Suffolk Guildhalls

An A-Z of towns and villages in Suffolk with a gildhall or with a building that may be claimed to be, and/or could be, a gildhall.

Guildhalls in Suffolk range from the well known, such as Lavenham and Hadleigh, to the little known, the unlikely and the as yet undiscovered. The aim here is to present known facts and opinions with a view to helping expand knowledge about them. There is also an issue of buildings for the sole use of a gild or gilds (a gildhall) and a place where gilds met - which may be a building with a different prime purpose (e.g. a church house).

See where the Suffolk gildhalls are from the index below.

As will be seen, Suffolk gilds were mainly religious and parish gilds, rather than the more commonly perceived trade guilds or the less understood gilds merchant which were forerunners of local governance.

Throughout this site, the terms gild and guild are interchangeable but in general the term gild will refer to parish gilds, although quoted text uses the original spelling.

The heyday of the parish gild was over at the dissolution of the monasteries (c.1545-8 for gilds) so buildings built after that are unlikely to have been gildhalls although apparently newer buildings can often be constructed around an older core, or even on the site of a previous building that was a gildhall. Sometimes buildings that were not gildhalls were constructed with gildhall parts brought from elsewhere.

Find out more about gilds on the Gilds page.

Find out more about gildhalls on the Gildhalls page.

In general the order of selecting "facts" about gildhalls has been:
1. The Pevsner guides (Suffolk West and Suffolk East) using the latest 2015 ("third") edition by James Bettley and Nikolaus Pevsner with occasional reference to the second edition which was mostly written by Pevsner himself.
2. Listed building data (from Historic England)
3. Papers from SIAH and SHBG
4. Books
5. Other, possibly speculative, "evidence/clues" from the Internet, road and house names, and other sources.

More details on the Sources page

Click on the location below to see a page describing what is known or unknown.


Those "on the site of" an earlier gildhall:
Earl Stonham

Those with only the house name:
Badwell Ash

Those from the speculative list in Eavesdropper No 17 of Autumn 2000 (In the intervening 21 years three have elevated into the main list):
Glemsford - See main list above
Nayland - See main list above
Needham Market - See main list above
Stratford St Mary

Gildhalls that were once known to exist but are now 'lost' (possibly demolished) are on the
Undiscovered gildhalls page (Cotton; Exning; Great Thornham; Horringer [Horningsheath]; Ipswich; Kessingland; Lindsey; Mendlesham; Mildenhall; Monks Soham; Newton; Southwold; Stowmarket; Worlingham).