An A - Z of Suffolk gildhalls

H - N

click here for A-D; E-G; O-Z or use next page at bottom


The origins of gilds and why they built halls is explained on another page.  This is an overview of all the gildhalls I know in Suffolk.  By no means all are listed by Pevsner.


Described by Pevsner as “to the S of the churchyard.  Timber-framed.  Of two parts, both C!%.  The centre is of three storeys, with two overhangs.  On the ground floor the characteristic thin buttress posts.  To the left of this the Long Room, the former guildhall proper.  It is on the first floor.  The ground floor was originally almshouses”.

The PSIAH list (downloadable from the gilds page, bibliography section)shows five gilds in Hadleigh: The gild of Holy Trinity; the gild of Corpus Christi; the gild of St John; the gild of the Holy Name of Jesus and the gild of Our Lady.

The Grade I listing description is here.

There was an article entitled “Hadleigh Guildhall and Town” by J Bloomfield and P Northeast dated 8th September 1985 in PSIAH but I have not seen it.


I have a very tenuous link that suggests there amy be the remains of a gildhall.  Still to be researched.


This house is immediately outside the gates to the church in a fairly widespread village.  The handwritten board in the lower photograph shows it is also now called the Old Guildhall.  It is mentioned in brackets in Pevsner, meaning it was not in the original edition.  It was reported by P G M Dickinson and simply notes: “Former Guildhall, c1500, adjoining church yard gate”.

The Historical Atlas of Suffolk (p74) notes that: “In addition, former gildhalls or their sites are occasionally rediscovered by documentary and architectural research, as happened recently at Hitcham and ...”.


Another tenuous link still to be researched.


Listed by Pevsner who notes it is 200 yds SW of the church) and “Of c1500.  Timber-framed with an oversailing first floor; much restored. (Fine upper open roof with moulded kingpost trusses. DOE)”.  The latter part in brackets would have been added after the first edition.

The PSIAH list of gilds shows a gild of St John Baptist at Kelsale.

There is an article on Kelsale Guildhall (with Appendix, Extent of the Manor of Kelsale) by C G Holland in the 1967 bound volume of PSIAH, pp 129 - 148, at the Suffolk Record Office.


If you search for Guildhall in Suffolk this is the one you are most likely to get top of the list.  It is the only one in the care of the National Trust.

Pevsner notes that Market Place is dominated by it and goes on to say: “the Guildhall of the guild of Corpus Christi, built shortly after the foundation of the guild in 1529.  It has a splendid porch, varied and diversely decorated.  Very ornate, with carved angle-posts, carved spandrels, carved friezes and an overhang.  Oriels on the ground floor, especially fine that towards Lady Street.   At the corner of Lady Street, carved angle-post with a figure with a lance.  The main hall fills the front from the porch to the r.  To the l. and projecting at the back two rooms, one behind the other”.

There is an article in the 1891 volume of PSIAH in the Suffolk Record Office by J S Corder titled “The Guild Hall of Corpus Christi, Lavenham”.  In this he says that the effigy on the angle-post at the corner of Lady Street is of John de Vere, 15th earl of Oxford, who was the founder of the gild of Corpus Christi.  There is also a very brief note about restoration in the 1915 volume.

The PSIAH list of gilds shows three in Lavenham. The gild of St Peter and the gild of Holy Trinity as well as the gild of Corpus Christi.  The list of wills in another PSIAH show even more: it has the gild of St Peter and St Paul (1502), Trinity gild (1494), gild of the Holy Trinity  (1472), gild of Corpus Christi (1477), gild of St Paul (1503) and the gild of St Nicholas.  We can assume some duplication and name variations here but a total exceeding three.


Another magnificent gildhall, across the road from the church.  Listed in Pevsner: “a pretty timber-framed building with brick-nogging, to the S of the church, at the main corner of the village.  Six bays wide”.

The Grade II* listing says it is c1520.

Monks Eleigh?

Still to be researched but it was for sale recently:

And is listed here.

Monk Soham?

Still to be researched but a long-shot.  Nothing listed as such.

Needham Market

This is a near-miss.  Listed by Pevsner he says: “The former Grammar School, timber-framed, built in 1632 by Sir Francis Theobald of Barking Hall with materials from the Needham Market Guildhall”.

The PSIAH list of gilds shows Needham Market had three:  gild of St John Baptist; gild of St Thomas and the gild of the Holy Trinity.  A list of wills also in PSIAH, has the gild of St Margaret as well.

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