The Thornham Estate

 

This short piece about the Thornham Estate gives a potted history about the estate of which Suffolk Cabins is part.

Thornham has been owned by the Henniker-Major family since 1756 when Sir John Major bought, first the Worlingworth estate and then Thornham.  By the end of the nineteenth century the estate had grown to 40,000 acres, however agricultural depression at the end of the century, WW1 and death duties started a decline that over a period of 100 years, reduced it to the current size of 2000 acres. The woods became unmanaged and the farm and estate buildings were ruined, the great house, pictured below, had gone the majority of it pulled down in the 1930s and the remainder converted into a more pleasant and habitable building.  This was requisitioned by the army during the WW2 and later leased by a school, only to be burnt down in 1954. 

 

The Old Hall

In 1979 Sir John the 8th Lord Henniker retired from his career as a diplomat and took on the running of the estate.  After a mammoth effort the woods were brought under control and the model farm brought back to some sensible functionality.  The walled garden a romantic and beautiful place had been let to a variety of tenants since 1902, by the 1990s the garden and buildings had fallen into complete disrepair, fortunately the walls remained in good condition.  Restoration began in 1995 and with the help of Peter Thoday, an expert on walled gardens and a former president of the Society of Horticulturalists the fruit orchard that you see today was designed. The orchard contains old varieties of fruit and was set out in a formal design with the help of disabled students from Otley Agricultural College.

The Walled Garden has now morphed into Beyond the Wall, a charitable body that works with a variety of organisations as a provider, offering training in Horticulture, Conservation and Personal and Social development to young people aged between 16 & 25 with mixed disabilities.  

Funding for all the rennovation was hard to come by as the plans were both too innovative for the time or outside designated areas of help, so much of the burden fell on Lord Henniker and the enormous generosity of the charities that were prepared to give capital grants. The result of all the hard work has turned Thornham into a great community resource.  The walks enjoyed by many visitors are managed without aid and as a consequence are heavily dependent on volunteers, donations and of course income from the car parks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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