Abbot’s Hall Gardens

Pleasure gardens are usually gardens that are opened to the public for recreation or leisure. Traditionally they are different to other public gardens as they contain entertainment in addition to plants; for example, concert halls or bandstands, rides, zoos or menageries. They often fulfilled many different roles and expressed many aspects of the lives of their owners.

Abbots Hall is regularly described as having pleasure grounds behind the house. These include a series of canalised lakes with a promenade alongside, in addition to the grass steps which can be seen out of this window. They are particularly mentioned with regard to the Stowmarket Cherry Fair when visitors – especially ladies – would walk along the promenade to show off the finery that their husbands’ wealth provided for them. The grounds were also thrown open regularly for the annual Stowmarket Horticultural Society Show during both the Prentice and Hayward times.

By the mid 1900s the grounds were opened up less frequently than they had been, however, the Miss Longes were still pleased to offer them for the use of Church garden parties and fund raisers. At this time, Juniper Foster recalls there being cedar trees either side of the grass steps in the back garden, with urns at the top and bottom as garden furniture. She was fortunate in getting a cutting from one of the trees which she still has growing in her garden in Aldeburgh now!


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