Tranmer House at Sutton Hoo

Tranmer House at Sutton Hoo in the sunlight

Later this summer, you'll be able step back into Tranmer House as we reopen the doors after our major National Lottery Heritage Fund supported project. We’re still hard at work behind the scenes as we get Mrs Pretty’s home ready for you to visit once again.

The White House on the Hoo

Built in 1910, Tranmer House was originally known as Sutton Hoo House and was designed by John Corder, a local architect from Ipswich and built for artist and gentleman of independent means John Chadwick Lomax.

After their marriage, Mrs Edith Pretty and Lt Colonel Frank Pretty chose to make this house their home. In 1926, they paid £15,250 for this wonderful country house, which in today’s money would be around £500,000.

When Edith passed away in 1942, the house passed to their only son, Robert Pretty. He was only 12 at the time and moved to live with his aunt in Hampshire. He would never return to live in Tranmer House himself.

The house instead moved fulltime into the ownership of the War Office, already having provided a home to the Land Army girls – who quite literally left their mark on the house. If you look carefully, you can still see the graffiti they carved into the stone fireplace and the ring of tiny holes in the wooden wall panelling, around where their dartboard would have hung.

Graffiti on the fireplace in Tranmer House at Sutton Hoo
Graffiti on the fireplace in Tranmer House at Sutton Hoo
Graffiti on the fireplace in Tranmer House at Sutton Hoo

The estate was later sold off, leaving the Pretty family’s ownership, bought first by the Bartons - known for their prize winning Friesian cow herd - and then by the Tranmers. In 1998, after Annie Tranmer’s death, the trustees of the Annie Tranmer Trust kindly donated the house and estate to the National Trust and Sutton Hoo House became Tranmer House, renamed in her honour.

Initially, Tranmer House was only open to visitors via pre-booked tours, but in 2010 the decision was made to change this, opening up several of the downstairs rooms.

With wood-panelled interiors, a marble fireplace and views across to the famous burial ground, Tranmer House is the perfect place to discover the story of the 1930s archaeological digs.

Looking to the future

As part of our major project at Sutton Hoo, Tranmer House closed to visitors in the autumn of 2018.

The house is due to reopen in late June 2019 with completely new experiences to discover, as we mark Edith Pretty's role in the 1939 excavation alongside revealing stories from subsequent archaeological work in the 1960s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.

Did you know?

  • Part of the house was once demolished to save on heating bills
  • Where Kings River Café now stands, there used to be a sunken rose garden instead
  • You can rent a holiday apartment at the house and live just like Mrs Pretty