Abbots of St Edmundsbury
1000s-1500s: For around five hundred years Melford was owned by the Abbots of St Edmundsbury. Although the site has been extensively altered remnants of the lives of the abbots remain. The cellars, which cannot be accessed by members of the public, were used as rooms during this period.
1536: Early in the sixteenth century Henry VIII became leader of the Church of England, severing England’s previous ecclesiastical ties with the Papacy. The dissolution of the monasteries, in which Henry VIII took possession of many houses of religion, affected Melford. It became a royal property in 1539 and was leased to Sir William Cordell, a member of the rising middle classes. His early life was spent at Kentwell Hall where his father was a steward. William’s success was largely thanks to the Cloptons, the proprietors of Kentwell. They sponsored him to go to London to train as a lawyer. Sir William Cordell was granted the estate of Melford in 1554 by Queen Mary I having helped her accede to the throne.