What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
=How to get there.=–Great Eastern Railway. Liverpool Street. =Nearest Station.=–Woodbridge (10 miles). =Distance from London.=–79 miles. =Average Time.=–Varies between 2 to 2-1/2 hours. Quickest train 1 hour 56 minutes.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 14s. 9d. ... 6s. 8d. Return 22s. 2d. ... 13s. 4d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"The Bull Hotel,” etc., at Woodbridge.
Helmingham Hall, the seat of Lord Tollemache, lies in a beautiful park, ten miles from Woodbridge, in Suffolk, and has been one of the homes of the family for generations. The Tollemache family own two of the finest Tudor houses in this country, Ham House near Richmond, the property of the Earls of Dysart, and Helmingham, which now belongs to the other branch of the Tollemache peerage. Helmingham came to them in the reign of Henry VIII., by the marriage of Lionel Tollemache with the daughter and heiress of Sir William Joyce, who owned a home called Creke Hall. The present mansion he rebuilt on the same site, in all probability retaining the ancient moat.
The hall is approached through an entrance gateway, giving access to a fine avenue leading directly up a gentle slope to the moat and main drawbridge of the hall. The house, of red brick, wonderfully tinted by the hand of time, is remarkably picturesque, with its twisted chimneys, finely proportioned gables, and beautiful bay windows; and its charm is considerably enhanced by the brickwork, with sturdy buttresses here and there, rising sheer out of the clear and tranquil waters of the moat. The hall is entered by two bridges, each ending in a drawbridge, which is kept in full working order, and both drawbridges are, and have been for some hundreds of years, hauled up at ten o’clock every night, when the house can only be approached from the park by means of a boat.
On crossing the main bridge, one enters the inner court, a fine red brick quadrangle, much after the style of those at Hampton Court. From this access is gained to the various wings and apartments of the mansion, the finest room being the hall, with its deep oak dado, fireplace, and open timber roof. The best suite of rooms looks out across the moat to the beautiful gardens. These are some of the most magnificent in the county, and they are most carefully and elaborately arranged, and always kept in fine condition. The garden is divided into two portions by a strip of water covered with lilies.
[Illustration: HELMINGHAM HALL.
An Elizabethan moated mansion. Its drawbridge has been lowered and raised every day for about 400 years.]