Pictures of buildings mentioned in the “Suffolk” volume of “The Buildings of England” series by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner.  Tudor  Gild Hall

After describing the church Pevsner says of Fressingfield:

“Immediately S of the church the former Guild House, now Fox and Goose Inn.” 

A list of Suffolk Gilds in the Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History shows St Margaret’s Gild in Fressingfield.  The Historical Atlas of Suffolk noting that the social activities of gilds were often held inside churches said “but popular opinion steadily moved against this and special gildhalls were built, sometimes a single hall being used by more than one gild.  Fressingfield gildhall (still noted for its good food) must have been one of the later ones, having been established in the last years of Henry VII’s reign.  Its setting up was designed specifically to remove all ‘church ales, gilds, yeardays, buryings and other drinkings’ from the church”.

The Fox and Goose remains one of the best restaurants in Suffolk although somewhat understated compared to the hype surrounding some others.  Their twitter account isn’t even listed on the web-site (@Foxygossip). Lunch in the bar or dinner in the upstairs dining room is always a great pleasure given that Paul Yaxley’s food is matched by the wonderful historic surroundings.  A plaque inside suggests it was built in 1509 and it celebrated its 500 year anniversary in 2009.

For more on Suffolk Gilds see the Gilds page  and the .pdf list associated with the Morley reference.

Here is the view from the road side:

Pevsner continues, “Handsome, timber framed , brick nogged front to the churchyard.”  Seen here:

“Corner post with figure of St Margaret. “  Remembering that it was St Margaret’s Gild - seen here:

“W of the church Church Farm.  Its stables are a C15 hall-house.  What remains seems to be the two bays of a hall, spanned by an open truss.  The roof construction is interesting: it is essentially an aisled structure raised up on to tie beams” (this is asterisked to a reference to an illustration in Smith, Medieval Roofs, Archaeological Journal, CXV, p122).  I have still not been able to locate this farm.

“N of the Church the Vicarage, Georgian, of five bays and two storeys, and a little to its SE the Baptist Church of 1835, red brick, with a roof of most surprising geometry.”

Here is the elegant vicarage seen from the churchyard:

The Baptist church is seen here:

and from the side here:

Outside the main village, Pevsner continues “Ufford Hall, 2m SSE.  The house where Archbishop Sancroft lived from 1690 to his death.  C17, but must be earlier than 1691, the date attributed to it. Timber framed and plastered, with mullioned and transomed windows.”  Ufford Hall gets considerable mention in Sandon’s Suffolk Houses including a lovely line drawing on p176.  Sandon also notes a misplaced reference to 1691 in the ‘statutory list’.  An assumption is made that the Hall dates from early C16. It is obscured by trees and not visible from any of the roads surrounding it.  A footpath goes very close but I have not ventured there.  Instead, here is a copy of a picture from an estate agent’s brochure.  If a copyright holder wants the image removed let me know.  It looks rather better kept now than the photograph in Sandon:

Sandon notes that the manor of Ufford is named after Robert de Ufford, who was lord also of Ufford, near Woodbridge and refers to Copinger’s Manors of Suffolk, Vol IV wherein details of Fressingfield parish are to be found from pages 34 - 41 including five other manors as well as Ufford Hall.  The section on the manor of Ufford Hall describes the evolution from Edward I’s time including the Uffords and Sancrofts. Dr William Sancroft was Archbishop of Canterbury and was born there, resided there and “he was interred in the chantry and under a handsome monument”.  There is no other mention of a chantry in the manor, though.

Pevsner concludes with “Whittingham Hall, 1.5 miles NE.  What remains is a fine out-building of the former Hall, red brick, wide, two-storeyed, with two projecting wings ending in shaped gables.  A tablet with the date 1653 over the porch.”  I have still not made it to this remote outpost despite trying but think it not visible from the road or footpath.

Finally, anyone interested in the history of Fressingfield might want to note that there is a book called The Bohun of Fressingfield Cartulary edited by Bridget Wells-Furby and published by Boydell and Brewer

Return to Index