The website for Helmingham Hall can be found here.

This image and the information below is taken from "A Series Of Picturesque Views Of Seats Of The Noblemen & Gentlemen Of Great Britain and Ireland", Edited by Rev. Francis Orpen Morris, BA (Vicar of Nafferton in the East Riding of Yorkshire). It was published by William MacKenzie in London in (I believe), 4 volumes. The first 80 views were published in 1866 and a further 160 over the next 10 years. The whole works were republished in 1875.

The Picture is a result of the collaboration between Benjamin Fawcett of Driffield, Yorkshire - who was the leading provincial colour printer of the age - and the water colour painter, Alexander Francis Lydon.

This stately residence is situated in the hundred of Bosmere and Claydon, four miles south-east from Debenham, and eight from Ipswich, in a beautiful park, comprehending four hundred acres, which contains some of the finest oak-trees in the county, many of them of great age, and is abundantly stocked with deer, there never being less than seven hundred head, among which are some remarkably large stags.

The hall has been the principal seat of the family of Tollemache from the period of its erection, and here Sir Lionel Tollemache was honoured by a visit from Queen Elizabeth, for five days, from August 14th to the 18th inclusive, in the year 1561. Her Majesty was entertained with great splendour and sumptuous hospitality, and during her visit stood godmother to Sir Lionel's son, and at the same time presented his mother with a lute, which is still preserved.

Very few innovations have been made in the mansion, and, with regard to its exterior appearance, it exists in all its pristine grandeur. It is a quadrangular structure, entirely of brick, environing a court, and completely surrounded by a terrace and moat. The approach is by drawbridges, on the east and south fronts, which are raised every night.

The family flourished in the greatest repute, and in an interrupted male succession in this county, from the arrival of the Saxons in this kingdom, to 1821, having bourne a conspicuous part in the annals and history of the county for above thirteen hundred years.

  • 1487 - John Tollemache marries Elizabeth Joyce (the heiress of Helmingham) and moves to Helmingham, where they pulled down the Joyce family home of Creke Hall and built Helmingham Hall as it is today.
  • c 1510 - Lionel Tollemache started work on Helmingham Hall. It was built in traditional half-timbered style with an overhang to the upper floors, both inside and outside the courtyard.
  • 1561 - Queen Elizabeth I visits Helmingham Hall twice, first in 1561 and later to attend the christening of her godchild, Lionel Tollemache (the tenth of that name). She left a gift of the Helmingham Lute or Opharion, built by John Rose in 1580.
  • 1611 - King James I instituted the title of Baronet and the Lionel Tollemache of the time was one of the first created.
  • c 1700 - The Oak Avenue leading up to the front drive was planted.
  • 1745 - The wall was built to replace the wooden palisade, that protected the garden from the deer.
  • 1760 - Tudor gables (with the exception of those at the corners) were removed and the existing half-timbered walls were concealed. The lower walls being covered with brick and the upper with tiles about a quarter of an inch thick and hung by wooden pegs.
  • 1800 - The Regency Architect, John Nash, covered the whole of the exterior of the house with a coating of cement on the instructions of Wilbraham Tollemache, 6th Earl of Dysart, who thought that grey stucco and battlements would make Helmingham more of a castle.
  • c 1800's - The death of Wilbraham Tollemache, 6th Earl of Dysart. The title inherited by his sister Louisa and Helmingham Hall inherited by his younger sister, Jane.
  • 1821 - The grey stucco removed.
  • 1840 - The 1st Lord Tollemache, on his sucession, did a great deal of restoration and the courtyard overhang was bricked in. Anthony Savin is believed to have been the Architect.
  • 1876 - John Tollemache (grandson of Jane), was made a peer for his services to agriculture and the welfare of his tenants
  • 1951 - John, 4th Lord Tollemache came to Helmingham and found the Hall sadly neglected. There was no electric light, no bathrooms and no running water - drinking water came from the Moat.
  • 1976 - Charles, Prince of Wales, becomes godfather to Edward, the eldest son of Lord & Lady Tollemache.
  • 1983 - Her Majesty The Queen and H. R. H. Prince Phillip stayed for two nights at Helmingham.
The above information was abstracted from Helmingham Hall Gardens, published in 1984 by English Life. ISBN 0 85101 224 8.