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The River Waveney - - 1919012.jpg
The mooring sited on the River Waveney
Somerleyton is located in Suffolk
Somerleyton shown within Suffolk
OS grid reference TM 485 974
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Lowestoft
Postcode district NR32
EU Parliament East of England
List of places
52°31′04″N 1°39′41″E / 52.5178°N 1.6614°E / 52.5178; 1.6614Coordinates: 52°31′04″N 1°39′41″E / 52.5178°N 1.6614°E / 52.5178; 1.6614

Somerleyton is a village close to the River Waveney in the Waveney District of the English county of Suffolk.[1] Somerleyton is located around 5 miles (8 km) north-west of Lowestoft and 7 miles (11 km) south-west of Great Yarmouth. The village lies on the edge of The Broads National Park. The population is included in the civil parish of Somerleyton, Ashby and Herringfleet

Many of the houses consist of the model village built around a green that once belonged to the Somerleyton Estate, formerly the property of the Jernegan family and then to Samuel Morton Peto. Somerleyton Hall is still a private residence, and is open to the public.

Shops and public houses[edit]

The village has a County Primary school and a thatched combined post office and village shop. Somerleyton railway station is nearby, on the Norwich to Lowestoft line. There is also a pub, The Dukes Head, until circa 1959 another pub, The Crown was also open in the village. The Crown was officially an 'off-licence' meaning alcoholic drinks could only be bought, not consumed there. The resident policeman, who at that time lived in the police house adjacent to Somerleyton CP School, could be relied upon to make his approach known so that drinkers could have their pints hidden under the bar in time to avoid prosecution! The village store, part of Waveney Co-operative Society and closed circa 1968, was on the opposite side of the road from The Crown adjacent to the village pond in the Street and operated a door-to-door delivery service for groceries via trade-bike and the milk delivery van. Both are now private houses as is The Reading Room, which was provided for the use of residents with snooker table etc. until being closed and converted to a dwelling circa 1968.


Somerleyton is described in the Domesday Book under the name of Sumerledetuna.[2]

St Mary's Church, Somerleyton

Somerleyton Hall was established in 1240 and has been home to Admiral Sir Thomas Allin and Samuel Morton Peto, who oversaw the latest rebuilding in 1843.[3] Peto also had the ancient Parish Church of St Mary rebuilt in 1854[4] but retaining many historic features including the 15th century tower and rood screen; it is a Grade II* Listed building[5]

The Hovercraft Column

Somerleyton was the home of Christopher Cockerell while he invented the hovercraft using the resources of 'Ripplecraft' a business operating cabin cruisers for the boat hire trade serving holidaymakers cruising the Norfolk Broads. Unveiled in 2010 the Hovercraft Column commemorates Cockerell's invention.[6] The River Waveney runs along the edge of Somerleyton giving access to the Broads and visitors may find the rail swing bridge which crosses the river in Somerleyton of interest. This can be viewed by taking the un-metalled road down to the river adjacent to the 'Duke's Head'.

There was a small brickworks in the village which provided bricks for the construction of Liverpool Street station among other sites before closing circa 1947. The remains can still be seen on the track which leads from the Brickfields cottages to the railway station. The last remaining chimneys were demolished with dynamite in about 1959.

Somerleyton Gardens.
Somerleyton Gardens in 1930.

A memorial to the airmen killed when their aeroplane crashed during the Second World War (1939–1945) can be seen on Waddling Way, an un-metalled road to the east of the village which runs to Flixton, Lothingland, near Blundeston. The aircraft was an RAF Mosquito nightfighter being flown by two young airmen of the United States Navy. On 14 November 1944, they were chasing an air-launched V1 flying bomb but were mistakenly shot down by British anti-aircraft fire. The full story can be found in Final Flights by Ian McLachlan.[7]

Cultural associations[edit]

The BBC programme Antiques Roadshow was recorded at Somerleyton Hall on 10 September 2009 and broadcast in 2010.[8]


  1. ^ Kelly, E. R., ed. (1875). "SOMERLEYTON". The Post Office Directory of Cambridge, Norfolk and Suffolk. London: Kelly & Co. p. 911. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Somerleyton Hovercraft Retrieved 22 February 2012
  7. ^ Final Flights - Ian McLachan Retrieved 22 February 2012
  8. ^ Antiques Roadshow Retrieved 17 January 2013

External links[edit]

Media related to Somerleyton at Wikimedia Commons