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The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
 
 
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Melford Hall, Long Melford

In the civil parish of Long Melford.
In the historic county of Suffolk.
Modern Authority of Suffolk.
1974 county of Suffolk.
Medieval County of Suffolk.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL86664616
Latitude 52.08254° Longitude 0.72287°

Melford Hall, Long Melford has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are major building remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.

Description

VCH record of a 'moated enclosure with stronger defensive works (Class G)'. Melford Hall, 3 miles north from Sudbury, occupies the site of a former residence of the abbots of Bury within a very large quadrangular moat; the latter is imperfect, but on the northern side, within the moat, is an earthen bank of considerable width. (VCH)

Moated house constructed in 1559 with 18th and 19th century additions. Field investigations in 1980 found the moat to be rectangular in plan, measuring 270 metres north-south by 160 metres east-west. The east arm had been filled but was traced as a shallow depression at its northern end. The north arm was dry, 18 metres wide and 2.3 metres deep, with a large inner retaining bank 1 metre high. The west arm was 7 metres wide and water-filled. The south arm measured 10 metres wide and had an outer retaining bank 1.5 metres high. It was waterfilled by a small stream, the Chad Brook. An estate map of 1630 shows the house completely moated. (PastScape)

A fine red brick moated mansion standing in a park of about 132 acres. It was built in 1559 by William Cordell, Solicitor General and Master of the Rolls. Queen Elizabeth I visited the house in 1578 and during the wars of the Commonwealth, when it was owned by the Countess of Rivers it was extensively sacked. Considerable work was done during the C18 and later (1813). It is at present owned by Sir William Hyde-Parker. The house is built on 3 sides of a courtyard open to the east. (A plan by John Thorpe at the Soane Museum shows it with an enclosed courtyard). The west front has 3 storeyed outer blocks with towers on the inner corners and a 3-storeyed centre block, built as if it was a gatehouse flanked by smaller towers. The spaces between the towers were originally recessed but were built out with 2 storeyed blocks in 1813. (Listed Building Report)
Comments

Despite the VCH record of this being a residence of the abbots of Bury PastScape records that in 1980 'The occupier, who was the previous owner, stated the house to be built on a virgin site in the 16th century. An estate map of 1630, kept at the hall, shows the house completely moated with a gate house at TL 86724618. (Field Investigators Comments-F1 GJM 10-JAN-80)' The location, on the edge of Long Melford, is more in line with that of a medieval estate than a Tudor one although such location evidence is far from definitive. This does seem to have been a manor of the abbey of Bury but was it the site of an abbots residence?
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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