The Tollemache family came to England from Avranches, Normandy, around the time of the Norman invasion, establishing a family home at Bentley, near Ipswich. (Simon talks of the church in Bentley here.) The name was ‘Talemache’ which apparently meant ‘cup bearer’ and Hugh Talemache was a cupbearer to Henry I, the son of William the Conqueror. So, the French connections for this family were very strong.
Then, ‘..in 1487 John Tollemache married Elizabeth Joyce, the heiress of Helmingham… where the Joyce family home of Creke Hall stood. John Tollemache and his wife proceeded to pull this down and build Helmingham [Hall], completed in 1510, as it stands today..’.
The Hall, surrounded by c.400 acres of farmland and parkland, is one of the largest moated houses in Suffolk. The Hall is protected by a C16 moat with two working drawbridges.
‘..Between 1745 and 1760 the fourth Earl made alterations to the exterior of the Hall, added the present stable block and built a wall around the moated garden..’, where the walled gardens were created in 1762.
And inside the walls – flowers, walks and vegetable gardens
And today it was a Show with Classic and Vintage cars!
And at the end of the day the oak avenue, planted in 1680, down which the cars paraded.