Please note: This house does not offer free entry to Historic House members.
For alternative options please see other opening options.

Other opening

Overview

Another 28 acres of orchards, woods, parkland and bog gardens are outside the moat. Columbine Hall has appeared in many articles and books. Pevsner’s Guide to West Suffolk describes it as “enchanting”. The gardens were featured in Gardens Illustrated and The English Garden (twice) along with The Walled Garden and The Water Garden, books by owner, Leslie Geddes-Brown. The interior has been in World of Interiors and style books by Kevin McCloud, George Carter and Ros Byam Shaw.

Hew Stevenson and Leslie bought the manor house, which had been empty for seven years, in 1993, and, along with Melvyn Smith, have transformed the interior. They are avid collectors. Paintings include ancestral portraits and those by Angie Lewin, whose books Leslie helped to write. They bought a lifesize Chinese auspicious deer at auction (without seeing it) plus two six-foot Burmese earth spirits and have a spear taken from the fuzzie-wuzzies at the battle of Tamai in 1884. Many are a result of Hew’s interest in his family, described in his book, Jobs for the Boys: The Story of a Family in Britain’s Imperial Heyday.


Find Us
Find us

Take the A1120 into Stowupland. Turn off almost opposite the petrol station and cross the village green. Turn right at T junction and go beyond Columbyne Close bungalows on left. Just beyond the de-restriction sign turn left through wooden posts into the drive. Please park in car park and meet Hew or Leslie Stevenson at the front door.

Please check the website for further information, admission times and details for our special events

Visit website

Forthcoming Tours

7 Jul 2020
2PM - 5PM | £18.00

12 Jul 2020
2PM - 5PM | £18.00

16 Jul 2020
2PM - 5PM | £18.00

10 Aug 2020
2PM - 5PM | £18.00

15 Aug 2020
2PM - 5PM | £18.00

10 Sep 2020
2PM - 5PM | £18.00

Tour Overview

Go on a guided tour of the stunning house and garden. Visitors are welcome to arrive early and picnic in the grounds.

Tour duration

2 hours

Tour prices

£18

Refreshments

Tea and cakes.

Access notes

Ground floor only, gravel courtyard.

Restrictions

No photography in the house.

 


Find Us
Find us

Take the A1120 into Stowupland. Turn off almost opposite the petrol station and cross the village green. Turn right at T junction and go beyond Columbyne Close bungalows on left. Just beyond the de-restriction sign turn left through wooden posts into the drive. Please park in car park and meet Hew or Leslie Stevenson at the front door.

Other opening


Columbine Hall's history and features

Columbine Hall is over 600 years old. It is surrounded by a deep and wide moat, thought to be older still and built to resist Viking raids.

The manor was called Thorney Columbers after the Norman family of de Columbers, who were its feudal overlords. The resident lords of the manor, however, from 1242 and probably earlier were the Hotots, one of whom, Robert Hotot, was a justice in East Anglia. He is the probable builder of the present Columbine Hall-  in about 1390. The timber-framed house, with its jettied upper storey, rises directly out of the water on the north and west. It was originally much larger, its great hall having long since disappeared. What exists now was the gatehouse range.

On the marriage, in about 1520, of the Hotot heiress to a son of Sir James Tyrrell of nearby Gipping Hall (the supposed murderer of the princes in the Tower), the estate came to the Tyrrells but they fell on hard times and lost it in 1559. The owner from 1599 was Sir Robert Carey, a favourite of Elizabeth I (and whose father was possibly an illegitimate son of Henry VIII). On the death of his queen in 1603 Carey rode hurriedly to Edinburgh to tell the King of Scotland that he had become James I of England.

In 1611 Carey sold Columbine Hall to Sir John Poley, a veteran of Elizabeth I’s Spanish wars. The main staircase dates from his ownership.  In 1730 his relative, Major Richard Gipps, sold the estate to a rich iron merchant, John Crowley, whose daughter married the 2nd Earl of Ashburnham in 1756. For the next 150 years the Ashburnhams let the property to tenants, the most prominent of whom, Robert Boby, farmed at Columbine throughout Victoria’s reign. The brick wing dates from his time.

The 6th Earl sold the hall and its farm to the Potter family in 1914. It was used in World War II to train landgirls.

In 1993 the hall and 29 acres of the original manorial lands were sold to Hew and Leslie Stevenson.