take a break in the beautiful suffolk countryside

Wattisham Hall
Wattisham Hall is early 17th century however it is surrounded by a roughly circular medieval moat probably of 12th or 13th century. The house-moat lies within a larger rectangular enclosure which also surrounds the parish church and two other medieval barns. This complex of house-moat-church and barnyards is one of the most interesting and best preserved medieval manor sites in Suffolk.

The site was originally the seat of a family of knights who took the surname ‘de Wachesham’ first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. Some of this site was given by the King, by the extraordinary service of making ‘unum saltum, siffletum et pettum’: a jump, belch and fart before him!

After passing through many families through the centuries, the farm was bought by Taylor Knock in the 1930’s and has been in the family ever since, with brothers Jeremy and Simon Squirrell being the fourth generation farming the land.

During the World War II, a plane crashed into Wattisham Hall killing a maid and a baby. The American Lightning P38 J was based at Wattisham Airfield and was circling to land after encountering problems but didn’t make it back. The South wing of the house was totally destroyed with the chimney stack the only object that stopped the plane destroying the whole house. A new south wing was eventually rebuilt in 1945.

The Barns
The barns were built at different times from the 16th Century onwards. They have great historical value going back over 300 years and have had various uses. At one time the cattle were kept in the barns with a second floor for the stockman to live and look after the animals. There is also a fly wheel in Owls End which is left over from the days of the working feed mill. Tithe Barn is named after its original use as a barn to collect taxes in medieval times. A tithe was a tax of one tenth of the annual produce of land or labour taken for support of clergy and church.

Owls End was the earliest part of the complex, and it was probably used as either a stable for the Hall, or a Manorial Court House or a Malting Range. An original ‘diamond mullion’ window and it’s associated rebate for a horizontally sliding wooden shutter can still be seen on the landing area. The brick part of Owls End is a rare example of an early 19th Century mill for grinding corn, malt, animal feed etc, some of the mechanism has been preserved in an upstairs bedroom.

Tithe Barn was added in the 17th Century and was likely to have been used as a cattle byre or a ‘neathouse’ which was converted into a loft and stabling soon after construction, and then later converted into a barn on one side, retaining the loft on the other. This has been retained as such with the loft now converted into two bedrooms.

In the last 50 years the barns housed a herd of Charolais cattle, then pigs and for the time between 1970 and 2004 were redundant not being suitable for modern agriculture.

St Nicholas Church
St. Nicholas Church is also sited in the curtilage of the moated site of Wattisham Hall. The church was built in the 13th Century and has a unique plaque which refers to a ‘singular calamity of the Wetheringsetts of Wattisham’ when an entire family died from ergotism, an unpleasant disease caught from mould on rye which causes mortification of limbs. To this day a field near ‘Devil’s Wood’ is called ‘Judgements’, both references to when it was thought that the family had been cursed.