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Thursday, 9 October 2014

Woolverstone Hall

Woolverstone village, legend has it, got it's name when a Viking marauder named 'Wulf' sacrificed a maiden on a huge monolithic stone - Wulf-stone!

Woolverstone Hall

We visited Woolverstone Hall on the Ipswich Heritage Open Day in 2012.  It was built in 1776 for William Berners, a property developer from London, who requested it be built in a modern Palladian design. William Berners and his successors also invested in the village itself providing cottages with spacious gardens for his workers and even a holiday home for impoverished clergy.  In later years, the family were also responsible for many of the village's social functions, including the annual flower show and children's outings

When William Berners died, the house passed down to his son who built an obelisk in honour of his father.  The obelisk was burnt down by fire in 1943 and was so badly damaged that it was demolished using explosives.

The building remained in the possession of the Berners family until they sold it to Oxford University in 1937 where it stayed empty until the War Office took it over in 1939. After the war, London County Council leased the Hall in order to re-house the London Nautical School which became Woolverstone Boys Boarding School in 1959 and which closed in 1990.

Ipswich High School for Girls was relocated to Woolverstone Hall in 1992 and is still situated there today.


On our visit we were a little concerned to find a message on the door to the entrance to the underground passageways which reads:
'It's a cruel, cruel world to face on your own, 
Flesh turns to dust, as to dust turns bone, 
Was it really that wise to come here ALONE?'


 
Err yes! And it was rather spooky!


 There were lots of tunnels and dark, creepy rooms down there


 View from the first floor window



One of the most remarkable things that we saw was the weather vane, not unusual in itself, as you can see here, until you see the other part of the feature, the dial.

Downstairs in one of the rooms, which is now used as an office, is this dial which shows you the wind direction without you having to go outside. It may be totally unique. Fascinating!

There is B&B accomodation within the village at Maytrees
You can hire rooms at Woolverstone Hall for wedding receptions or events.
There is a river walk which takes you past Woolverstone Hall which begins at the Butt and Oyster Inn.  Suffolk Coasts and Heaths Pub AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) Pub Walks provides a printable map and details.


References:
The Suffolk Village Book, Suffolk Federations of Women's Institutes, 1991

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