Southwold Railway Trust Archive of Wenhaston

History Note #33: The Guildhall

History Note #33: The Guildhall
History and uses of the The Guildhall

The Guildhall (now Church Cottages), was built in the early 16th century, overlooking the churchyard. A deed dated 6th January 1513 concerned land lying to the west of the churchyard that had recently been built upon. The Guild in Wenhaston was not a Trade Guild, but a Church Guild. This looked after the salvation of the members and prayed for their souls when they died. Church Guilds were closed down in 1547 by order of Henry VIII.

When Pepyn and Lessey founded the school in the 1560s it is fairly certain the school started on the first floor of the Guildhall while the overseer of the poor occupied the ground floor. The school moved to what is now the Church Room in the early 19th century and the property turned into three cottages and let. The rents were used for the repair and upkeep of the church.

Looking through the Churchwardens’ Accounts one is made aware of the continuing items recorded for the repair and upkeep of the Guildhall with bricks and thatch appearing many times. The roof was reroofed in the 19th century.