A history of Halesworth, Suffolk, UK, through the ages.


Volume 3


Gothic House as a School

Gothic House was used as a boarding school from about 1800, with an extension for a school room at the back of what is now Dairy Farm. This is shown in the Tithe Map of 1839, set in the angle between the main front section and the Baxter wing, but it has since been removed.

In January 1809 the terms for the Rev. T. Tanquarry's school were printed in the Ipswich Journal of 26th January:-

                                                                 Learning English                Latin

under 8 years of age                           20                             22

above 8 under 11                                22                             24

above 11 under 14                              24                             26

above 14,  - according to age of pupil.

By 1811 a change in the school took place, for the Ipswich Journal of 29th June announces that ...

'Mrs Parker, having engaged a large and commodious house at Halesworth lately occupied by the Rev.T Tanquarry, intends opening a Boarding and Day School for the instruction of Young Ladies ... Mr.Parker at the same time intends opening a Day School for the instruction of Young Gentlemen'.

This venture lasted up to 1816, when Gothic House became under James Harvey, a Gentleman's Boarding Academy, with some thirty students listed in the 1841 census. By 1855, the Academy left Gothic House and moved to Castle Hill in Holton Road, where it was described as a 'highly respectable boarding and day school'. Later Joseph Harvey's son, Joseph B. Harvey took over and he is listed in charge, in directories up to 1885.

During part of this time Gothic House was owned by Rev. Jeremy Day, and in 1848 it was sold to Thompson George. His father, Martin George, had earlier been a tenant of the farmhouse, and when Thompson died in 1874, his widow Margaret lived in Gothic House, while, according to the 1881 Census, the farm Bailiff John Page and his family lived in the farmhouse. Margaret died in 1889 and the house and farm were sold and divided into separate properties. Gothic House was purchased by Miss Mary E. Cross who died in 1906 and the property was then sold to Charles W. Cole, a farmer of Uggeshall. In 1914 it was conveyed to his daughter Edith, but occupied by Mrs Laura Woodyard who bought the house in 1929. She in turn conveyed it to her daughter Edith Grace in 1934 in whose hands it stayed until 1971 when it became the property of Michael and Sheila Gooch.

Dairy Farm was occupied by Thomas Sheldrake in the time of the auction in 1889 and remained in the hands of that family until 1949, when it was purchased by Thomas Gowlett.

The writer Allan Jobson, visited the farmhouse in the late 1940's and wrote in his 'North East Suffolk' ...

'This fine old farmhouse kitchen ... has a fine array of domestic arrangements, including a brick oven next the copper for washing and brewing, then an open fire, followed by a dutch oven that projects forward. While in between the fire and this oven in the angle is a tiny fireplace for heating the old box-irons used in the ironing of the monthly wash'.

Thompson George, in 1848, set about giving the house the 'Gothic' look which gave the house that name. It had earlier been known as 'Porch House' from the rounded bay of the porch, but this was changed to a half octagonal one with a highly pitched wooden gable. The sash windows were replaced in Tudor Style with elaborately patterned lights. A photograph of about 1905 show the whole of the first floor of Gothic House and Dairy Farm with plain plastered walls. Mrs Sillett, the grand-daughter of Thomas Sheldrake, believes that the plaster was stripped and the beams revealed as they are now, just after the First World War.


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