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South Elmham All Saints-cum-St Nicholas
South Elmham St Cross
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The first Flixton Hall, as a stately home, was built on the site of the old manor house by John Tasburgh about 1615. It was destroyed by fire in 1846, as the following account in the London Illustrated News describes. It then belonged to the Adair family.
The engraving of the old Tasburgh Hall below was made from sketches taken a few years before the addition of a new wing.
DEC. 19, 1846. THE ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS,
DESTRUCTION OF FLIXTON HALL BY FIRE.
We regret to record the entire destruction of the fine old " ancestral home," situate at a short distance from Bungay, in Suffolk. The details of the catastrophe are as follow:
At about two o'clock on Sunday morning, the ringing of the church bells and to the cry of " Fire! " aroused the inhabitants of Bungay, and, upon the locality being ascertained, one of the town engines and the powerful one of the silk mills at Ditchingham, were, after a short delay in procuring horses, despatched, followed by hundreds of persons, who were quickly joined at the scene of the fire by an engine from Harleston; but so rapid had been the progress of the flames, and so entirely had they obtained the ascendancy, that comparatively nothing could be saved; and the house, with its furniture (some of which was very costly),its pictures, fine old china, &c., fell a sacrifice to the flames. The fire was not subdued till late on Sunday evening.
Another account states :-Late on Saturday night a dreadful fire broke out at Flixton-Hall, the residence of Sir Robert Shafto Adair. It appears that about twelve o'clock at night, a boy was passing along the road adjoining the parks when his attention was called to a great body of flame issuing from the window, of the Hall. He immediately gave an alarm, and aroused the servants. Shortly afterwards, the engines arrived and began to play on the burning pile, but not to much effect, as the fire had got such a hold as to defy all their efforts to stop it. The mansion was destroyed, with all its valuable and ancient pictures (one worth 1,000 guineas), and costly furniture. Nothing was saved from the flames but a fewer bolsters and pillows. The family were absent, and there were only six domestics in the house at the time.
A messenger was despatched to Norwich, in order to communicate, per telegraph, the intelligence to Sir Shafto Adair, In London; and, in the evening, Mr. A. S. Adair, the elder son, arrived.
The bare walls are standing, the whole being completely gutted. The Hall has been under extensive repair the last half-year, and a great number of hands have been employed: many of their tools were consumed. The loss cannot at present be estimated, but it is thought that £40,000 will not cover the damage.
Flixton is stated to have been built about the year 1615, and continued to be the residence of the ancient family of Tasborough, from the site of its erection to the middle of the present century, when it was purchased by the late William Adair, father of the present owner, created a Baronet in 1838. The building has been attributed to Inigo Jones; but it has the earlier characteristics of shafts, like the ornamented chimneys of the Elizabethan style, at the bayed projections of the wings and centre. The whole edifice had a vast number of windows, all of them pedimented. The doorway is arched, and flanked by coupled columns, supporting a pediment. The pillars are placed on pedestals (ornamented with lozenges), elevated on the base. The building is battlemented; and the corners of the wings have buttresses, rising similar to chimney-shafts. The whole appearance is, or rather was, noble; and the building was a good specimen of the mixed style prevalent in the seventeenth century, but not a highly enriched one, not so highly, at least, as many of the old halls to be met with in Suffolk and Norfolk. We have engraved the principal or northern front.
Of the artistical treasures of the mansion we find the following account in Raw's Pocket-book, of some years since:
" In the hall are busts of the Right Hon. C. J. Fox, Lord Keppel, and General Wolfe. In the staircase, above the door entering the saloon, is a fine bust of Inigo Jones, who built the house. The saloon contains thirty-four paintings, by various masters, among which are the following :-A Madonna and Child ; Saint Peter and the Angel ; Fruit and Flowers, by Van Os; Saint Mark's, at Venice, by Cannletti; Landscapes, by Tillemans; Sea Pieces, by Vandervelde, &c. The library contains a choice collection of books ; a portrait of W.J. Adair, Esq., with his groom and two horses; a portrait of the Duke of Bolton's famous horse Sweepstakes: both this and the saloon are excellent rooms. In an adjoining bedroom is a portrait of General Huss, of Elling House ; a Turkish Lady; a Battle Piece; Joseph and Potiphar's Wife, &c., all very finely painted. In the other bed-rooms are the following paintings :-St. John the Baptist's head ; St. Agnes ; Mark Anthony and Cleopatra; a Sleeping Venus; Lucretia, &c. In the diningroom is a portrait of the present proprietor of this mansion, whose pleasant countenance confirms the public report of his politeness and urbanity. In the drawing-room are judiciously collected together the portraits of the late Duke of Richmond, his father, his mother, and sister, by Sir Joshua Reynolds; the late Duke of Cumberland; Sir Charles Saunders, by Sir Joshua Reynolds; Lord Anson, Keppel, Lord Albemarle, General Hughson, Lord George Lennox, General Napier, &c."
Sir Hugh Adair rebuilt the Hall in 1888-1892.
Front staircase and entrance to the Great Hall; early 20th century.
Great Hall seen from foot of the entrance staircase taken by Sir Frederick Adair circa 1907
The new hall was set in a well wooded park with open gardens as the following pictures show.
Flixton Hall and South East Avenue (1944) taken by an American serviceman at the U.S. Flixton 446th Bomb Group.
North East view of Flixton Hall and Park (1944) taken by an American serviceman at the U.S. Flixton 446th Bomb Group
The last Adair to own Flixton Hall was Major General, Sir Allan Shafto Adair, 6th Bt. Death duties forced the sale of the house, its contents and 250 acres surrounding it. After disposing of the contents in 1880 lots, such as a library of about 7,000 books, it was purchased by Mr. R.G. Lawrence in 1950. He dismantled it almost to ground level, salvaging valuable materials such as the fine interior woodwork, windows, stonework and brickwork.
See An Elegy for Flixton Hall on
The Ownership of Flixton Hall in the Adair Family 1753-1950
1- William Adair, 1753-1783, to his nephew.
2- Alexander Adair, 1783-1834, to his cousin.
3- William "Hugh" Adair, 1834-1844, to his son.
4- Sir Robert Shafto Adair, 1st Bt. 1844-1869, to his son.
5- Baron Waveney, Sir Robert Alexander Shafto Adair, 2nd Bt., 1869-1886, to his brother.
6- Sir Hugh Edward Adair, 3rd Bt. 1886-1902, to his son.
7- Sir Frederick Edward Shafto Adair, 4th Bt. 1902-1915, to his brother.
8- Sir Robert Shafto Adair, 5th Bt. 1915-1949, to his son.
9- Maj. Gen. Sir Allan Shafto Adair, 6th Bt. 1949-1950 (died 1988).
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