Monument record BSE 024 - Moyses Hall, 41/41A Cornhill

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The monument includes a late 12th century merchants house of the first floor hall and solar type. It was built circa 1180 from flint with stone dressings under tile roofs. The building has been used for a variety of purposes including an inn, a Bridewell, a prison and a police station; now a museum. It was considerably restored and altered in 1858. Listed Grade I.


Grid reference Centred TL 85302 64377 (20m by 32m)
Map sheet TL86SE


Type and Period (10)

Full Description

Moyse's Hall, circa 1180 (now used as a museum).
When Moyse's Hall was originally scheduled (Suffolk 36), the extension was still part of a shop and none of its interesting features were visible. Its walls are of flint and its fine timber roof has been dated by C A Hewett to the C14. On the ground floor are three wide brick arches, one in the Norman part of the hall, one in the extension and one linking the two sections. These arches have been dated by the Brick Society to the early C16. Windows were later inserted in the Elizabethan period. There can be no doubt that the extension was built in the Middle Ages to form an integral part of Moyse's Hall and that it remained so until comparatively recent times.
Moyse's Hall is one of a select group of surviving C12 stone-built houses (compare those at Norwich and Lincoln) and the extension is now an integral part of it. The extension has been well restored. Sight of a complex crown-post unimpeded by later ceiling etc, is a rarity (S1).
November 1997: Descheduled (S1).
May 2000: Record number sf6724 accidentally deleted - new replacement number sf18894 designated.
March 2001: Monitoring carried out during construction and refurbishment work at Moyses Hall Museum. Footing trenches excavated next to Brentgovel Street uncovered a medieval ditch (c.12th-14th century) which was aligned north-south. Two pits are thought to be post-medieval and two brick lined cellars were also exposed. A range of finds, mostly of pottery, were made from within the Museum and these were catalogued with the Monitoring Report (S3).

From NHRE record:

Moyse's Hall, now the Borough Museum, was a Norman dwelling house of 'first floor hall-and-solar' type, and a third apartment may have once existed. The house was built c. 1180 of flint with ashlar dressings. The two S. buttresses and the string courses are original, but not the gables. Only the S. and W. walls are entirely Norman, the rest are Tudor or of the 19th c. The E. wall was rebuilt when the road was widened. A drastic restoration took place in 1858, and the pseudo-Norman ground floor windows were then inserted. Moyse's Hall is said to have been a Jew's House or Hall or a Synagogue, but more probably it was connected with St. Edmunds Abbey to house scholars and sometimes used as a hostelry for pilgrims, (S4-S6)

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <M1> Scheduling record: English Heritage. Scheduled Ancient Monument file. (S1).
  • <R1> Index: OS. OS Card. OS, card TL86SE31.
  • <S1> Unpublished document: English Heritage. DOE Scheduling informaton.
  • <M2> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file. (S3).
  • <S2> Bibliographic reference: Miscellaneous Bibliographic reference. Edwards Paul, Suff Pres Soc Survey, Table of Results, 1991.
  • <S3> Unpublished document: Tester, A. and Anderson, S.. 2002. Archaeological Monitoring Report, 41 and 41A Cornhill (Moyses Hall).
  • <S4> Article in serial: Margaret Wood, M.A.. 1935. Norman Domestic Architecture.
  • <S5> Digital archive: Historic England. National Record Of the Historic Environment.
  • <S5> Article in serial: 1952. Obituary of Professor Alexander Hamilton Thompson.

Finds (14)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Mar 11 2021 11:05AM

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