Somerleyton Hall is widely regarded as one of the best examples of an archetypal Tudor-Jacobean mansion and one of the most beautiful stately homes in Britain whose rooms and gardens are open to the public. The highlights of the house include: The Entrance Hall - Clad in richly carved oak with green-veined Devon marble panels, this striking space is notable for its highly patterned Minton floor tiles and an unusually coloured stained-glass dome ceiling..
The Ballroom - Formerly a huge banqueting hall, decorated in deep crimson damask wallpaper, contrasted with white sculptured marble, elaborate gilding and finished with an elegantly designed ceiling. The Library - Currently used as a family sitting room which was originally a banqueting hall with a twenty-eight feet high ceiling covered with elaborate plaster motifs as decoration and featuring a huge alabaster fireplace. The Dining Room - Hung with family memorabilia, oil paintings, and a signature Crossley carpet on the floor. The carpet in characteristic deep pink, was commissioned by the present Lord Somerleyton (the great grandson of the carpet mogul Sir Francis Crossley) and designed by his cousin Nick Crossley.
The grounds of Somerleyton Hall have been home to high status buildings since the post conquest Norman era. In 1240 the existing manorial Hall was rebuilt by Sir Peter Fitzosbert as a magnificent country house on the site of the original medieval Hall. Four centuries later the house was further enlarged and restyled by John Wentworth and transformed into an archetypal East Anglian Tudor-Jacobean mansion. The Hall’s final and most significant alteration took place in 1843 under new ownership of a wealthy Victorian entrepreneur Samuel Morton Peto who hired John Thomas, Prince Albert’s favourite sculptor, to carry out extensive rebuilding. Carved Caen stone was used to dress the exterior red brick of the original house, sumptuous materials utilised to embellish the interiors, paintings commissioned for the house and the parkland was completely transformed and redesigned.
This flurry of activities came to an abrupt end when the money ran out and Samuel Morton Peto went bankrupt. The house was sold to Sir Francis Crossley, the son of a Yorkshire-based carpet manufacturer who purchased the Somerleyton estate in 1863. Since mid-19th century the estate has remained in the hands of the Crossley family who are continuing to play an active role in the conservation of the house and grounds and enjoy living in this magnificent mansion.
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