharion viols. Their orpharion viol is dated 1580 and bears the label of John Rose, the renowned English viol maker of the 16th century. Only four John Rose viols survive today in major collections and the only one of them in private hands is the Tollemache family's' Orpharion viol. It is believed that the Orpharion viol was made for Queen Elizabeth I, who presented the instrument to the Tollemache family during one of her visits to Suffolk.
The "Tollemache lute manuscript" was acquired from the Helmingham Hall collections and sold by Sotheby's in 1965 to Mr. Robert Spencer. It is one of the most important manuscripts of musical history. It was written in 1609 by the obscure composer of music Henry Sampson.
- "Helmingham Hall". Pastscape. Retrieved 2011-07-03.
- Helmingham Hall
- Gill, Donald (July 1960) "The orpharion and bandora." The Galpin Society Journal. Vol. 13.
- Pringle, John (Oct. 1973) "The Founder of English Viol-Making." Vol. 6, No. 4, pp.501-511.
- Journal of the Lute Society
- Spencer, Robert (April 1975), Early Music periodical journal, Vol. 3, No. 2. Robert Spencer, who owns the so-called "Tollemache lute manuscript" presently. this manuscript maintains "Tollemache" in its common reference, despite the change of owner.
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- Map sources for Helmingham Hall
- Official site
- Details from listed building database (279699) . Images of England. English Heritage.