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Ballingdon Grove, Sudbury

Description: Ballingdon Grove

Grade: II
Date Listed: 26 October 1971
English Heritage Building ID: 275920

OS Grid Reference: TL8690140371
OS Grid Coordinates: 586901, 240370
Latitude/Longitude: 52.0302, 0.7231

Location: 78 Middleton Road, Sudbury CO10 7LJ

Locality: Sudbury
Local Authority: Babergh District Council
County: Suffolk
Country: England
Postcode: CO10 7LJ

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Listing Text


Ballingdon Grove is a small country house, the earliest phase of which is a double-pile house of the late C17 or early C18, re-fronted in the late C18 and extended in the mid C19 by Robert Allen who operated the Ballingdon brickworks to the south. The house has had a number of uses from the mid C20 resulting in alterations to the building. It is currently subdivided into 11 flats.

Reason for Listing

Ballingdon Grove, Sudbury, Suffolk, a small country house of the late C17 or early C18, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architecture: It has an historic front range pre-dating1700, which retains a significant proportion of its original fabric including the roof structure and floor framing. The late-C18 refronting of this range and C19 addition to the rear mark an important evolution of the building which adds to its interest.
* Alterations: Although the building has been extended and remodelled, the exterior is substantially intact retaining a C18 doorcase, early-C19 windows and, in the mid-C19 addition, the roof structure and all of the windows in their original openings.
* Interior: Although the building has been converted into flats recently, the original plan-form of the historic front range and later addition are discernable. Some interior fixtures and fittings also remain.


The earliest phase of Ballingdon Grove comprised a double-pile house, probably constructed in the late C17 or early C18 on a raised mound, and re-fronted in the late C18. In c.1800 Ballingdon Cut was excavated immediately to the east of The Grove, on the Essex (south) side of the River Stour Navigation (operational between 1712-1930), continuing south under Middleton Road to serve a small industrial area focussed on brick production. Between 1812 and 1939, Ballingdon Brickworks, owned by Robert Allen and his descendents, operated on this site. The brickworks produced Suffolk White, red facing, and ornamental bricks which were widely used, for example, in the Royal Albert Hall and the South Kensington Museums in London and the maltings at Mistley, Essex. Bricks were transported by barge along the River Stour to Mistley Quay where they were transferred onto larger coasters or Thames sailing barges for onward transit to Angersteins Wharf in Deptford, South London. In 1859, the Allen family were operating a fleet of twenty two barges, and in the year 1863-4 nearly three and a half million bricks were transported along the river Stour.

It is uncertain when Allen bought The Grove, but in the mid-C19 he built an additional range to the rear of the older core and ancilliary buildings to the north-west. A conservatory attached to the south gable end of the earlier phase may have been constructed by Allen. It is uncertain when the Allen family sold The Grove, but it was used as a home for those with learning difficulties until 1944 when it became a nursing home for the elderly. The land surrounding the house was subdivided and sold to a number of owners. From the mid 1950s, the house and garden was owned by a private individual who part demolished the outbuildings to the north-west, including the stable. Ballingdon Grove was listed at Grade II in 1971. In 1986, the building was converted into a hotel and the extensive cellar was used as a night club. The hotel utilised the principal entrance in the earliest phase which accessed a hall leading to the main stairs of the C19 addition. The hotel was converted into 11 flats in the late 1980s and it appears that many of the fixtures and fittings were removed during this conversion. A second storey with weatherboard cladding was added onto the single-storey, arched entrance to the service range at the north elevation and a number of chimney stacks were removed at this time. Since its conversion into flats, an additional access road has been laid leading down to the cellar flat entrance. Some of the outbuildings to the north-west have been demolished and others have been converted to other uses.

As the owner's house, The Grove was an important part of the brickwork complex which dominated this small area of Sudbury during the C19 and early C20. The Ordnance Survey map of 1887 illustrates an integrated industrial site comprising the brickworks, with many kilns south of Middleton Road, and a malthouse, wharf, storage buildings and a small cottage, known as Grove Cottage on the east side of the Cut, facing The Grove. Now in separate ownership to The Grove, the cottage was rebuilt in the late C20 and the industrial structures have been demolished, the site laid under grass. Although the Cut ceased to be used for transporting bricks in the late C19, it remains open to the east of The Grove and forms an important historic landscape feature. It is said to have the entire fleet of Sudbury lighters submerged at the bottom, after they were scuttled in the Cut as a wartime measure during World War I, but, on the other hand, the canal is also thought to have been dredged in the early C21.


Brick with slated and tiled roofs.

The earliest range has a double pile arrangement with a large, rectangular, mid-C19 brick addition to the rear.

The front late-C17 or early-C18 range of Ballingdon Grove faces west. It has two storeys with an attic and is constructed of over-painted brick with a tiled, hipped roof and an external stack, rebuilt with Suffolk White brick, at the south gable end. The fa├žade has a central panelled timber door, and a contemporary door case comprising pilasters supporting a plain, moulded architrave with a pediment above. The door is flanked by two sash windows of C20 date. At the first floor there are three, C20 sash windows, with a timber modillion cornice and a brick parapet above. A second, two-storey pile to the rear is partly truncated by the mid-C19 addition, but it too has a hipped roof, covered in slate. The north elevation has a ground-floor, canted bay of the C19, above which, at the first floor, is a hornless, six-over-six sash window. The sash window in the attic storey is of C20 date. The rear pile has two early to mid-C19, hornless, eight-over-eight sash windows with glazing bars. The south elevation has been extended slightly at the rear of the stack, and has two blocked windows and a C20 sash window to the attic room at the front. At the position of the former conservatory attached to the rear pile is an inserted, C20, patio door beneath a flat roof, which serves as the main entrance for most of the flats. Above is an eight-over-eight hornless sash with some replaced lights. There is a dentilled cornice at the eaves.

To the rear is a large, mid-C19 addition constructed in Suffolk White brick. The principal elevation faces east, overlooking the Cut, the river Stour and its valley beyond. It has slated, hipped roofs with oversailing eaves and both ridge and end stacks. At the south end is a wing with a double-height canted bay attached to the main range. At the ground floor of the bay is a contemporary French window; all other ground-floor windows are contemporary, full height, six-over-nine sash windows with shallow arched, segmented brick heads. On the first floor, all of the windows are contemporary six-over-six sashes with margin lights, under segmented brick heads. The parallel service range at the north end is cut into the mound and has infilled arches at the ground floor, with mostly blocked windows at the first floor which are level with the ground-floor windows of the principal elevation. Above is the C20, weatherboarded addition. The west (rear elevation) is set back from the earliest phase and has similar features to the principal elevation.

There are no historic fixtures and fittings remaining in the late-C17 or early-C18 building, but the simple, two-room arrangement in the front pile can be discerned, along with two axial bridging beams apparent at the first floor and a fully exposed floor frame surviving at the second floor. The axial bridging beams have slight, narrow chamfers and the associated joists are contemporary. In the attic storey, the original purlins, wall plates and end tie beams are exposed. In the C19 addition the main, sweeped, curving staircase remains with a rounded hardwood handrail and cast-iron balusters ending in curtail stops, lit by an oval, domed skylight with cast-iron glazing bars. On the ground floor, two of the flats have original window shutters. A number of doors, joinery and decorative plasterwork cornices remain throughout. All of the fireplaces have been removed, apart from one which was not accessible during the inspection. The extensive cellar has been converted from a night club into a flat and has no historic fixtures and fittings remaining.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.