This handsome Grade II-listed 17th-century house sits in the centre of the pretty town of Hadleigh in Suffolk. Painted a chalky terracotta, a modern take on Suffolk Pink, the rustic façade sets the tone for the rest of the house. Inside, it has been lovingly restored while preserving its rich history. Unfolding across almost 2,700 sq ft, the house has three large reception rooms and five bedrooms. A sizeable garden sits at the rear, with a useful outbuilding currently used as a workshop; there is parking for two cars. The house is nestled in the town centre, near the beautiful Dedham Vale, yet close to London.
Setting the Scene
Grade II-listed, the house is said to have been built in the 17th century, but there is evidence of 16th-century origins, such as the wood used on the first-floor level. A timber-framed home, it has been carefully renovated by the current owners and is arranged over two storeys. The second floor of the south end of the house projects over the first on curved brackets, a motif typical of the era.
The village of Hadleigh is home to many architecturally interesting buildings and is set in the heart of the countryside that inspired 18th-century painters such as John Constable (1776 – 1837) and Thomas Gainsborough (1727 – 1788). At one stage, this house was the home of Glyn Morgan, a 20th-century Welsh Romantic painter, who moved to Hadleigh due to its proximity to Benton End, the then-called East Anglian School of Drawing and Painting. Indeed, Glyn and his wife visited the school whenever they could for 38 years before relocating to Suffolk permanently in the mid-1990s. For more information, please see the History section.
The Grand Tour
The house’s façade is painted in a deep terracotta lime-wash ‘Tobacco’ by Bauwerk, a clever modern take on the traditional Suffolk pink. The house is defined throughout by a considered and natural texture palette, immediately apparent in the main hallway, accessed by the front door. Here, a wonderful red brick floor runs underfoot, beams are exposed, and wooden panelling clads one wall. On the left, a wooden door leads to the generous open-plan sitting and dining room. Overhead, most of the exposed beams have been creatively painted white, opening up the space while retaining its raw materiality. An incredible inglenook fireplace has been restored with a working open fire. Original structural beams cleverly divide the living and dining areas.
Adjacent, at the rear of the house, is the kitchen, where new tongue and groove panelling has been applied to the walls, bordering a space that would make the perfect breakfast room. Open shelving has been installed above stainless steel cabinetry with beautiful green marble worktops. A picture window frames views of the garden. Again, the walls are terracotta, establishing a sense of cohesion. Two rooms bookend the kitchen; one is currently used as a playroom but would make an equally brilliant study or even guest bedroom: the other, a valuable utility space and downstairs guest WC. Doors open from the breakfast room to a wonderful patio, and large windows run the length of the house, ensuring a connection to the outdoors.
A wide staircase leads from the ground to the first floor. Here, there are five bedrooms, each characterised by its own colour scheme; the principal bedroom is painted a bright white, maximising the light that pours in throughout the day. The others are painted in darker palettes, using colours such as ‘Ravens Flight’ and ‘Dark Stone’ from Dulux Heritage. They are all served by a shared bathroom, a second shower room, and a separate WC. New cast-iron column radiators have been installed throughout the house.
The Great Outdoors
The rear garden is surrounded by a beautiful old red-brick wall, making it a particularly private space. The garden is mainly lawn, surrounded by richly planted borders, and a vegetable patch is tucked behind a brick arch. There is also a useful garage space, and a workshop, currently utilised as a workshop/studio space. A private parking area has room for two cars and an electric charging point.
Out and About
Hadleigh is a thriving market town with a picturesque high street full of historic buildings. It is home to a range of independent shops, including an excellent butcher, Adnams wine cellar, and pubs such as The Kings Head and The George.
Hadleigh has three primary schools, and a senior school, Hadleigh High School, which has a good reputation.
Ipswich is twenty minutes from Hadleigh by car. It has a theatre, many galleries and museums, and plentiful terrific restaurants, while Butterworth and Son and Applaud Coffee are great cafés.
Suffolk’s coastline, set in its Area of Natural Beauty, is also under an hour from the house, as is Woodbridge, another picturesque market town often described as the ‘gem in Suffolk’s crown’. It is dotted with independent boutiques, shops, and a variety of restaurants and cafes, such as The Table and Honey and Harvey. The river hosts annual music festivals, and several clubs and facilities cater to sporting interests.
The house is situated between Ipswich and Colchester, with Manningtree station just 20 minutes away, giving direct access to Liverpool Street station in an hour.
Council Tax Band: G
The area and this particular house have a long art-related history. In 1943, whilst Glyn Morgan was a student at Cardiff College of Art in his home town of Pontypridd, he met fellow artist, Sir Cedric Morris, starting a long friendship. Cedric invited Glyn in the summer of 1944 to visit Benton End in Hadleigh, which was then called the East Anglian School of Drawing and Painting. When Morgan and his wife retired, they moved from Buckinghamshire to Hadleigh and built a studio in the garden so that he could continue painting.
Benton End House & Garden, now owned by the Garden Museum, will soon be open to the public. It was the home of artist-plantsman Morris and his partner, artist Arthur Lett-Haines, where they established their school, a hub for various influential artists, writers, musicians and botanists.
Painter Thomas Gainsborough – a founding member of the Royal Academy – was born in nearby Sudbury and was inspired by the countryside surrounding Hadleigh; the town’s church was immortalised in his 1748 painting St Mary’s Church.
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