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White Hall

A Grade II Listed Building in Great Waldingfield, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.0514 / 52°3'5"N

Longitude: 0.774 / 0°46'26"E

OS Eastings: 590302

OS Northings: 242859

OS Grid: TL903428

Mapcode National: GBR RJQ.BJ7

Mapcode Global: VHKF4.CPJQ

Plus Code: 9F423Q2F+HJ

Entry Name: White Hall

Listing Date: 13 July 2018

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1457342

Location: Great Waldingfield, Babergh, Suffolk, CO10

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Chilton

Built-Up Area: Great Waldingfield

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk


Timber framed house of around 1600, encased in brick in the mid-C19, with early C20 and C21 extensions.


Timber framed house of around 1600, encased in brick in the mid-C19, with early C20 and C21 extensions.

MATERIALS: timber frame encased in local gault brick laid in Flemish bond, painted white, and a roof covering of red clay tiles re-laid in the early C21 reusing some older tiles. The early C20 north-east wing is covered in pebbledash, painted white.

PLAN: L-shaped plan consisting of a main range dating to c1600 aligned east-west with a rear lean-to, an early C20 extension forming the short north-west wing and an early C21 extension to the east.

EXTERIOR: the two-storey house has a brick plinth and a steeply pitched roof, hipped at the west end, with gault brick chimney stacks passing through the ridge of the main range (one is truncated) and a tall red brick stack in the east wall of the north-east wing. The principal south-facing elevation is three irregular window bays wide with a central gabled open porch, added in 1950, which has a semicircular opening of tiles laid on edge supported by brick pillars. The four-panel door, of recent date, is flanked by four-light timber casements, also of recent date. The window in the first bay along with the first-floor windows in all three bays are mid-C19 two-over-two pane horned sashes with carved stone lintels resting on corbels. The first-floor windows are gabled dormers. Adjoining the east gable end is a lower one-and-a-half storey projection, followed by a single-storey early C21 brick extension, both with steeply pitched roofs and timber casement windows of recent date.

The rear (north) elevation has, from the left, a small brick boiler house, built in the early C20, at the north-east corner. This is followed by the one-and-a-half storey projection under a catslide roof which continues as a single-pitch roof over a long lean-to lit by small timber casements. The first floor above the lean-to is lit by small horizontal timber casements. There is a box-like projection in the angle of the two wings which was present in the C19 and may have originated as a stair turret. The wide gabled north-west wing has a prominent moulded timber band at ground-floor lintel level and is lit by four two-light timber casements with square leaded lights, and above by three-light casements in the same style. The recessed plank and batten door is situated in the short gabled cross-wing which is lit on the west side by a three-light casement and a two-light casement above. Following this, the two recessed bays of the west elevation are lit by two two-light casements on each floor.
INTERIOR: the timber frame is partially exposed and it is likely that more exists beneath later plaster. It is possible to identify five bays in the timber structure: the first and second bays forming single-bay rooms, the third and fourth forming a two-bay ‘hall’, and the narrow fifth bay that formerly housed the chimney. On the ground floor a substantial chamfered bridging beam runs the length of the first four bays, which also retain axial joists. These are supported by principal posts in the first, fourth and fifth bay divisions with those in the first bay division strengthened by knee braces (added at a later date). Those in the third bay division are jowled. The south-west corner post is exposed, as is the first-floor sill beam in the first, third and fourth bays. In the fourth bay, the original timbers and intact wattle-and-daub on the northern wall were exposed during building works. The studs are weathered, having been exposed initially, and in places the daub retains a thin layer of lime plaster that is also original. In the fifth bay, the wall frame between the south room and the lean-to retains the pegged sill of a blocked window on the left. The sill has been truncated by the later door jamb and the window’s original length is unclear. This bay is smoke-stained in the roof and the rafters are cut for a large chimney that must have contained back-to-back fireplaces. The post between the present doors marks the corner of the surviving two-storey early C17 structure.
On the first floor the wall plate is exposed along the east side, the south side except for in the first bay, and in the fourth and fifth bays on the north side. There are at least two exposed original edge-halved and bridled scarf joints with two diagonal pegs to each tenon. This joint is typical of the C16 but was quickly superseded after c1600. The tie beams in the most of the bay divisions are supported by principal posts, mostly jowled. The jowls in the third bay division are carved with a double ovolo moulding. These first appeared in the 1580s and 1590s but became the norm during the first half of the C17. It is, however, unusual to find first-floor chambers with higher quality decoration than their counterparts on the ground floor. There is a chamfered bridging beam in the second bay, and the corner posts in the north-east and south-east corners survive. In the northern wall of the third bay, the horizontal projection just below the rafters is the original moulded sill of a window.

The clasped-purlin roof structure points to an origin around 1600 and is unusual in having lacked wind-braces from the outset. It is almost completely intact apart from its westernmost bay which was largely rebuilt in softwood when the adjoining structure was demolished in the 1960s or 1970s. The roof-plates contain edge-halved and bridled scarf joints with double-pegged tenons in the C16 manner that was quickly superseded by face-halved joints at the beginning of the C17. An original partition of studwork and wattle-and-daub survives between the second and third bays. Although there is no evidence to suggest the attic rooms have ever been occupied (ie. there is no plaster or paint on the timbers), the narrow access to the right is an original feature as its jambs lack notches to secure wattle-and-daub. The studs are lapped and nailed to the collar, as often found in roof spaces even in the C16 century, and bear a number of ‘taper’ burns that are likely to be apotropaic rather than practical in nature.

The early C20 north-west extension consists of an entrance hall and large reception room in a sympathetic vernacular style with good quality joinery. The hall has a floor of geometric tiles, joists, and an eight-panel door with moulded and chamfered panels which provide access to the reception room. This is also accessed from the older part of the house through a wide timber framed opening with a chamfered beam and posts with knee braces. The room has a bridging beam, joists, and a substantial chamfered axial joist supported by principal posts carved with a torus moulding. These have been re-used from another late C16 century house (possibly salvaged from White hall) and painted with imitation grain. There is a picture rail and floorboards, and the window frames and sills are of walnut with ornate ironmongery. The large chimneypiece has a four-centred arch stone opening with carved spandrels and a wooden surround embellished with fluted square pilasters supporting an entablature, a six-panel frieze and a mantelshelf resting on carved brackets.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: a small octagonal garden building to the north of the house, shown on the 1886 OS map, is constructed of gault brick interspersed with red brick. It has a red clay tile roof covering with stone coping along the verges. In one of the faces is a pointed arch door of vertical wooden planks with strap hinges.

Whilst the garden walls and remains of the greenhouse do not survive with the requisite degree of survival to be included in the listing, they nevertheless provide evidence of the historic layout of the gardens at White Hall.


White Hall dates to around 1600 when rural East Anglia was enjoying an economic boom due to rapid population growth and consequent price rises when local cloth-manufacturing towns were in decline. Many local farmhouses were rebuilt at this period. The property is depicted in a stylised form on a 1597 map of Chilton Manor but is clearly shown on early C19 century maps as a very large courtyard house with a U-shaped plan. At some point between 1838 (the date of the Tithe Map) and 1886 (the first edition Ordnance Survey map) the north and east ranges were demolished, leaving the south range. This has the standard domestic layout of the period with what appears to be a two-bay hall flanked on the west by a pair of service rooms and on the east by the bay of a large chimney with a parlour beyond. This parlour was later replaced with the present single-storey structure which probably served as a bakehouse. It is difficult to date and could be as early as the C18 or as late as about 1870. The house also had an additional bay to the west which boasted one of the finest star-topped Tudor chimneys in Suffolk but this was unfortunately demolished in the second half of the C20.

White Hall has been identified as a ‘unit house’ which was described at the time as an ‘inset house’ (Historic Building Survey, Leigh Alston, May 2018). Unit houses were designed to accommodate semi-independent family members such as widows or siblings, and were often added behind an older principal parlour with two storage rooms dividing it from the new hall and parlour to the rear. The exceptional quality of the demolished chimney suggests that White Hall was an important gentry house that may have been linked to the Elizabethan brick mansion at Chilton Hall which it faces across the site of an enclosed Tudor park. Unit houses illustrate the sophisticated nature of high-status late C16 and C17 dwellings.

The Tithe Map of 1838 shows that White Hall was then called Chilton End Farm and was owned by Elizabeth Piper who left it to either her sister-in-law Susannah Steed or her daughter Ann at her death in 1840. The 1841 census reveals that it was tenanted by two families: the Crossman family and the Blyth family, who were gardeners and agricultural labourers, indicating that White Hall had gone down in status. By the time of the 1851 census it was the homestead for a substantial farm of 775 acres. The resident farmer was George Frith Parson and his wife Melissa (née Strutt). It was around this time that the house was substantially rebuilt and faced in the local gault brick, probably prompting its new name of White Hall. The 1861 census shows that the farm had shrunk to only 276 acres, and in 1866 George Parsons went bankrupt by which point he had left White Hall. It was then the home for more than twenty years of Henry and Eliza Brand who were responsible for establishing the model farm which was built around 1870. This is depicted on the first edition Ordnance Survey (OS) map of 1886 which also shows that the house had been subdivided to form two dwellings. The second edition OS map of 1904 shows it had again reverted to one dwelling. At the time of the 1901 census John and Isabella Carlton were living there and farming 1,700 acres in seven separate farms.

At some point between 1904 and 1926 (the date of the third edition OS map) a two-storey extension in a sympathetic vernacular style was added to the west side of the rear (north) elevation by the local building firm Grimwoods. A sale document of July 1929 describes the farmhouse as an ‘extremely attractive residence’ with an older portion containing ‘considerable old oak’ and ‘pleasure grounds including two tennis courts’. White Hall continued to be subject to various alterations throughout the C20. A shallow projecting bay approximately in the middle of the front (south) elevation shown on the 1926 OS map had been removed by the publication of the 1957 OS map. At some point soon after this, the west end of the house, including the C16 chimney stack, was removed and a hipped roof constructed at the west end. A gabled entrance porch was added to the south elevation in 1950. An annex was built at the east end of the house in the 2010s, replacing an earlier adjoining structure and log store. Other changes have been made internally, notably the repositioning of both flights of stairs.

Reasons for Listing

White Hall, a timber framed house of around1600, encased in brick in the mid-C19, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* it retains a significant proportion of its original fabric forming a largely intact timber frame of high quality;
* the apotropaic taper burns surrounding the doorway in the attic are excellent examples of their kind, representing rare evidence of taper burns on wattle-and-daub;
* the reuse of C16 timbers in the early C20 north-west wing, and the high quality of its internal joinery and detailing, provides an interesting instance of the taste for the ‘Olde English’ style.

Historic interest:

* it has recently been identified as a ‘unit house’ which were once thought to be rare but are now being discovered in considerable numbers throughout East Anglia, particularly on the farmsteads of central and northern Suffolk.

Group value:

* it has group value with the Grade II* listed Chilton Hall to the west, with which it is historically associated, along with the C16 garden wall and early C17 walled garden, both of which are listed at Grade II.

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