Monument record STN 017 - (Santon) Downham Hall

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Site of (Santon) Downham Hall, including extant Listed icehouse.


Grid reference Centred TL 8117 8769 (86m by 80m) (Centred on)
Map sheet TL88NW


Type and Period (6)

Full Description

Site of (Santon) Downham Hall. Only part now surviving is former billiard room although converted coach house and tack room to W of former Hall also remain. The high walls from the gardens to the east are also relatively undamaged (S1).
Remains of ha-ha also still visible to N.

The former ice-house survives, as a Listed Building, in excellent condition, SW of the billiard room. (S8) Grade II listed Early to mid Cl9. Gault brick with red brick dressings and flint splay walls, Apparently spherical icehouse, part filled with rubble, with short turned entrance above ground level to north. Entrance to south: rectangular gault brick face containing red brick arch, flint cobble splays to each side with brick dressings Brick tunnel , with ramp leading to level surface. Triangular headed openings to well. Icehouse to former Hall, demolished (S9).

The House is described as a 7-bay brick house of circa 1800 with projecting porch and a higher (three floor) 3-bay centre with a shallow bow to the rear garden. House shown on Hodskinson's 1783 map (S4) & estate map of 1791 (S5). Lewis Vulliamy made alterations to house for Lord William Paulet in 1836 (probably new porch, staircase and apses in dining room) (S2).
Built, or more probably Georgianised, by first Earl Cadogan it was later owned by Lord William Paulet and the Duchess of Cleveland in middle of C19 until sold to Mackenzie family. Colonel E P Mackenzie sold the Hall and the entire estate in 1917.See house plans in Parish file.
By 1923 house in poor repair and was demolished by Forestry Commission (S3).
Main hall site sold as building plots circa 1982 and now partially built on.
Note: the hall is likely to be the same as that recorded by Thomas Wright(the owner) in his 1668 account of the 'sand flood' at Downham (S6). He is recorded as having 12 hearths at Downham in 1674. His great-grandson, Thomas Wright of Downham Hall & King's House, Thetford, died in 1777 when the estate of 3,134 acres, in two farms, was offered for sale. It was purchased by Cadogan in 1778.
See details in Lost Country Houses of Suffolk by WM Roberts.

Circa 1982: monitored excavation of footing for new kitchen/garage to W of the Old Billiard Room identified a run of small brick made water drains, presumably from kitchens and main structure to NE, going diagonally under the new garage area and leading into, and flushing, 2 brick built toilet chambers and beyond to presumed cesspits further to the SE (and to E or NE of the icehouse)(see plan in parish file). Various finds including Mackenzie family crested porcelain were recovered from the infill of the toilet chambers (in store). A few other architectural fragments, including off white terracotta in Neo-classical form (18th century?), were found in residual contexts in soil clearance beside the old Billiard Room.

July 2017. 'Brecks from Above' and Breckland National Mapping Programme.
A curvilinear bank, which probably equates to the post medieval ha-ha mentioned above, has been mapped and recorded as STN 147.
S. Tremlett (Norfolk Historic Environment Service), 19th July 2017.

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <M1> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file. Parish file: house plans and photographs of front & rear - photocopies..
  • <S1> (No record type): Fitch J, The Church in the Forest, 1975.
  • <S2> (No record type): Kenwothy-Browne, J.. Kenworthy-Brown J et al, Burkes and Savills Guide to Country Houses, 3, 1981, 228 (ill).
  • <S3> (No record type): Carpenter A et al, Brandon & Santon Downham in Times Past, Chorley, undated.
  • <S4> (No record type): Hodskinson J, The County of Suffolk 1783, Suff Rec Soc, 15, 1972, map 1.
  • <S5> (No record type): Map of Estate of Lord Cadogan, 1791, Suff Rec Off (Bury).
  • <S6> Bibliographic reference: Miscellaneous Bibliographic reference. Wright T, Philosophical Transactions, 1668.
  • <S7> Bibliographic reference: Roberts, W.M.. 2010. Lost Country Houses Of Suffolk.
  • <S8> Monograph: Beamon, S. P. and Roaf, S.. 1990. The Ice-Houses of Britain. p. 400.
  • <S9> Digital archive: English Heritage. Listed Buildings Online. National Ref: 1248709.

Finds (1)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

May 9 2018 9:22AM

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