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Helmingham Hall

Helmingham Hall is just a couple of miles away from Pettaugh, and the residents of our village must have been inextricably linked to the neighbouring estate for centuries, as tenant farmers, skilled workers, farm hands and labourers.


Some of the famous Helmingham oaks in the Park are estimated to be up to 900 years old

The Tollemache family  has lived in Suffolk from shortly after the Norman Conquest to the present day. It seems now certain that the family came over from Avranches on the Normandy coast. Their name was spelt Talemache, meaning ‘purse bearer’, and it is recorded that Hugh Tollemache was Purse Bearer to Henry 1.

Their home for the first 400 years was at Bentley, near Ipswich. They remained at Bentley as squires and knights throughout the turbulent years of those early centuries, fighting for both Henry II against the Welsh and Edward I against the Scots and quite often against their neighbours to retain their lands. Two Tollemache knights from Bentley fought at the Battle of Crécy against the French in 1346.

However, in 1487, John Tollemache married Elizabeth Joyce, the heiress of Helmingham, and his son Lionel also married a Joyce. further cementing the union, and so they moved to Helmingham where the Joyce family home of Creke Hall stood. John Tollemache and his wife proceeded to pull this down and build Helmingham, completed in 1510, as it stands today. surrounded by its deep moat, serene gardens and deer park.

Helmingham Hall  is a moated manor house -- 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 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. The house retains two working drawbridges: they were originally operated with a windlass but in recent years this has been replaced by an electric motor.

The Park  encloses 400 acres and has large herds of both red and fallow deer. The deer have been in the Park for many centuries - the earliest mention of them is in 1660.  The  deer park is crossed by several public footpaths and many of us in Pettaugh walk these paths from time to time, enjoying the sight of the beautiful animals and the parkland, a vivid contrast to the surrounding farmlands.

Some of the famous Helmingham oaks in the Park are estimated to be up to 900 years old, and many have immense girths, but the splendid oak avenue leading up the front drive was planted about 1680. This avenue and many trees in the Park suffered terribly in the great storm of 1987; a large replanting scheme is being carried out so that future generations will see little change.

Visit the Helmingham Hall Gardens website

Estate Cottages

The estate cottages were designed 150 years ago by Lord John Tollemache, to provide dwellings for estate workers. Two cottages shared a bread oven and each had an acre of land to grow food for the family and to fatten a pig. These cottages, once home to working families, are now described as ‘quaint’ and are mostly privately rented.  They are located in several villages around the district -- including Pettaugh -- and are of a distinctive design.  They all have tall, red-brick chimneys, cream front doors with vertical bars and black wrought iron hinges and door handles, and are all numbered consecutively, (although not contiguously), irrespective of what street and village they are located in, e.g.;  

  • 90 and 91 are located in Ipswich Way, Pettaugh, even though near neighbours (not estate cottages) are numbered 9, 11, 13, and 15 and the numbers 90 and 91 bear no relationship to any other hoses in Pettaugh or Crowfield
  • 14 estate cottages, in seven attached pairs on adjoining plots, are located together at St John's Row on the B1077 -- Nos 97 - 100 are located in Helmingham Parish, and 101 - 110 are in Framsden Parish
  • Cottages numbered 14 through 45 or so stretch along the Gosbeck Road, from the centre of Helmingham through to Gosbeck

To see some photos of Estate Cottages, go to Gallery

Some of the cottages are listed, such as Nos 15 & 16, Gosbeck Road:

Estate Cottages,  nos 15 and 16


Pair of estate cottages, c1840, perhaps to the designs of Anthony Salvin  who was active at Helmingham Hall (qv) in c1841. Brick in Flemish bond with  moulded brick stack to party wall. Pantile roofs with ornamental vergeboards  to facing gables and half dormer, and slightly swept eaves. Two storeys with  outshut to rear; left unit with entrance between pair of windows and half  dormer off axis above; right unit with slightly projecting facing gable and  entrance to outer range. Doors of original design set in four centred arches.All windows flat arched. Picturesque style combining vernacular forms with  those of the 'cottage orne' tradition. Cottages 3-8, 15-20, the Estate Yard,  the Old Post Office near the cross roads to the north, and the Old Forge forma group.  

Source: English Heritage  

Website:  British Listed Buildings

Google Street View has captured some of the estate cottages:  Street View

To read about the Waterloo Eight Bells at Helmingham Church, go to  Bell Appeal

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