Hidden behind the Georgian facade is the original chantry college of priests founded by Sir John de Wingfield in 1362. Inside are the medieval great hall, part of the 14th century cloister and Tudor and Georgian interiors.
Sir John was a soldier of high reputation in the reign of Edward III, and Chief Counsellor of the Black Prince. In 1355 he accompanied him to Languedoc, and some of Sir John's letters still survive as important records of the war. He fought at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356 and made a fortune by ransoming captured members of the French aristocracy. When he died of the plague in 1361 he left in his will the request for the establishment of a chantry college, next to the church at Wingfield.
The remaining wings were remodelled in provincial Palladian style in the later 18th century. The Georgian appearance concealed the 14th century building and its medieval origin was largely forgotten. It was not until 1971 that careful restoration by the then owner Ian Chance finally revealed the hidden 14th century structure and proved that the lost college had amazingly survived.
This property is viewable only through Invitation to View
Wingfield church and the tombs of the de la Poles, ground floor rooms of the College, including the great hall, upstairs Wingfield Church and the tombs of the de la Poles, ground floor rooms of the College, including the great hall, upstairs rooms. After tea, visitors are invited to explore the four-acre gardens, which include a walled kitchen garden, medieval fishponds, meadows, woods and an eccentric topiary garden.
From Stradbroke take the B1118 north towards Diss. Take the second right (after about a mile). It is signposted for Wingfield College. Take the second left down a narrow lane. At the end of the lane please park in Wingfield Arts/Barns car park. Meet at the church. Tel 07770 513628.
Tea and home-made cakes.
Disabled drivers are welcome to park in the drive rather than the Wingfield Barns car park. There is wheelchair access to the church and the ground floor of the College but not to the first floor.
Photography restricted to the great hall only.
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2019 tour dates
- 23 May
- 18 June
- 12 September
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All 2019 tours are £16.00 per person, with a discount for Historic Houses members.