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Abbot’s Hall and Gardens

The name ‘Abbot’s Hall’ originated in the 12th century when King Henry II granted the manor of Stowmarket to the Abbey of St Osyth in Essex. Following the Abbey’s dissolution in 1539, a variety of families went on to own the estate.

Today’s Queen Anne style house was built in 1709 by Charles Blosse, a local gentleman and merchant.

Once inside, each room explores a different notion of home and belonging in East Anglia. Home is not just where we live, but also our sense of belonging to a place. This can be formed by our attachment to landscape and traditions, the preservation of memory, and the friendships we make with other people. The displays include:

  • The history of the House
  • A fantasy dinner party with guests who were food and farming pioneers
  • An exploration of the work of George Ewart Evans, the father of British oral history
  • Unexpected rural homes at the St Audry’s Mental Asylum in Melton, Suffolk
  • Travellers views of home, featuring a fabulous floral tribute to community leader Dannie Buckley
  • The traditions of gardening in East Anglia

Visitors can also contribute to a virtual encyclopaedia of the East – A People’s Peculiar – curated by visual artist Robert Pacitti.

Abbot’s Hall houses our temporary exhibition galleries too. For more information, see our exhibitions page.