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Saturday 26 May 2012

Herringswell Manor and Water Tower - update

Ballance family at play
When clearing out the BWTAS cupboard (alright, it was a hard drive) I came across some notes I had meant to use to update the prior posting for Herringswell Water Tower near Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk.

Herringswell Manor is a large mock Tudor house built as a private home in 1901 on the site of the old manor. It was owned by Arthur Ballance [1851-1927] who made his fortune as the stockbroker Marnham & Co. while his wife's maiden name was Frean, as in Peek Frean biscuits. Their son Leslie Arthur was killed in the Somme in 1916.

Whilst by this time municipal water towers were commonplace in towns, in rural areas estates such as Benacre, Sandringham, Orwell Park, Kilverstone Hall, Elveden and Thornham Hall needed towers to supply the house and the home farm; typically from a borehole by a diesel or electric pump housed underneath. The upper stories and space below the tank could house staff or would be used for wine or root storage and in the case of Elveden; the priceless paintings from Kenwood House (the Iveagh Bequest) during WWII. Sometimes a room was created, naturally with a view, for game keepers to keep an eye out for poachers or to host shooting lunches. While the windows on the tank level might be dummy (we wish we could have a look inside) the cupola above and windows below the tank shows the Herringwell water tower follows this pattern. The shape of the tower is also reflected in the estate's gatehouse.

From about 1930 to 1948 Herringswell Manor was then owned by the Gosling family

Around 1948 the estate was sold to Miss Keyser of Aldermarston

In February 1956 R J Upton bought half the estate but not the manor house or the water tower.

In 1981 the manor and 14 acres was bought by followers of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and 200 orange robed sannyasin lived there as the Ashram Medina.

These new residents raised the population requiring, for the first time, the establishment of a Parish Council. After the Baghwan died the commune was wound up in 1985.

Then the house was bought by the Shi Tennoji school, a Japanese Buddhist boarding school which closed in 2001 because of falling numbers.

The manor house and ancillary buildings have been converted into luxury apartments which became available for sale in the summer of 2006.

Around 1959 the other half of the Herringswell Manor Estate was bought by Mr Weston-Evans, including the water tower.

About 1960 Mr Weston-Evans renovated Herringswell Manor.

About 1961 the water tower was completely refurbished.

In 1965 R J Upton bought the rest of the Herringswell Estate including the manor and water tower.

In 1966 R J Upton realised that all the horse boxes were too small for the modern horse and decided to install a pig unit within the water tower complex instead. The water tower itself was closed off and not used except for the ground floor area.

On 16th October 1984 the Herringswell Water Tower was listed Grade II, NGR: TL7194170997

In 2008 a complete refurbishment and conversion to 2 to 3 bedroom dwellings was completed.

The present agents for the water tower are Upton Suffolk Farms, Herringswell IP28 6SR and the owner of the business is Hugo Upton.

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