Located in the beautiful surroundings of the parish, Bedfield Hall is a historic 9th Century site. If you are in or around Monk Soham or Bedfield, there are tours arranged of the house that may interest you. Details below
The isolated 9th century site was moated around 1300 and is adjacent to the 11th century church. The earlier part of the house, built in 1421, was enlarged and modernised with two wings of 1620 and 1630. Until the Dissolution, the manor was held by Eye Priory. For the last 25 years, the house and garden have been the home and working space of artist Timothy Easton and his wife, Christine.
Timothy is also an architectural historian and a specialist on the painted surfaces of 16th and 17th century buildings. Here at Bedfield Hall, most of the rooms have their early 17th century decorative schemes intact or restored. The first owner-occupier since around 1100 was a wealthy farmer, Thomas Dunston (resident 1610-1657).
He was responsible for the layout of the painted rooms, two enriched plaster ceilings and, in his new kitchen, a remarkable painted and inscribed ceiling with magical symbols to ward off witches. The sub-divided two-acre gardens around the house have five connecting bridges over the water. There are formal yew hedges and topiary with potager, shrub roses, iris beds and a woodland area.
The tour starts in the church, continuing in the garden (weather permitting) and on to the house.
The Tour is approx two and a half hours and costs £16.50 including tea or coffee, home-made cakes and biscuits. See photographs at www.harpurgardenimages.com
For more information call the Mercury Theatre on 01206 573948 or book on-line atwww.mercurytheatre.co.uk.
To view the art work of Timothy Easton go to www.easton.timothy.com