Shearing sheep was a vital part of the country's economy in the medieval and Tudor periods when the country's wealth depended upon wool.
Because sheep were bred for wool (as for many other uses, such as meat, horn, sheepskin, velum, leather (basil), it was necessary for the sheep's wellbeing to be shorn annually. Our shearing is now mechanical, not by hand.
As well as the shearing, the House and Gardens will be open for you to enjoy, with the House itself will be open from 12noon to 2.30pm. The majority of rooms will be open, apart from the ones the family are using.
An active day out for explorers of all ages - a breath of fresh air for everyone!
Kentwell Hall stands as a stunning early brick Tudor House. Started by John Clopton (d 1497), mainly responsible for rebuilding Melford Church in the 1480s, and finished before 1540 by his son Sir William Clotpton (d 1530), who married first a merchant’s daughter and later an heiress, to fund its later development. It has a brick lined moat round the House, extended in the 18th C., with another, perhaps earlier, moat round the Walled Garden. It was one of the first great houses built in the newly fashionable red bricks formed and fired on clamps on site, which explains the great variation in brick colour. This variation, greatly appreciated today, was abhorred by the builders. There is evidence they painted over the whole in the red colour they had expected all the bricks to match. This process, raddling, has not survived the weathering of centuries.
The House is the first house to adopt the open courtyard layout, which became fashionable later in the century. This layout was not designed but evolved through development over four stages, following quickly upon each other.
The Moat House was built in the late 15th C. as a service building for an earlier house, with three very different elements. A brick southern section rising from the Moat with a projecting tower complete with loops and arrow slits as a form of vestigial defence, soon obsolete, always the Brewhouse. A half timbered bricknogged and jettied middle section so typical of its age, for most of its life, the Bakehouse. A fancy brickwork 18th C. northern section with white Woolpit bricks, initially a Game Larder and now the Dairy.
Seeing the inside of the House is a fascinating experience. It remains still in layout an essentially Tudor House, just one room thick throughout. The interior reflects decoration of the 1800s and embellishments since 1970.
Please pre-book your visit (any time up to 10.30am on the day of your visit) and please arrive in good time to get the most out of your visit. You are welcome to arrive at any time from opening time until our last entry at 2.00pm, but if you wish to see the House, please be here by 1pm. The Gardens will close at 3pm.
Please note that advance booking is essential.
If you are Season Ticket holders, or Historic Houses members, please also book your tickets on-line.
Virus Precautions: Visitors must use the map provided and observe current social distancing guidelines. Please follow the one-way route around the gardens. Rules and precautions for visitors are displayed on entry and on our handout/map. Please bring gloves and hand sanitiser, and wear lower face coverings when indoors. Please do not attend if you are suffering from, or displaying any symptoms of, Coronavirus, or if you have recently been in contact with someone who has had symptoms or tested positive for Coronavirus.
Refreshments: we are pleased to offer light lunches and refreshments as a take-out service, for our visitors to enjoy outdoors.
Facilities: the loos near the Tea Garden area will be available for use.
The Weather: we will open whatever the weather and your visit can certainly fill a rewarding few hours. Please dress appropriately for the weather! Kentwell has its own Met Office weather report - please click here to view it.
Accessibility: the majority of the gardens are accessible by wheelchair in good weather, via good pathways and firm, lawned or mown grass tracks.
Disabled Visitor Discount: for registered disabled visitors and their carers: please purchase tickets at the next rate down. If you are adults, please purchase a senior ticket; if you are seniors, please purchase an older child ticket, and so on.
Dogs: no dogs, except guide dogs, are permitted within the grounds.
Cancellations and refunds: Should Government action at any time cause us to close, we will, of course, refund any tickets purchased for any affected days. Otherwise, we operate a no-refunds policy. Tickets are not transferrable to other days, or to other events. Please always check our website before travelling, in case circumstances or Government Advice has changed.
Gardens opening days
- Special event
Tickets & prices
Booking for this event is currently unavailable.