Helmingham Hall

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Helmingham Hall
Helmingham Hall circa 1880.

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 house is listed Grade I on the National Heritage List for England, and its park and formal gardens are also Grade I listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.[1][2]

History[edit]

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.[3] The house is surrounded by a moat 60 feet wide, over which it is reached only by two working drawbridges, which have been pulled up every night since 1510.[4] These were originally operated with a windlass but in recent years this has been replaced by an electric motor.[5]

In addition to the house and gardens, several other buildings and structures on the estate are listed Grade II. The garden wall to the south west of the hall,[6] two urns and a male and female statue,[7][8][9][10] a sundial and an obelisk,[11][12] the tea rooms, bridge, game larder, and revetment are all listed Grade II.[13][14][15][16]

The gate lodge to the north east of the hall and the left and right front lodges are also listed Grade II, as is the entrance gateway and piers between the front lodges.[17][18][19][20]

The Church of St Mary on the edge of the park has connections with the Tollemache family dating back to the Middle Ages.

Gardens[edit]

The house is not open to the public and Helmingham is best known for its fine garden, which is open to the public from May to September. 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.

Lady (Alexandra) Tollemache is a garden designer who works under the name Xa Tollemache. She supervises the gardens at Helmingham and has also worked on the Millennium Garden at Castle Hill in Devon, Dunbeath Castle in Scotland, and the Cloister Garden at Wilton House. [21]

Treasures of Helmingham[edit]

The Tollemaches of Helmingham own one of the only two English Orpharion viols.[22] Their instrument is dated 1580 and bears the label of John Rose, a 16th-century English viol-maker. Of the four John Rose viols which survive, this is the only one in private hands. It is believed to have been made for Queen Elizabeth I who presented it to them during one of her visits to Suffolk.[23]

The "Tollemache lute manuscript" was acquired from the Helmingham Hall collections and sold by Sotheby's in 1965 to Robert Spencer.[24] It was written by Henry Sampson. Robert Spencer, the present owner of the manuscript, maintains "Tollemache" in its common reference, despite the change of owner.[25]

In media[edit]

In May 2018 the hall was the venue for BBC One's Antiques Roadshow.[26]

It also appeared in the 2019 BBC documentary Danny Dyer's Right Royal Family.[27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Historic England, "Helmingham Hall (1033070)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 April 2017
  2. ^ Historic England, "Helmingham Hall (1000270)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 April 2017
  3. ^ Historic England. "Helmingham Hall (388597)". PastScape. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  4. ^ "Helmingham Hall history". Helmingham. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Helmingham Hall Bridges". Engineering Timelines. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  6. ^ Historic England, "Garden wall, 70 meters south west of Helmingham Hall (1033071)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 April 2017
  7. ^ Historic England, "Urn, 60 meters south west of centre of west elevation of Helmingham Hall (1033072)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 April 2017
  8. ^ Historic England, "Urn, 60 meters south west of the south west corner of Helmingham Hall (1181680)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 April 2017
  9. ^ Historic England, "Male statue, 5 meters south west of the north west corner of moat surrounding Helmingham Hall (1181699)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 April 2017
  10. ^ Historic England, "Female statue, 50 meters south west of the south west corner of moat surrounding Helmingham Hall (1033070)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 April 2017
  11. ^ Historic England, "Sundial, 30 meters south west of west elevation of Helmingham Hall (1181687)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 April 2017
  12. ^ Historic England, "Obelisk about 750 meters west of Helmingham Hall (1181708)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 April 2017
  13. ^ Historic England, "Tea rooms, formerly sables and coach house, 70 meters north of Helmingham Hall (1033074)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 April 2017
  14. ^ Historic England, "Bridge, about 300 meters east of Helmingham Hall (1033075)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 April 2017
  15. ^ Historic England, "Gamelarder, 20 meters south of Keeper's Cottage (1182283)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 April 2017
  16. ^ Historic England, "Revetment to outer bank of moat surrounding Helmingham Hall, and two attached bridges, Helmingham Park (1284918)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 April 2017
  17. ^ Historic England, "Gate lodge, north east of Helmingham Hall (1240189)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 April 2017
  18. ^ Historic England, "Front lodge and screen wall to left (1033078)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 April 2017
  19. ^ Historic England, "Front lodge and screen wall to right (1352125)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 April 2017
  20. ^ Historic England, "Entrance gateway and piers to Helmingham Park, between front lodges to oak walk (1182406)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 18 April 2017
  21. ^ "Background". Xa Tollemache.
  22. ^ Gill, Donald (July 1960) "The orpharion and bandora." The Galpin Society Journal. Vol. 13.
  23. ^ Pringle, John (October 1973). "The Founder of English Viol-Making". Early Music. 6 (4): 501–511. JSTOR 3125739.
  24. ^ "The Lute Society: Journal". www.lutesoc.co.uk. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  25. ^ Spencer, Robert (April 1975). "Three English Lute Manuscripts". Early Music. 3 (2): 119–124. JSTOR 3125950.
  26. ^ "Antiques Roadshow - Series 40: 10. Helmingham Hall 1". Retrieved 6 May 2018 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  27. ^ Heritage, Stuart (22 January 2019). "A bit of ruff: how Danny Dyer went from tinpot wideboy to TV treasure". theguardian.com. Retrieved 2 February 2019.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°10′18″N 1°11′43″E / 52.17154°N 1.19537°E / 52.17154; 1.19537