Discover Melford Hall

As you walk down the drive you can admire the imposing, red brick building which has been home to the Hyde Parker family since 1786. Enter through the heavy oak doors and step inside a piece of Suffolk history.

The Great Hall

Sir William, the 7th Baronet commissioned Thomas Hopper to update the Hall creating a neo-classical hall and library. The Cordell Charter on display in the Hall records the grant given by King Philip and Queen Mary to Sir William Cordell of the Melford Hall estate on 26th November 1554. It is written on vellum using iron-gall ink (which was universally used at the time). As you come back through the Great Hall you will be able to see the large vellum map of the estate painted for Sir William Cordell by Israel Amyce in 1580.

The Dining Room at Melford Hall
Dining room at Melford Hall
The Dining Room at Melford Hall

The Dining Room

As you enter the Dining Room, you are transported into an entirely different world. In 1942 when the army was billeted in the Hall the North wing was devastated by fire. Ulla, Lady Hyde Parker decided that the re-building would incorporate her taste for the lighter style of Scandinavia.

 

The Blue Drawing Room at Melford Hall
The Blue Drawing Room at Melford Hall
The Blue Drawing Room at Melford Hall

 

The Blue Drawing Room

The Georgian Blue Drawing room, refurbished by the Cordell family, is light and airy, very different in style to the dark panelled Great Hall. 

The ‘year-going’ longcase clock found in the corner of the room is regarded as one of the most significant clocks in the whole of the National Trust collections. It is the only year-going clock in the Trust and is a wonderful example of craftmanship and was made in London, in 1700, by Richard Street. The case is covered in exceptionally fine quality seaweed marquetry. Inside, the case, labels show when the clock was wound and serviced, the earliestv dates back to the 19th century. 

The library at Melford Hall
The library at Melford Hall
The library at Melford Hall

The Library

A handsome example of Regency design still preserving the bookcases and furniture that were made for it. In the small library is the portrait by George Romney, of Vice-Admiral Sir Hyde Parker I whose son , Sir Harry, the 6th Baronet purchased Melford Hall. The paintings by Dominic Serres, commemorate the actions in the American Civil War in which Admiral Hyde Parker II participated.

Climbing the Staircase you will pass two Chinese urns which are part of the booty from the capture of the Spanish galleon the Santissima Trinidad. From the Boudoir you can look back at the staircase and admire the portrait of Captain Sir Hyde Parker who, as an Admiral commanded the fleet at Copenhagen, with Horatio Nelson as his second-in-command. 

The Boudoir at Melford Hall
The Boudoir at Melford Hall
The Boudoir at Melford Hall

The Boudoir

Created for Lady Ulla, the Boudoir is an opulent space, decorated with large mirrors, gilt furniture and an extravagant crystal chandelier. Boudoirs were private sitting rooms for ladies, where women could relax after formal dinners. Gentlemen would usually retire to a seperate room for after dinner drinks and cigars. 

The Gallery

As you climb the stairs and enter The Gallery, you will pass the stained glass window commemorating the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Sir William Cordell in 1578. Close by are portraits of Elizabeth Countess Rivers and her husband Sir Thomas Savage who inherited Melford Hall in 1602. Sir Thomas made major changes to the hall, probably to accommodate his nineteen children, and is largely responsible for the way the hall looks now.

The Chapel is a more recent addition to the building established by the Reverend Sir William Hyde Parker, the 10th baronet, and contains the ivory statuette of Our lady of the Immaculate Conception which was part of the cargo from the captured Santissima Trinidad.

In the West corridor you will pass the Nursery with the portraits of Sir Richard Hyde Parker and his sister Elizabeth on either side of the window, painted by the Hungarian artist Felix Horta.

The West Bedroom at Melford Hall
The West Bedroom at Melford Hall
The West Bedroom at Melford Hall

The West Bedroom 

The West Bedroom was used by Beatrix Potter on her many visits to stay with her cousin, often bringing a menagerie of small animals which she kept in the turret room. Here you can see the original Jemima Puddle-duck which she used to illustrate ‘The Tale of Jemima Puddle-duck’ before giving it to the Hyde Parker children. Many of her drawings inspired by Melford Hall and its contents can be found around the house.

The North Bedroom

The North Bedroom houses the Italian cabinet which was probably bought on a Grand Tour of Europe. It is a rosewood and ebony cabinet, designed both as a secure repository as well as being a highly decorative item. The drawers are decorated with panels of painted glass depicting mythological and biblical scenes.

The Italian Collector's cabinet at Melford Hall
The Italian Collectors cabinet at Melford Hall
The Italian Collector's cabinet at Melford Hall