Discover some of Suffolk’s secrets
Bateman’s Barn South Elmham
in Suffolk’s Waveney Valley
at home in The Saints, between Harleston & Bungay
So, who was Bateman? Just how old is his barn?
What’s an island doing in rural Suffolk?
Is there really a palace here?
Where’s the deer park?
Why did King Edward II visit?
What’s the Minster?
England’s earliest domestic wall paintings, eh?
What do they look like?
Can we really get married here? Stay over too?
Your wedding at Bateman’s Barn South Elmham.
Make a bit of history.
About South Elmham's history
Stop on the bridge by the moat - ‘fortifications’ out to impress perhaps, once safeguarding a whole community, cloister, chapel, stables and all.
Look across from the romantic gatehouse ruins towards the meadows dotted with vintage trees - traces of the medieval deer park.
Stand beneath the beams of a barn which go back beyond 1270 - a place named after a bishop who truly loved these lands.
Wonder at the ever-colourful interwoven shapes of wall-paintings, fragmented by time but still a match for those in Norwich’s fine cathedral.
The ancient landscape and buildings of Bateman’s Barn South Elmham are evidence of a fascinating and complex past. So many of their stories remain untold and they are still being researched by archaeologists and historians today.
Fit for bishops & the King
South Elmham Hall in its moated site was a residence for the Bishops of Norwich, before the Reformation saw its estates pass into private hands.
With its Great Hall, it was grand enough to entertain royalty and Edward II stayed over on his way to Norwich in 1326. The King was surely impressed by the hunting prospects which probably attracted the bishops here in the first place. They enjoyed the sport (hence the deer park), but rode out where they pleased, even over nearby Flixton Abbey’s gardens in 1350. Needless to say, the then Abbess was not amused.
The surviving ruined gatehouse close to the Hall was possibly built by Bishop Despenser, suppressor of the Peasants' Revolt, who is known to have tried a heretic in a court at South Elmham in 1399.
Across the ancient landscape, South Elmham is also home to the ruins of an 11th century Minster, possibly an important religious Anglo-Saxon site which may explain the long association of the Bishops of Norwich with South Elmham, starting with the Norman, Herbert de Losinga who founded Norwich Cathedral.
South Elmham Hall has seen some gentle remodelling over time and today it makes a wonderful, real and historic farmhouse home in the heart of a treasured landscape.
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