Rushbrooke Hall – In Colour!

Thanks to a very generous offer from Pam Thomas in response to my earlier post, I am delighted to share with you these probably unique colour images of Rushbrooke Hall in Suffolk – taken in the late 1940’s by the late Robert Parsons, when stationed in the area on military service.

Mr Parsons had a keen interest in architecture and his former home, Newark Park in Gloucestershire, is now in the hands of the National Trust.

We must be grateful for his vision in recording this wonderful house on the then very uncommon colour film.


There are areas of repair to brick pointing and some spalled bricks, but the property is generally in good condition.



This is the only image of the interior I have seen.



Presumably these curtains were black-out curtains just fitted to these rooms.

How unspeakably tragic this house was to be demolished so soon after.



St Clare from the Air


Here then is the church of St. Clare, at Bradfield St. Clare, seen in 1947. A description of the church can be found on Simon Knott’s excellent Suffok Churches site.

Not so very much appears to have changed –




Rushbrooke Hall


Rushbrooke Hall was for several hundred years it was the home of the Jermyn family. It was demolished in 1961.


This image shows it seen from the air in 1947. It is evident the roof is still on the building, but the whole forecourt area is heavily overgrown and vegetation is creeping up the walls.

The original manor house on the moated site to the south of the village of Rushbrooke is believed to have been constructed in the reign of King John. Originally named after the local landowning Rushbrooke family, between 1230 and 1703 the manor and estate was held by the Jermyn family, powerful local aristocrats, politicians and courtiers. Their name lives on in London’s Jermyn Street.

The older manor was largely demolished and remodelled in the mid-16th century by Sir Thomas Jermyn (c.1482 – 8 October 1552), and was replaced by a red brick, two storey building. completed circa 1550 in an E-shaped plan. Much of the original moat to the medieval house remained.  Major modernising alterations were made to the house in about 1735.

The moated stately home was at the centre of a large ornamental garden and a parkland estate. An ornamental canal, 114 metres long, has since been in-filled. The Jermyn family exercised considerable influence in Suffolk and Elizabeth I is recorded as having stayed at the house in 1578 and on at least one other occasion. The estate remained in the Jermyn family until the early 18th century, and eventually passed to the Rothschild family.

In 1961, in common with so many large houses across the UK, it was decided to demolish the house; shortly afterwards a fire devastated the building. For more Rushbrooke Hall, images look at the heartbreaking Lost Heritage site.

Some of the features of the house were saved and re-used in St Edmund Roman Catholic church, Bury St Edmunds, and some panelling in St Edmundsbury Council offices.

The moated site and some of the formal gardens remain, together with some vaults and areas of brick tracing some of the turrets. The site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.


What a loss…








Hastings Fishermen Fined

1602, August 17.—Order of Sir Thomas Fane and George Newman concerning the fishermen of Rye and Hastings.

“The fishermen of Rye and Hasting being presented and convicted to have offended in fyshing with netts insufficient, and of unlawfull scale, and at prohibited tymes and seasons, especially contrary to the lawes, in the night season, whereby the fysh disquieted and wanting naturall rest doe become both leane unserviceable and not so well bayted as in former tymes, are by order of this Court fyned, viz.: every boat in Rye and Hastinge shall pay for ther former default only, ten shillings, and to be further straightly charged that they offend no more as they and every of them will answer the contrary at ther uttermost perills. The rest of the forfiture are by his Lordship remitted, the fees of the offices to be payed by the offenders, only excepted.”

(Rye Town Manuscripts, 1601-10)


Black Shuck

Eyewitness reports of phantom hounds are a bit thin on the ground these days, so this is superb – Black Shuck, a spectral hound in Norfolk folklore, and said to be the inspiration to Arthur Conan Doyle for The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Leslie Goodwin explains:


More found at Shuckland. Shuck has been around for a while – here’s a 1577 report:






The Great Whelnetham Mills

Windmills – stand in front of one as it is working and it is alive, spreading its arms like a giant, creaking as they stretch themselves in the breeze. Historically there have been three windmills in Great Whelnetham. The excellent Suffolk Mills page has a gazetteer of the mills in Suffolk. There is more at the Mills Archive.

The first, Chapel Hill Mill was located just off the A134. Click on the image for more information. Demolished 1949.

West Mill – seems unclear when it went – source opinions vary but the remnants lingered into the 1950s.



Tutelina Mill, also known as Clarke’s Mill is found opposite Tutelina Road, and was recently offered for sale [pdf] with the intent of rescue and conversion, probably for non-residential use.