Sutton House

Every month CabbieBlog hopes to show you a little gem of a building which you might have passed without noticing.

Sutton House is easily missed tucked away as it is on a sharp bend on Homerton High Street. Built in 1535 this substantial rare example of a Tudor red-brick house is a family-friendly property owned by the National Trust and is open to the public and offers an oasis of calm in hectic Hackney.

[F]irst called Bricke Place, a nod to the building’s construction, it was built by Sir Rafe Sadleir, a courtier in the service of Henry VIII, who rose to become Principle Secretary of State for the monarch. Rafe built his new house for his bride. He was a cautious young man with his way to make and could have expected to marry a wealthy woman. Instead, he married for love. Helen Barre was a poor woman, whose husband had abandoned her and was presumed dead. The love lasted, but the marriage had a touching and dramatic turn of events. You can imagine how a chill fell over its rooms the day his wife’s first husband came back from the dead.

You can’t help but admire Ralph’s survival skills in difficult times. He was brought up by Thomas Cromwell, outlived Henry and served Henry’s son, Edward VI and his daughter Elizabeth I. Still working at 85, he died the richest commoner in England.

The basement is open with finds from the restoration and the rooms with their dark linenfold panelling which would have been brightly painted in Rafe’s time give a feel of what life was like for the rich in Tudor England.

It has a bright excellent tea room serving cream teas and this year an outdoor space revealing the recent breakers yard history opens with a van selling ice-cream. See National Trust for opening hours.

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