In 1939, this house was built for the Tresfon family to live in when the Hall was demolished. It still stands unchanged today.
It was always the intention of Mr Tresfon to build another Hall, but he and his family enjoyed this one too much!
A herd of Red Poll cows, Scotch half-bred sheep, poultry and pigs were big business in the mid 20th Century.
All chicken arks, pig sty's, etc were made by Boulton & Paul, Norwich.
October/November 1954 suffered a succession of heavy rainstorms, field-work almost ground to a halt.
When bought in 1951, the Fowler (seen above carting sugar beet with an International Farmall M fitted with a Perkins Diesel engine) was chosen in preference to an Allis Chalmers crawler because the latter had difficulty pulling the existing 4ff plough or the digger plough with sub-soilers at an acceptable speed.
There is no longer a 'Hall' at Gawdy Hall, it was demolished in 1939. It was originally built in the 1500s on the site of Edward Bacon's Holbrook Hall in Redenhall by the Gawdy family. The Gawdy's, a family of lawyers, flourished in Norfolk and Suffolk in the 16th and 17th Centuries. The influence of three half-brothers lent considerable prestige to the name of Gawdy, and brought the family into close contact with prominent figures and affairs of state at the time. Queen Elizabeth I is thought to have stayed in the Hall in 1578.
Gawdy Hall - East Entrance 1905
The Hall stayed within the Gawdy family until 1662 where it passed to Tobias Frere who owned Caltofts in neighbouring Harleston and who was mortagagee of Gawdy Hall at the time. 4 years later it was passed by marriage to the Wogan family of Boulston Castle, Pembrokeshire where it stayed in that name until 1778 when John Wogan left the Estate to his brother-in-law, the Revd Gervas Holmes.
The Holmes family, linked by marriage to Archbishop Sancroft held the estate until 1938 when it was sold by auction to the Chairman of Boulton & Paul, Norwich, Mr Jean Henri Tresfon. Unfortunately the Hall was in major need of repair and with the elevated taxes put on stately homes before WW2 and the costs involved to repair such a building, the decision was made to demolish the Hall.
At the 1938 auction, Gawdy Hall Estate consisted of 5 farms, small holdings, cottages and land totalling 424.9 hectares, growing a wide variety of arable crops, alongside mixed livestock production.
During the harvest of 1953, the Estate employed 58 men, all earning an average wage of £6 per week. Today there are only 3 men working almost twice the amount of land!
Harvest in the 1950s - 3 Fordson Majors, a Ransomes threshing drum and an International B-450.
A book about the history of Gawdy Hall including a snap-shot of farming operations in the 1950s is available from www.gawdyhall.co.uk.
On the edge of Gawdy Big Wood behind Abbey Cottage is the remains of a moat and system of old ditches and ponds thought to have been the site of an Abbey.
A magnificent double headed eagle lecturn was discovered in the moat a few years back and is now used in Redenhall Church, presumably placed in the moat during the dissolution of the Catholic Church under the reign of Henry VIII to avoid being confiscated by the Crown.
This site is currently being investigated by members of the historical department of the University of East Anglia. Findings of this investigation will be posted here in due course.