Melford Hall, Long Melford

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are major building remains

NameMelford Hall, Long Melford
Alternative Names
Historic CountrySuffolk
Modern AuthoritySuffolk
1974 AuthoritySuffolk
Civil ParishLong Melford

VCH record of a 'moated enclosure with stronger defensive works (Class G)'. Melford Hall, 3 miles north from Sudbury, occupies the site of a former residence of the abbots of Bury within a very large quadrangular moat; the latter is imperfect, but on the northern side, within the moat, is an earthen bank of considerable width. (VCH)

Moated house constructed in 1559 with 18th and 19th century additions. Field investigations in 1980 found the moat to be rectangular in plan, measuring 270 metres north-south by 160 metres east-west. The east arm had been filled but was traced as a shallow depression at its northern end. The north arm was dry, 18 metres wide and 2.3 metres deep, with a large inner retaining bank 1 metre high. The west arm was 7 metres wide and water-filled. The south arm measured 10 metres wide and had an outer retaining bank 1.5 metres high. It was waterfilled by a small stream, the Chad Brook. An estate map of 1630 shows the house completely moated. (PastScape)

A fine red brick moated mansion standing in a park of about 132 acres. It was built in 1559 by William Cordell, Solicitor General and Master of the Rolls. Queen Elizabeth I visited the house in 1578 and during the wars of the Commonwealth, when it was owned by the Countess of Rivers it was extensively sacked. Considerable work was done during the C18 and later (1813). It is at present owned by Sir William Hyde-Parker. The house is built on 3 sides of a courtyard open to the east. (A plan by John Thorpe at the Soane Museum shows it with an enclosed courtyard). The west front has 3 storeyed outer blocks with towers on the inner corners and a 3-storeyed centre block, built as if it was a gatehouse flanked by smaller towers. The spaces between the towers were originally recessed but were built out with 2 storeyed blocks in 1813. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Despite the VCH record of this being a residence of the abbots of Bury PastScape records that in 1980 'The occupier, who was the previous owner, stated the house to be built on a virgin site in the 16th century. An estate map of 1630, kept at the hall, shows the house completely moated with a gate house at TL 86724618. (Field Investigators Comments-F1 GJM 10-JAN-80)' The location, on the edge of Long Melford, is more in line with that of a medieval estate than a Tudor one although such location evidence is far from definitive. This does seem to have been a manor of the abbey of Bury but was it the site of an abbots residence?

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTL866461
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  • Cooper, Nicholas, 1999, Houses of the Gentry, 1480-1680 (Yale University Press) p. 268-9, 323
  • Wall, 1911, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Suffolk Vol. 1 p. 621 online copy
  • Copinger, W.A., 1905, Manors of Suffolk Vol. 1 p. 131- (tenurial history) online copy


  • Hyde Parker, Richard, and Adshead, David, 1992, 'Long Melford Hall' Archaeological Journal p. 43-5
  • Oswald, Arthur, 1937 July 31 and Aug 07, 'Melford Hall, Suffolk' Country Life p. 142-7
  • Tymms, S., 1859, 'Melford Hall' Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History Vol. 2 p. 50-59 online copy