Forbidden Suffolk: 5 more places you can’t visit in Suffolk

EADT CHRIS MILLS / DOMINIC
Tendring Hall in its heyday
PICTURE CONTRIBUTED

The former Tendring Hall - Credit: Chris Mills

Ruins, former buildings and forbidden places galore are dotted around the region.  

While these structures are no longer in use, accessible, or even exist anymore, they sure do have some interesting stories to tell.   

Lindsey in Suffolk

Lindsey in Suffolk - Credit: Geograph/Robin Webster

Lindsey Castle 

Suffolk is home to some pretty magnificent castles – with Orford Castle and Framlingham Castle instantly springing to mind. But did you know there are some former castles that are mere ruins and memories? 

One of those is Lindsey Castle. Located in the south Suffolk village of the same name, this once-statuesque medieval structure is believed to have been constructed sometime shortly after the death of King Henry I in 1135.  

“Henry I’s death in the 12th century precipitated a war of succession between his daughter and designed heir to the throne Matilda, and his nephew Stephen who saw himself as the rightful successor,” explains local resident and author of ‘Lindsey Through The Ages’, David Wallace. 

The civil war – which lasted from 1135 and 1153 – saw Matilda take control of the South West and the Thames Valley area, while Stephen had strongholds in the South East. However, much of the rest of the country, including East Anglia, was held by rebels who refused to support either side.   

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As a result, much lawlessness broke out, and a number of castles were built across the region without royal approval. These illicit formations were known as adulertine castles.  

“It doesn’t exist anymore however – and all you have left are the old earthworks. This is because at the end of the war, as part of the treaty of 1153, such castles were ordered to be destroyed. It is thought Lindsey Castle was one of these – but there is evidence the castle continued to exist into the 13th century,” David adds.  

Historical records show it was built in typical Norman fashion – a motte-and-bailey castle, with a wooden or stone keep on a raised area of ground. 

What's left of Tendring Hall

What's left of Tendring Hall - Credit: Peter French/Geograph

Tendring Hall 

This former hall was built atop a hill in the heart of the Suffolk countryside, overlooking Constable Country for miles. Constructed by the Adams brothers in the 1730s, the sprawling manor was surrounded by 200 acres of parkland.  

The grounds were home to two lakes and a boat house, alongside a tennis lawn, glasshouses, cricket ground, and a rose and flower garden. And inside the hall itself? It was a stately home, with amenities galore. Think eight bathrooms within, a smoke room, a dining room, a library, officers, servants’ halls, cellars, bedrooms, kitchens, and a scullery.  

However, the hall was sadly demolished by the mid 20th century as it is believed there were no interested tenants to take it on. All that remains of the bygone hall is a ruined front door, which still stands today.  

Milden Castle 

The second castle on this list, Milden Castle – much like the lost castle of Lindsey – was once an important structure here in the region. Located on Foxburrow Hill, it is believed this former structure was built in the 12th century.  

According to local archaeological records, this motte-and-bailey sat on a circular round around 12 feet high, and was surrounded by a moat. However, all that remains today of this scheduled monument is the earth mound.  

Hadleigh railway station closing on March 16, 1965 

Hadleigh railway station closing on March 16, 1965 - Credit: Archant

Hadleigh railway station 

Over the years, a number of Suffolk’s railway stations have been taken off the map, no longer serving passengers across the county.  

One of these is Hadleigh railway station. A terminus of Hadleigh Railway (which was a short branch from the now-defunct Bentley Junction), the line opened in 1847.  

The station itself was designed by renowned British architect Frederick Barnes (other credits to his name include Bury St Edmunds and Woodbridge station), and was completed in 1847. Hadleigh’s station was known for its Italianate building, and was a single storey structure made from red brick. Inside, it had a booking hall and booking office, as well as a goods office, staff room, and parcel office.  

Sadly however, over the years, user numbers fell, and the line closed for passengers in 1932. For the next three decades, it still served freight services until those ceased in 1965.  

Today, Hadleigh railway station still stands – but it’s now a private residence so unfortunately you can’t go looking round the place.  

You can, however, walk along the former railway line which runs through the town – it starts at the former railway station and goes on for two miles.  

The former Alton Hall

The former Alton Hall - Credit: Archant

Alton Hall 

Perhaps one of the saddest fates on this list, the former Alton Hall met a rather watery demise in the 1970s. This now-lost manor used to sit in the village of Tattingstone – but when the village was flooded to make a 400-acre reservoir (now Alton Water), Alton Hall sadly became collateral damage.  

Dating back to the 1600s, this impressive hall sat on a site that was mentioned in the Domesday Book, and was owned by a Mr Bateman. Bateman also owned nearby Tattingstone Hall Farm, and he was one of around 75 people who unfortunately lost their homes to make way for the present-day reservoir – which is now a thriving habitat for a number of species of flora and fauna.  

What did survive however from the great flooding was Alton Mill, which was dismantled and reassembled at the Museum of East Anglian Life (now known as The Food Museum). 

Are there any abandoned, off-limits, forgotten, or forbidden places in Suffolk that haven’t made the list? Get in touch with danielle.lett@archant.co.uk to share yours.