An A - Z of Suffolk gildhalls

E - G

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


Eye




This one is in Pevsner and he says of it “early C16, two storeyed, timber-framed, and with upper oriels.  Their sills are carved with foliage and a scene with a stag; but this is all thoroughly recut.  Angle post with the Archangel Gabriel”.  As can be seen it is adjacent to the church.


The PSIAH list of gilds shows two in Eye: The gild of St Mary Virgin and the gild of Saints Peter and Paul.


It is  now a private house and was recently for sale.  The sales brochure referred to it as being in essentially the same form since 1475, which pre-dates Pevsner’s view, and notes that it was later a Grammar School.


The Grade I listing is here.  It confirms late C15 and says it is the Gildhall of St Mary.  The adjoining church is St Peter and St Paul.




Details of the corner post and the oriel window are shown below.





Framlingham


The old gildhall is No 34 Market Hill and is now shops and offices.  It is mentioned by Pevsner but not noted as a former gildhall.  He says “No 34 is half hidden by trees and more than half spoiled by alterations.It must once have had a fine front of c. 1660 - 70.  Red brick, nine bays, with three dormers with the typical semicircular and steeply triangular pediments of that date.  Parapet partly balustraded”.


What was half hidden by trees in 1960 is almost completely hidden in summer now.  But a nice sunny  day in March 2012 caught it before the new leaves came along - and it looks like the trees have been pruned back since last year.




It is Grade II* listed here.  It is really a “new” C17 building built on the site of the old gildhall of St Mary but it is likely parts of the old core remain.  The PSIAH list (downloadable from the bibliography section of the page on gilds) shows only the gild of the Virgin Mary in Framlingham and notes the gildhall was rebuilt in 1584.


The back is visible from the churchyard of St Michael’s and shown below.





Fressingfield


This is described by Pevsner as “Immediately S of the church the former Guild House, now Fox and Goose Inn.  Handsome, timber-framed, brick-nogged front to the churcgyard.  Corner post with figure of St Margaret.  Like Church Cottage at Cockfield it is a former Church House”.  The corner post is shown in more detail below.


The Grade II* listing is here, where it says it was described as newly built in Feb 1509.  It certainly celebrated its 500 year anniversary a couple of years ago.


The PSIAH list 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 VIII’s reign.  Its setting up was designed specifically to remove all ‘church ales, gilds, yeardays, buryings and other drinkings’ from the church”.


It remains one of the best restaurants in Suffolk although rather understated compared to the hype given to some others.  Lunch in the bar or dinner in the upstairs dining room is always a great pleasure given that the food is matched by the wonderful historic surroundings.










Gislingham


This house is called the Old Guldhall.  It is Grade II* listed here, where it says it dates from late C15.  The PSIAH list shows a gild of St John the Baptist at Gislingham with the earliest mention in 1490.  I have found an earlier mention in a list of wills (also PSIAH) from 1472.


It is mentioned in Pevsner where he only mentions the interior “with tie beams on arched braces and carrying kingposts”.


My recollection is that, unusually, this one is not very close to the church.




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