HISTORICAL SOCIETY
VISIT LINDEN HSE IN EYE
VISIT TO WEST STOW HALL
WW1 EXHIBITION 2014
COLUMBINE HALL VISIT
GARDEN PARTY 2012
BEDFIELD HALL VISIT
KIRSTEAD HALL, NORWICH
FRINTON STATION HOUSE
BOURNE MILL VISIT
CHRISTMAS MEETING 2009
PROGRAMME 2009-10
VISIT COGGESHALL ABBEY
QUIZ NIGHT 2008
2007 GET TOGETHER
CHRISTMAS PARTY 2006
DEENE PARK VISIT
WAR EXHIBITION 2005
VISIT MELFORD HALL
VISIT PAYCOCKES HOUSE
VISIT TO LAVENHAM
EXHIBITION 2004
CHRISTMAS PARTY 2003
CHRISTMAS PARTY 2001
VISIT TO WISBECH
VILLAGE WALKS
PRIORY EXHIBITION -01
CHRISTMAS PARTY 2000
COFFEE MORNING

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Historical Society visit to West Stow Hall, Bury St Edmunds


A very comfortable 59 mile journey into Suffolk, leaving the Village Hall at 12.30 p.m. This picture shows members of the visiting party having just arrived at West Stow Hall, gathered together in the sun for a moment, before beginning the formal visit.


West Stow Hall is a 15th Century historic Grade I listed Tudor building and was possibly built by the last Abbot of Bury St. Edmunds. It has a very impressive brick built gatehouse as a feature of the property. This gatehouse connects to the main property by way of a brick colonnade added in the 18th century, with niches in the wall for statuary, unfortunately now no longer present. The gatehouse itself was built around 1530.
The house was originally enclosed by a moat but this was filled in many years ago, but since the property is on a slope it is difficult to know how the moat was managed and must have been much deeper at the high end to preserve water in the lowest part. West Stow Hall is surrounded by six acres of land planted and managed by gardeners.
The house has an exceptionally large Inglenook fireplace which we were told is the largest in Suffolk Inside the house many of the floors are the original oak flooring, and wall beams have been exposed, some of which were covered until Andy and Eileen the present owners, decided to open them up returning the rooms to their original appearance.
After the dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540 when Bury Abbey was taken from the Roman Catholic Church, Sir John Croftes purchased the land and buildings for £497.

The pictures above show some aspects of the building to give web viewers an idea of the appearance of West Stow Hall. One picture above left looks towards the gatehouse showing the three towers on the building. Each tower has an image on the top and these are shown to the right in sketch form for comparison purposes.
Mary Tudor, the sister of Henry VIII had been married to the king of France. Now as Dowager Queen of France and Duchess of Suffolk she has her coat of arms placed over the door of the 1530 gatehouse.
It is said the following her visit to the property the Abbot placed her coat of arms on the gatehouse as a commemoration of the visit of this royal person. The remnants of Mary Tudors coat of arms is pictured below on this page, but it has suffered greatly from the passage of time.

Andy our guide gathering his party together.

The visiting party was divided into two groups, with Andy and Eileen the owners, taking a group each. After I had taken a picture inside the house Andy asked me not to take any more, so this article is bereft of inside views.
To the left and below, Andy is pointing out features to our party, including the much eroded coat of arms for Mary Tudor on the right hand side..

Andy pointing out to our party special features on the gatehouse

What remains of Mary Tudors Coast of Arms after 500 years of exposure


Joy Clinton, our outings organiser, always arranges for tea and cakes
before we leave, but on this occasion I think she excelled herself!

Searching the Internet for information about West Stow Hall I discovered that it was on the Market for £1.5 million pounds on 6th April 2009 advertised as a seven bedroom house.
During our tour round the house Andy said they had not been the owners of the Hall for many years and were continually devising plans to restore the property to its former state and to preserve it for the future.
This clearly is an historic building and well worth our visit. It does on a business basis, provide B & B accommodation for visitors who may wish to spend some time exploring Suffolk.

Local viewers of this page may be interested in the following e-mail I received from Sidge Kenny after publication: “Dear Michael, Very interesting report and photos on the recent visit to West Stow. In the 1960`s I raced at a scramble track just along from the Hall organised by the Bury Motor Cycle Club. Very fast, bumpy and quite hazardous, with lots of flints and stones being chucked up by the wheels. Now it is an archaeological site - all racing banned!! – Sidge. ..

M.J.T.
12/8/15


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