Monument record SEC 002 - South Elmham Hall

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South Elmham Hall on site of Bishop's palace, chapel (remains of) and moat; a quarter of the moated site is in S Elmham St Margaret parish (S1). Scheduled.


Grid reference Centred TM 307 832 (186m by 192m)
Map sheet TM38SW


Type and Period (5)

Full Description

South Elmham Hall on site of Bishop's palace, chapel (remains of) and moat all marked on 1:10560 OS map ; a quarter of the moated site is in S Elmham St Margaret parish (S1).
The large quadrangular moat encloses about 3 acres, the ditch being about 10m wide. The parish boundary runs through the E entrance, which is flanked by two small stubs of masonry. A depression running towards the house from the N side suggests that there might also have been an entrance there. A massive flint and mortar wall is incorporated into the N side of some farm buildings and the S side of a barn in the NE quarter of the site. Against the W side of the moat and close to another bridge is a ruined building called the 'Chapel' though this is not very likely - it may have been some form of secondary lodging, C13-C14 core remodelled in C16. The present Hall contains the mortared flint core of the original palace, with stonework not earlier than C13 in the form of door arches and window mouldings. There is evidence of original windows at the N and S ends and fragments of wall paintings high up on the inside of the N wall. Some of the door arches may have been moved and some may be copies in plaster. The house was extensively remodelled, possibly from a ruinous state, in C16 by Lord North. A W wing was added to the building and brick and timber extensions were added to the N and S walls of the flint building. The side walls suggest extensive patching with brick and a new, lower, roof was added (S2). Suckling refers to the palace as a vast quadrangular mansion entered through a lofty gateway tower, the remains of which were almost entire in the latter part of C17 (S3).
South Elmham was part of the estate of William, Bishop of Thetford, at Domesday. Bishop Walter Suffield (1244-1257) is said to have resorted to Elmham for hunting ; Bishop Roger Skerning died at his manor house of South Elmham in 1278; Bishop William Bateman (1344-1355) is said to have been much attached to Elmham - his brother Sir Bartholomew lived at Flixton; Bishop Henry Despenser (1370-1406) had a licence to crenellate his manor house here in 1387 [note: this appears to be at North Elmham, Norfolk, not S. Elmham - S9]. In 1540 the property was granted to Lord North (S4).
January 1998: Scheduled (together with SEM 023). For fuller description and details see (S4).
January 1998: For survey details see (S5).
Large circular flint core found loose in garden of hall in 2001. Probably Neo in date (S6).
Monitoring of works to adapt and renovate barn for use as a visitor centre. Ground lowering revealed only 19th century fill layers. Small drain trenches were cut through levels which were potentially pre-reformation but no finds were recovered or any clean undisturbed subsoil was encountered (S7).
2006: Monitoring of ground works failed to reveal any archaeological features. Building recording of the barns identified medieval flint and mortar walls (S8).

Features visible on Lidar. See associated files.

Sources/Archives (11)

  • <S1> (No record type): OS, map 1:10560, undated.
  • <M1> (No record type): AP: BHQ 45, 15/12/71.
  • <S2> (No record type): SAU (Martin E), 4 April 1986.
  • <M2> Scheduling record: English Heritage. Scheduled Ancient Monument file. SAM file: (S4).
  • <S3> (No record type): Suckling Reverend A, History and Antiquities of Suffolk, 1846,.
  • <S4> Scheduling record: English Heritage. Scheduled Ancient Monument file. English Heritage, Scheduling information.
  • <S5> Unpublished document: Survey. Bannister N R, South Elmham Hall: Historic Landscape Survey, January 1998, ill.
  • <S6> Finds Report: Plouviez, J.. 1995. SCCAS Finds Record:. Martin, E., SCCAS. 30/08/2001.
  • <S7> Unpublished document: Suffolk County Council Archaeologcial Service. Site Report. Carr, R., SCCAS. 13/09/2000.
  • <S8> Unpublished document: SB. 2006. Biulding recording & Mon report. Batemans Barn, South Elmham Hall, Southern Elmham St Cross.
  • <S9> Bibliographic reference: Email. Philip Davis, email to SCCAS (Sandy Rake), 16 November 2009.

Finds (1)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (5)

Record last edited

Sep 24 2020 10:47AM

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