Part of an early C18 formal garden, associated with an Elizabethan hall remodelled as a Georgian mansion, set in a park with late C17 features for which Humphry Repton produced a Red Book in 1791.
A park at Little Glemham is listed in an undated, c 1560, list of Suffolk deer parks, at which time the land had been in the hands of the Glemham family since at least 1229. In the late C16 Sir Henry Glemham built a grand new hall, set within a park in which for a while the old moated manor house remained standing c 170m to the north-east. Following a loss of fortune during the late C17 the Glemham family were forced to sell the estate and it was purchased in 1708 by the North family (later earls of Guilford) who, between 1712 and 1724 under Dudley North, set about an extensive programme of restoration and remodelling. An estate map was produced in 1726, and another in 1771, both of which show the remodelled hall set in new enclosed formal gardens on all sides with avenues running up to them on the north, south, and west. Bowen's map of Suffolk dated 1750 also records the extent of the park at this time and in 1783 Hodskinson records it covering an area similar to that of today. At this time the old manor house with its moats still stood in the park. Dudley Long North inherited Glemham Hall in 1789 and two years later commissioned Humphry Repton (1752-1818) to produce a Red Book. A map produced in 1826 shows that many of the suggestions he made for the landscape, if not the Hall, were carried out, including the removal of the old manor house and the filling in of the moats and the extension of the park to the north beyond the turnpike road (now the A12). Following the early C19 remodelling of the park, the family made relatively few further changes to house, garden or park and in 1923 the eighth Earl of Guilford put the estate up for sale. It was purchased by Captain J M Cobbold of the successful Suffolk brewing family, who retained the park and laid out new gardens within the original C18 walled and hedged enclosures. The site remains (2000) in private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Glemham Hall lies along the eastern side of the main A12, Lowestoft to Ipswich road, c 20km north-east of Ipswich and c 12km west of the coastal town of Aldeburgh in a well-populated part of rural Suffolk. It is situated midway between the villages of Stratford St Andrew and Little Glemham which both lie just beyond the park boundary. The park covers c 132ha, of which c 2ha are gardens, and is divided by the A12 which runs north-east to south-west through the northern section. Farmland and woodland encircle the site on all sides, with part of the eastern boundary formed by Tinker Brook road and the southern half of the western boundary by the A12. It is set in a gently rolling rural landscape and the park itself falls from south to north as far as the A12 and then rises again to the boundary.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
Glemham Hall is approached from the A12, due west of the Hall, past a mid C19, single-storey red-brick lodge (listed grade II) in the Picturesque style with a heavy timber porch. The drive runs due east past the gravelled entrance court on the north front of the Hall, then turns south to enter the service area beside the east front and the early C18 detached stable block (listed grade II) which stands c 80m east of the Hall. The two-storey red-brick building has a central bell turret on the hipped roof with a clock face and wrought-iron weathervane. The west drive has been in use since 1783 when it was depicted on Hodskinson's map, and may be older than this. In the early C19 a new approach through the park from the north-east corner was created, possibly following Repton's suggestion, but this is no longer in use and has been reduced to the status of a farm track. Two further farm tracks now run from the Hall, directly to the eastern boundary, and south to the lych gate beside the church.
Glemham Hall (listed grade I) is a large, red-brick, pitched-roofed mansion with an early Georgian facade, behind which lies a largely C16 structure. The north front is of three storeys, with a seven-bay centre and two-bay projecting wings. Either side of the central porch are Tuscan pilasters. The south, garden front displays more of its Elizabethan origins in its brickwork, straight gables, and large mullioned windows. Attached to the south-east corner is a range of single-storey service buildings, including a brewhouse, bath-house, and gardener's sheds, all added in the early C18. The original late C16 Hall was built under the direction of Sir Henry Glemham and was extensively remodelled in the early C18 by Dudley North, again without the aid of an architect. Few changes have been made since that time.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The gardens at Glemham Hall lie to the south and west and cover c 2ha. The central north/south walk which continues the line of the lime avenue out in the park, is lined by rows of mature clipped yew topiary and leads to a semicircular lawn bounded by a low curved brick wall which marks the edge of the park. To the west of the walk is a late C19 enclosed formal rose garden and grass tennis lawn, bounded on the east by a hedge and on the north, west, and south by high brick walls. A raised terrace walk runs inside the west and south walls, leading to a mid C20 covered loggia at the junction of the two. To the east of the central walk the walled compartment is divided east/west by a massive yew topiary hedge which is probably the oldest feature in the gardens. To the north is an herbaceous autumn garden cut through with grass cross-walks and the remains of hotbeds on the north and east walls. South of the yew hedge is the kitchen garden area (see below).
The walls (listed grade II) surrounding the ornamental gardens mainly date from the early C18 when the major work on the Hall was undertaken. There is a suggestion however that the western wall may be of C16 origins (Williamson nd).
Beyond the western wall is the ha-ha (listed grade II) and between this and the wall is an area of densely planted yew. To the north of this, facing the west front of the Hall, beyond the lawn and ha-ha is a newly developed (late C20) wild garden.
The park at Glemham surrounds the Hall which sits just to the south of its centre. All the land to the south of the A12 is laid to pasture (1999), that to the north being ploughed. The park contains a good scatter of trees, as individuals, clumps, and woodland blocks and is dominated by some fine mature oaks, some of which are pollarded. Many appear to be former hedgerow trees. The southern areas of the park have only a few other species represented but in the north the planting is more varied, with limes of various dates and horse chestnut. The old northern avenue which was lost has been replaced by a mid C20 avenue of horse chestnut and remnants of the old lime avenue survive west of the Hall. To the east the landscape is more open with few trees, these more widely scattered.
The main feature of the park is the early C17 southern lime avenue which is aligned on the south front of the Hall, the vista extending into the garden as a row of large yew. There has been a deer park at Glemham since medieval times and the present park has changed little in extent since the mid C18, save for the treatment of the area to the north of the road to give a park-like appearance at the suggestion of Humphry Repton. At the same time Repton recommended that the public road not be diverted but be retained in the park so that the occasional passing carriage might add 'to the character of cheerfulness' (Red Book). Tree belts surround much of the park and most of these, particularly along the south and east boundaries, date from the early C19 and stand in positions proposed in Repton's Red Book. The lake which Repton suggested be placed to the north-east of the Hall however was not dug.
The walled kitchen gardens form part of the ornamental garden enclosures to the south of the Hall. The southern half of the eastern enclosure is presently (1999) used as a kitchen garden and contains the remains of hotbeds, part of an orchard, and a new conifer nursery, fenced for game rearing. Beyond the wall to the east is a further small area of orchard. The past division of the enclosures into ornamental and practical areas is not recorded in detail but the existence of a former vinery hotbed on the north wall and the remains of glasshouses beside it suggest this compartment traditionally contained the productive ground.
Humphry Repton, Red Book for Glemham Hall, 1791, reproduced in The Red Books for Brandsbury and Glemham Hall, (Dumbarton Oaks 1994)
W White, Suffolk Directory (1844), p 163
Country Life, 27 (1 January 1910), pp 18-26
J Kenworthy-Brown et al, Burke's and Savills Guide to Country Houses Volume III, East Anglia, (1981), p 236
N Pevsner and E Radcliffe, The Buildings of England: Suffolk (1991), pp 336-7
Debrett Ancestry Research Ltd, The History of Glemham Hall, Little Glemham Suffolk (1998)
T Williamson, Little Glemham Hall, (nd UEA report) [copy on EH file]
Draught of Glemham Hall and Park, 1726 (East Suffolk Record Office)
E Bowen, A Map of the County of Suffolk, 1750 (East Suffolk Record Office)
Thomas Barker, Map of Little Glemham Park, 1771 (East Suffolk Record Office)
J Hodskinson, The County of Suffolk, 1783 (East Suffolk Record Office)
Map of Little Glemham estate, 1816 (East Suffolk Record Office)
Tithe map for Little Glemham parish, 1842 (P461/113), (East Suffolk Record Office)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1884
2nd edition published 1905
3rd edition published 1945
OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1904
Painting of Glemham Hall, c 1700 (private collection)
Many of the North family papers are held in the East Suffolk Record Office
Description written: March 1999
Amended: May 2000
Register Inspector: EMP
Edited: October 2003