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South Elmham Hall

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Bishops Palace

In the civil parish of St Cross South Elmham.
In the historic county of Suffolk.
Modern Authority of Suffolk.
1974 county of Suffolk.
Medieval County of Suffolk.

OS Map Grid Reference: TM30708321
Latitude 52.39831° Longitude 1.38982°

South Elmham Hall has been described as a probable Palace, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


The moated site of a medieval bishop's palace at South Elmham Hall. The moat varies between 10 metres to 16 metres in width, and is waterfilled, surrounding a sub-rectangular island with maximum dimensions of 145 metres by 100 metres north-west - south-east. Parts of a timber bridge were found in waterlogged deposits in the eastern arm of the moat during cleaning operations in 1986-9, and some remaining in position. The ruined walls of a building of two storeys, which is considered to be of 13th or 14th century date, stand adjacent to the inner edge of the western arm of the moat. This building, of flint with brick quoins, has sometimes been described as a chapel, but is more likely to have served as a gate lodge. South Elmham Hall is a manor house of 16th century date, with some 17th and 19th century alterations. It is constructed of flint rubble with some freestone dressings, mainly rendered, under a tile roof. It stands in the southern half of the island and incorporates part of a 13th century or later medieval hall built of flint masonry with freestone dressings. On the south-east side of the moated site are the remains of fishponds visible as an array of large, well defined, rectangular and 'L' shaped depressions. At the time of the Domesday survey in 1086, the manor of South Elmham was held by the Bishop of Thetford. Soon afterwards it was purchased by Herbert de Losinga, the first Bishop of Norwich Priory. References in the medieval account rolls of the manor to a chapel and two cloisters within the moat are evidence that the site may have housed a small monastic cell in the early 12th century, and there is a belief that the see of Elmham was centred here in the 7th century. In the 13th to 14th centuries, it became an important residence of the Bishops of Norwich. In 1540, following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the property was granted to Edward North (created Lord North in 1553). (PastScape)

A Royal licence to crenellate may have been granted in 1327 (Click on the date for details of this supposed licence.).


Sometimes said to have been granted a licence to crenellate. This was, in fact, granted to North Elmham, Norfolk however may have been included in the possibly general licence to crenellate all the bishops manors said to have issued in 1327.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:06

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