Building record ONS 015 - Bury Lodge

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16th century farmhouse converted into tenements in the 19th century.


Grid reference Centred TM 0142 5882 (14m by 11m)
Map sheet TM05NW


Type and Period (2)

Full Description

The 19th century external appearance of Bury Lodge offers no clue to the Elizabethan origins of its interior. While many of Suffolk’s medieval and Tudor timber-framed houses have been extensively altered over the centuries, few can boast such comprehensive disguises as this. When first constructed around 1580 it formed a typical farmhouse of its period that would have been appropriate to an affluent farmer of the middle rank with perhaps fifty or sixty acres of land (a substantial holding at the time, but slightly short of the hundred acres necessary to achieve ‘Yeoman’ status). The new house, which might well represent a reconstruction of a medieval property on the same site, was floored throughout in the fashion of the day and contained a central hall-come-kitchen flanked to its left by storage rooms and to its right by a parlour. The hall and parlour were divided by a large chimney that contained back-to-back fireplaces heating both rooms, but the windows lacked glass and were closed by internal shutters. The upper storey was open to the roof in the manner of a barn and operated largely as a storage area. Among the most historically interesting aspects of the building is the greater use of expensive oak in the ground-floor parlour, where the wall timbers were more closely spaced than elsewhere in the structure in order to demonstrate the higher status of the room (which served as both principal bedroom and private sitting room). The Elizabethan house probably survived largely intact until the 19th century, when dramatic alterations occurred. The original chimney was entirely removed and the central hall largely filled by a massive replacement that contained no fewer than six fireplaces together with pairs of bread ovens and coppers for the twin tenements into which the building was converted. The roof was also replaced, along with many of the wall timbers, and the internal partitions were taken out. The present chimney preserves both bread ovens, and is one of the most impressive examples of its type in the region. The remodelling was expensive in both space and money, and was designed to create an imposing external appearance of which its owner could be proud, rather than to maximise the living area available to his tenants (it is understood to have been commissioned by the owner of Great Finborough Hall and park across the valley, whose views would have been improved accordingly, and the building is marked as a lodge on the Ordance Suvrey of 1890) (S1).

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Alston, L.. 2006. Historical Survey:.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Oct 2 2019 1:49PM

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