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South Elmham Hall
South Elmham Hall is a C13 former bishop's palace standing within a 4-acre moated site.The C16 exterior of the Grade I-listed house hides a medieval hall, and traces of the bishop’s private chambers. Many features survive including probably the earliest domestic wall paintings in Suffolk. Tour includes a walk through the former deer park (shoes suitable for crossing fields required) to South Elmham Minister (once described as one of the most romantic and enigmatic ruins in England) and C11 chapel built to commemorate the site of a Saxon C7 minister. Garden includes a ruined gatehouse and grove of mature trees. The Hall is at the centre of a traditional mixed farm, which has won awards for conservation and wildlife management.
South Elmham Hall was at the centre of an ancient episcopal estate with the Bishops See of Elmham dating from the C7. The Vikings are said to have plundered and burned the East Anglian Minsters and nothing remains from the earliest settlement except pottery scatter. South Elmham Manor was gifted to the Priory of Norwich on the foundation of Norwich Cathedral in 1100 by the then Bishop Herbert de Losinga. Bishop Walter de Suffield is said to have 'lived at South Elmham in great splendour'; Bishop Henry de Spencer had a licence to crenulate in 1387. Held by the Bishops until 1540 and the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Then acquired from Henry VIII by Edward (later to become) Lord North. The Norths remodelled the medieval palace into a hunting lodge; they in turn sold in 1617 when it became part of the Flixton estate. Later in the C19 it was home to the Stewards and managers of that estate. Recent work reveals more of the original C13 bishop’s palace than thought.