Manor house may become wedding venue

A 16th Century manor house once used as a Christian retreat could soon become Suffolk's latest wedding venue.

A 16th Century manor house once used as a Christian retreat could soon become Suffolk's latest wedding venue.

Suffolk County Council has received an application from the owner of the Tudor-built Hengrave Hall, near Bury St Edmunds, to use it for marriage ceremonies.

The 50-acre Hengrave Hall plot was bought by Great Dunmow-based developer David Harris in 2006 after it ceased to be used as a religious centre and retreat.

Mr Harris has since won planning permission to turn it into a private home.

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In October last year talks got underway with Flempton cum Hengrave Parish Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council about using the mansion, which already has permission to be used as a conference centre, as a wedding venue.

Mr Harris said he had already had a number of enquiries from people as far away as London about the possibility of getting married at the hall.

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“We were just expanding the net and we think it is a good venue to hold weddings. Weddings used to be held there in the church and we would like to extend that into the main house and to hold civil ceremonies as well.

“We were contacted by a couple of people who said they would like to have their wedding at Hengrave Hall. We decided to apply for a marriage venue license.”

Members of the public have until January 14 to comment on the proposals to the county council.

The 16th Century hall, once the seat of the Kytson and Gage families, once sheltered Mary Tudor and hosted Elizabeth I. Work on the house, built of stone from Ixworth Priory, got underway in 1525 and finished in 1538.

From 1974 until 2005, the hall was the home of the ecumenical Hengrave Community of Reconciliation, originally a group of families of different Christian denominations.

The community was dissolved in 2005 and the Christian and conference centre at the site were closed.

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