Crinkle-Crankle wall west of Ardley House


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Ardley House, Lavenham Road, Great Waldingfield, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 6SF


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Statutory Address:
Ardley House, Lavenham Road, Great Waldingfield, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 6SF

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Babergh (District Authority)
Great Waldingfield
National Grid Reference:


A vernacular crinkle-crankle wall enclosing two sides of a garden, likely to have been built in the 1840s.

Reasons for Designation

The crinkle-crankle wall at Ardley House, Great Waldingfield, likely to have been built in the 1840s, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* for its method of construction, exhibiting local distinctiveness in its form, materials and craftsmanship;

* as an unusual example of a crinkle-crankle wall found in an historic farmstead.

Historic interest:

* as an indicator of the impacts of the nation’s changing economic history, through in its innovative reduction in costly but desirable building materials subject to national taxation.


The term 'crinkle-crankle' refers to a variety of sinuously curving serpentine brick walling most commonly associated with gardens. The undulating form provides structural rigidity without the need for buttresses or massed brickwork and allows the wall to be constructed with the thickness of a single brick. This helps to reduce the cost of materials and it is notable that the period in which the Brick Tax was in effect (1784-1850) coincides with a period of considerable experimentation in the production of boundary structures, including the construction of crinkle-crankle walls. The sheltered hollows created by the shape of the walls were found to provide good conditions for plant cultivation.

Walls of this type are most likely to be found in East Anglia. Examples are found less frequently elsewhere in the south and south-west of England and are rare in the north. They are often associated with Suffolk and the term 'crinkle-crankle' is believed to have originated as a Suffolk dialect term, but they may exist in similar numbers in Norfolk. Within the local area they are uncommon in a rural context.

The wall is likely to date to the 1840s. The 1838 Tithe Map shows the property boundary on which the wall stands, but the distinctive crinkle-crankle form of the wall is not indicated. A second Tithe Map of 1846 does clearly show the serpentine shape of the wall and is the first clear evidence of its existence. Alongside it was an earlier farmstead to the north and east of the wall. The 1885 ordnance survey shows the wall in its current configuration with a rebuilt farmhouse, now called Ardley House.

The wall has been altered in places, with areas of repair clearly seen in the brickwork. Buttresses have been placed at points around the west end of the wall, and where the two sections of the wall meet at the south-west corner the misaligned curve of the wall and the types of brick used suggest an historical alteration or repair.


A vernacular crinkle-crankle wall enclosing two sides of a garden, likely to have been built in the 1840s.


The wall is constructed of Suffolk red bricks laid in stretcher bond, with a double-layer of plain clay tiles laid beneath the uppermost course.


L-shaped in plan, the wall runs along two sides of a garden boundary.


The longest section of wall runs approximately west-east along ten undulating bays. A shorter section runs perpendicularly north from the west end for three bays and connects to an outbuilding.

Most of the wall stands on a plinth two bricks' wide laid in courses without a formal bond. It has an average height of six feet, rising to eight at the west end where the ground level is lower. The top of the wall is capped by a single course of stretcher-bond brick beneath which is a double-layer of plain clay tiles providing some weather protection.

The brickwork has collapsed in two bays of the long south elevation. Elsewhere the wall shows signs of past repair where replacement bricks have been used, or where cementitious mortars can be seen in contrast with the original lime pointing. The west elevation includes a recently bricked-in gateway formerly providing access to a farm track.


Historical Association article, accessed 09/07/20 from
1838 Tithe Map for the Parish of Great Waldingfield
1846 Tithe Map for the Parish of Great Waldingfield
1885 Ordnance Survey (Suffolk)
Applicant supplied sources


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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