Somerleyton Hall

Somerleyton Hall is a country house in the village of Somerleyton in Lowestoft, Suffolk, England. It has a notable garden.


In 1240, a manor house was built on the site of Somerleyton Hall by Sir Peter Fitzosbert whose daughter married into the Jernegan family. The male line of the Fitzosberts ended, and the Jernegans held the estate until 1604 when John Wentworth bought it. He transformed Somerleyton Hall into a typical East Anglian Tudor-Jacobean mansion. It then passed to the Garney family. The next owner was Admiral Sir Thomas Allin, a native of Lowestoft. He took part in the Battle of Lowestoft (1665) and the Battle of Solebay at Southwold in 1672. Eventually the male line of that family also died out.

Somerleyton Hall and Park were bought in 1843 by Sir Samuel Morton Peto who, for the next seven years, carried out extensive rebuilding. Paintings were specially commissioned for the house, and the gardens and grounds were completely redesigned. Peto employed Prince Albert's architect John Thomas.

In 1863 the Somerleyton estate was sold to Sir Francis Crossley of Halifax, West Yorkshire who, like Peto, was a philanthropist, a manufacturer, and a Member of Parliament. Sir Francis' son Savile was created Baron Somerleyton in 1916. The House is now held by the present Lord Somerleyton and inhabited by the family. The family motto is 'Everything that is good comes from above'.

The formal gardens cover 12 acres (49,000 m²). They feature a yew hedge maze created by William Andrews Nesfield in 1846, and a ridge and furrow greenhouse designed by Joseph Paxton, the architect of The Crystal Palace. There is also a walled garden, an aviary, a loggia and a 90 metre long pergola covered with roses and wisteria. The more informal areas of the garden feature rhododendrons and azaleas and a fine collection of specimen trees.

In 1998 Lord and Lady Somerleyton commissioned the English painter of country houses, gardens and estates, Jonathan Myles-Lea to paint Somerleyton Hall.