Description: Belstead House
Date Listed: 7 March 1988
English Heritage Building ID: 277381
OS Grid Reference: TM1315742156
OS Grid Coordinates: 613157, 242156
Latitude/Longitude: 52.0368, 1.1064
TM 14 SW
House, now County Council residential college. Circa C16 or early
C17, enlarged and remodelled in 1936 by Harold Hooper and
Garrard of Ipswich. The C16/17 range is timber framed, extended
probably in brick and the whole is now rendered with panels of
stippled pargetting. Plain tile roofs with gabled ends.
Red brick stacks of 1936.
Plan All that remains of the circa late C16 or early C17 house is
about 3 timber-frame bays on an east-west axis, situated
immediately to the left (south) of the existing entrance hall.
This was probably part of a larger house, the rest of which no
longer exists. The west end of the surviving timber framed
range was probably no more than 3 bays originally since it did
not extend further to the west (weathered studding at the west
end of the roof indicates that this was an external wall) and
might have been a wing, perhaps cross-wing, to the original
In 1936 the Council was entirely remodelled and greatly
extended by the architects Harold Hooper and Garrard in a
Vernacular Regional style reusing features, some or all of
which might have been imported from other houses. The result-
ing large house has an entrance hall on the right (north) of
the old range. The 1936 extensions included a parallel
cross-wing to the left (south) of the old range which has an
office at the front, a library partly within the old range
and stairhall (passage) and stairwell at the back. In a range
behind that a large drawing? room (lecture room 1) and smaller
adjoining room (common room), on the west and south sides
of which there is a post-1936 loggia. The service rooms were
probably in the long wing to the right (north) of the entrance
hall. This service wing has small cross-wings and servants'
staircase and has recently (1980s) been extended at the north
and by the additional of a dining hall for its present use as
a County Council residential college. In spite of this new
use the house has been little altered and retains much of its
former country house character.
Exterior: 2 storeys and 2 storeys and attic. Long asymmetrical
east front of 1:1:2:1:1:2:1 bays. Gabled cross-wing to left
with a gable (end of original range) to its right to the right
of which is the recessed entrance porch and to the right of the
porch the long service range with 2 projecting gables. All C20
casements with small leaded panes. The recessed porch is lined
in 1936 timber framing and has a C20 ledged door in a moulded
frame. The cross-wing to the left has a large red brick lateral
stack on its right hand side.
The left hand (south) return has an asymmetrical gabled elevation
with similar fenestration. The new (west) elevation has project-
ing ranges to the right and the service range is set back on the
left and at the extreme left (north) end the 1980's dining hall.
Interior is largely of 1936 and the few earlier features might
have been imported. The original range has heavy gunstock-
jointed posts and a common rafter roof which appears to be intact
(though reinforced) under a later roof. At the west end of this
roof original studding is weathered on the west side suggesting
it was an end gable. On the ground floor of this range there are
2 ovolo moulded ceiling beams in the library and in the chamber
above a moulded plaster ceiling which is either extensively
restored or made from reused C17 parts. It consists of 4 panels
divided by intersecting beams with alternating roses and fleur-
de-lis and an acanthus leaf basis at the intersection. The
panels have central bosses with radiating acanthus leaves; the
fields of the panels are not original and have incised lines
radiating out to semi-circles containing small leaves. The
panelling in this room and on the ground floor is of C17 type
but much if not all of it seems to be C20. Similarly the
moulded beams in the entrance hall are probably C20 but the
moulded beam (roll, cavetto and ribbon) in the rear room (now)
common room) is late C16 or early C17 and reused as a lintel.
The former drawing room (lecture room) at the back has a reused
C18 wooden chimneypiece with an eared architectrave and carved
festoons, but the ceiling is circa 1936. The 1936 staircase
is in C18 style with turned balusters and acorn finials to the newels.
At the top of the stairs in the attic some ovolo moulded wooden windows
reused as a screen.
Note: The house is said to have been a farmhouse when Major
Quilter bought it in circa 1901. It was known as Hill House
when it was remodelled and extended in 1936. Its use as
Judges' lodgings was presumably after the Second World War.
Sources: Information provided by Ruth Castle, the manager of
Belstead House. Inside the house there is a photograph of the
house taken in about 1936 and giving the architects' names.
Listing NGR: TM1315742156
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.