About Us > History

The Museum of East Anglian Life is one of the biggest Museums in Suffolk. It occupies over 75 acres of countryside in the heart of Stowmarket.

The land was originally part of the Home Farm for the Abbot’s Hall estate. The estate history dates from medieval times when it was an outlying manor for St Osyth’s Priory in Essex. It passed through numerous owners until it was purchased by the Longe family in 1903.

Huge changes in the 1950’s and ‘60s meant England was in danger of losing long established skills, equipment and buildings if something was not done to rescue them. Individual collectors, local farmer Jack Carter and the Suffolk Local History Council worked to collect, preserve and display objects from rural East Anglia. After several years of temporary exhibitions the Misses Vera and Ena Longe placed 70 acres of farm land, Abbot’s Hall, its gardens, as well as 18/20 Crowe Street, in trust to be used as a Museum.

The Museum of East Anglian Life opened in 1967 and is a modern memorial to this foresight and vision.