EDitorial ± 4-Jan-2016

Crinkle-Crankle Walls Of Suffolk

Racking my brain (back in summer 2015) for someone or somewhere or something which might typify Suffolk, I hit a wall. A very particular sort of wall. Not dead straight like your normal garden wall, but weird and wobbly and wonderfully named. It's called a crinkle-crankle wall and, counterintuitively, uses less bricks than its linear companion.

According to Wikipedia, "the county of Suffolk claims at least 50 examples", easily beating everywhere else. Should be straightforward to find a list, don't you think? Not so. Pevsner's "Buildings Of Suffolk" has a throwaway reference to:

...undulating forcing walls of brick, which Mr Norman Scarfe has collected and published

He goes on to mention half a dozen examples but, frustratingly, there's no explicit reference to any publication by Scarfe. Other Googling also points to this mythical list having been extended by one G.A. Coulson. Again, sadly, with no periodical or article.

So I dug out all the passing nods in Pevsner, around ten or so, then handed that list to Eldest, busy doing nothing in late August. She then got to work on that there internet and doubled the list. Key to this enterprise was to actually see each of these fabled creatures in the flesh, if possible. Thus was born the Crinkle-Crankle Crew, comprising me, Eldest and friend, Middler, and my mum. Membership comes and goes, TBH.

According to my last search of the Historic England website for mentions of "crinkle" or "serpentine" wall, I currently believe that there are 31 crinkle-crankle walls in Suffolk that are listed to at least Grade II standard. They're all marked on the below list. Actually, make that 32 since the example at Great Waldingfield was listed -- see this EADT article -- in October 2020.

Must mention the tremendous help received from Edward Martin (EM) of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. He's been on a near identical path to myself, it so happens, trying and failing to track down that wretched list. When we finally compared notes, he had around 46 examples, twice my total! His understanding, by the way, was that Ye Olde Liste had around 92 entries. Gulp. I've now done my best to merge our disparate lists and add ones of which we were previously unaware. Thanks, Edward.

Also a big tip of the hat to Dr James Bettley for leading the way with his authoritative Buildings of England volumes covering Suffolk East and West.

Here's a handy map of crinkle-crankle walls in Suffolk.

— Confirmed Sightings —

  1. Eastonlisted
  2. Bramfieldlisted
  3. Eye, Chandos Lodgelisted
  4. Brome Grange
  5. Long Melford Halllisted
  6. Long Melford, Cock and Bell Lanelisted
  7. Earl Soham, Brandeston Roadlisted
  8. Saxmundham, High Street
  9. Halesworth, Rectory Lanelisted
  10. Ashbocking, Crockery Barn Cafe
  11. Beccles, Hungate Lanelisted
  12. Beccles, Coney Hill
  13. Worlingham, Garden Lanelisted
  14. Boxford, Church Street
  15. Sudbury, Meadow Lanelisted
  16. Brantham, Newmill Lane
  17. Shotley, The Street
  18. Martlesham Heath, Eagle Way
  19. Yoxford, Satis House
  20. Great Waldingfield, Babergh Place Farmlisted in 2020
  21. Sudbury, Hardwicke House
  22. Sudbury, Royal Grammar Place
  23. Long Melford, Westgate Streetlisted
  24. Long Melford, United Reformed Church, Hall Streetlisted
  25. Cockfield, Tudor Cottagelisted
  26. Ipswich, St Edmund's Road
  27. Eye, Buckshorn Lanelisted
  28. Eye, Castle Street, Stanley Houselisted
  29. Brome, Rectory Road, The Oaksmerelisted
  30. Rendlesham Hall
  31. Boyton, The Clock House
  32. Framlingham, Mount Pleasant
  33. Wickham Market, Hill House
  34. Parham Halllisted
  35. Wangford, Church Street, Parsons Meadow
  36. Wangford, Church Street, Ivy House
  37. Reydon, Wangford Road, near Copperwheat Avenue
  38. Reydon, Lakeside Park Drive
  39. Palgrave, Park Houselisted
  40. Long Melford, The Water Meadow
  41. Hollesley, Mallard Way
  42. Hollesley, Glebe House
  43. Metfield, Bell Houselisted
  44. Eye, Millfield, Castleton Way
  45. Lowestoft, Maltster's Score
  46. Carlton Colville, The Old Rectorylisted
  47. Tostock Placelisted
  48. Dunwich, Cliff House
  49. Bacton, Brickwall Farm
  50. Redgrave, Juniper Cottage
  51. Bardwell, Low Street, Mansard House
  52. Botesdale, Chapel Lane, Anglian House
  53. Ringsfield, All Saintslisted
  54. Barsham, The White Houselisted
  55. Bungay, Earsham Street, St Mary's House
  56. Henham Halllisted
  57. Theberton, Pump Cottages
  58. Darsham Cottage
  59. Halesworth, Old Station Road
  60. Kelsale, By The Crossways
  61. Orford, The Old Rectory
  62. Stradbroke, New Street, Fig Street Cottage
  63. Harleston, Moorbridge Lane
  64. Melton Hall
  65. Alderton, Cedar Courtlisted
  66. Coney Weston Halllisted
  67. Bungay, Oxnead, Broad Street
  68. Bungay, Castle Orchard House
  69. Wattisfield, The Croftlisted
  70. Herringfleet Hall
  71. Stradishall, Woodfarm Cottage
  72. Brome, Oak Tua Cottage
  73. Beccles, Puddingmoor
  74. Beccles, Gaol Lane
  75. Melton, Pytches Road
  76. Hinderclay, The Old Rectorylisted
  77. Kessingland, White's Lane
  78. Kessingland, Heritage Green
  79. Kessingland, Badger's Holt
  80. Debach, Moat House
  81. Beccles, Richard Crampton Road
  82. Rickinghall, Snape Hill Houselisted
  83. Carlton Colville, Deepdale
  84. Carlton Colville, Colsterdale
  85. Carlton Colville, Ashburnham Way
  86. Brampton Old Hall
  87. Boxford, Swan Street
  88. Lavenham, Water Street
  89. Brampton, Dog Cottage
  90. Worlingham, The Walnuts
  91. Rickinghall, Broomhillslisted
  92. Nacton, Broke Hall
  93. Heveningham Halllisted
  94. Knodishall, Burch's Close
  95. Beccles, Ravensmere
  96. Beccles, Fair Close
  97. Rumburgh, The Forge
  98. Bruisyard, The Street
  99. Sibton, Abbot's Lodge
  100. Peasenhall, Meadow House
  101. Wissett Hall
  102. Spexhall Manor
  103. Lavenham, Old Station Close
  104. Great Waldingfield, Fortress Fields
  105. Framlingham, Broadwater Farm
  106. Orford, Peacock's Pyghtle
  107. Holbrook, Royal Hospital School
  108. Sudbury, Gainsborough's House
  109. Boxford, Swan Street, Cygnet House
  110. Mendlesham, Church House

— To Do —

Which leaves:

  1. Badwell Ash, Green Farm Barn
  2. Kelsale Hall
  3. Ringshall, Chestnuts Farm

Updates to follow as and when.