An A - Z of Suffolk gildhalls

O - Z

click here for A-D; E-G; H-N 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.


The Suffolk Record Office at Bury St Edmunds has a document on the index as Deeds of Guildhall/Workhouse in Pakenham, dated 1477 - 1825 (Ref: FL614/11/3/1).   These are referred to on the village web-site.  On another page, reference is made to a row of Charity Cottages: “these cottages were built in 1647 and were previously known as The Workhouse, before that the Guildhall”.  So, too late to be the original gildhall, but probably on the site and probably with some reuse of materials.  They are on the opposite side of the road to the church.


Pevsner describes the Greyhound Inn as “formerly perhaps the Church House”.  There is absolutely no evidence that it was a gildhall, nor is there any evidence of any gild in Pettistree.  But we know that many gilds disappeared and were never recorded.  In common with many Suffolk gildhalls, the Inn backs on to the churchyard as can be seen from the lower photograph below.  I would personally be surprised if it was not on the site of a former gildhall even if the present building was not used as such.

The Grade II listing has it as a possible priest’s house of C16.  So, there is only my own feeling to support its presence on these pages.  See Fressingfield for parallels.


Pevsner says: “the Guildhall has on the ground floor closely set moulded shafts with capitals.  The upper floor projects”.

The list of gilds in PSIAH makes no reference to Stoke-by-Nayland but the list of mentions in wills in a separate volume makes reference to several:  the gild of St John Baptist (x2); the gild of St Peter (x2); the gild of Holy Trinity and the gild of Our Lady.


The Historical Atlas of Suffolk makes reference to this as recently discovered.  Still to be researched.  In the PSIAH list of wills there was mention of the gild of St John in Stowlangtoft (1530)


Take a deep breath.  This is a tenuous connection but an interesting one.   This is the Old Moot Hall - even that is slightly disputed because Ye Old Moot Hall was on Market Hill by the church - but that was said by the Sudbury History Society to be built in the reign of Mary Tudor and demolished in 1828.  This one predates it and the Grade II* listing particulars note that it may have been the “Guildhall of the weavers”.  This is possible as Sudbury has a long history associated with textiles - and still has three silk weavers (although they are not medieval in origin).  One of my daughters works for one of them.  If true, this could be the only trade guildhall in Suffolk.

Of parish or religious gilds, the PSIAH list shows one in Sudbury: the gild of the Holy Ghost.


The Guildhall at Withersfield is a Grade II listed building.  The name on the gate is visible below.  It is not mentioned in Pevsner.  The PSIAH list of gilds shows a gild of St Mary Magdalene at Withersfield.


Another quite tenuous connection.  The on-line village history says that there were two gilds in Woolpit.  The gild of the Holy Trinity and the gild of Our Blessed Lady.  The PSIAH list of gilds does not mention these but the list of wills in a different place in PSIAH shows one will leaving something to the  Gild of the Trinity which is likely to be the same as the gild of the Holy Trinity.  The village history goes on to imply that there might have been two gildhalls but even if there was only one it may well have been shared.   It goes on to speculate that the building which is now Addison’s store (shown below) may have housed a gild, as might the Bell Inn.  It says of Addison’s store that  “its unusual layout has certainly led some historians to speculate that this may have been the case”.


A tenuous link still to be researched.  The Suffolk Record Office at Ipswich has reference HD2650/1/1/318/1 referring to 4 photographs including one of the old Guildhall.

The PSIAH list mentions the gild of St Trinity at Worlingworth.


Wrentham has a road called Guildhall Lane and a house called The Old Guildhall (see below).  I have found no references to any gilds.  There is a really nice photograph on the web (much better than mine) taken from the other side which is not accessible to the public.  It describes the building as C15.  It is just across the road from the church.


Nothing much to go on here apart from the Grade II* listing describing this as a former early C16 gildhall for the gild of St Thomas Martyr.

( Memo.  To be added:  the Suffolk one on Grand Designs mentioned as being in Stowmarket.  But where was it really?  I thought it was in Wyverstone but couldn’t find it)

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