The Great Mount of Pettistree

The Great Mount.

Great Mount.Great Mount.Great Mount.Great Mount.Great Mount.Great Mount. Great Mount.Great Mount.Great Mount.Great Mount.Great Mount.Great Mount.Great Mount.

People have often wondered about the Mount in the meadow between Walnuts Lane and Thong Hall Road. They have wondered about its origins, when it was built, why, and for what purpose.

After a chance encounter with a relative (from British Columbia) of Randolph Wyard, investigations led to a copy of his Will of 1700 being obtained from the Suffolk Record Office and from this the children of Randolph were all mentioned, the eldest being Hunn, named after his grandmother Elizabeth Hunne of Ilketshall St Mary. There were six children, three boys and three girls. Randolph inherited ‘The Lodge’ as we call it from his Uncle Philip who had married Ann Dade of Pettistree in 1670 but they had no issue (no children).

Further investigations led to the discovery of Hunn’s Will in the Record Office. Attached to this was a Codicil, which was entirely about the Mount and Hunn’s wishes for it.

What did the Codicil mean and why is it important?

This is the first mention of the Mount that has been found and it was obviously very important to Hunn Wyard by the way he treated it in his Will. On 8th February 1746 Hunn left everything that he had to his sister Susannah Tovell, in Parham, but he placed certain conditions on The Great Mount and the area surrounding it, some 4 acres called Mount Piece. If Susannah did not look after it she would forfeit all the lands left to her! These included lands in Pettistree, Earl Soham and Kettleburgh.

Any future owners must:

  1. Refer to it as Hunn Wyard’s Great Mount and Mount Piece
  2. Preserve it in good order and condition and not deface or demolish it

If these conditions could not be met it would go to ‘an honest and industrious poor man of Pettistree’, chosen by the majority of the Parishioners, for his lifetime. It then would pass to another industrious poor person. Failure to comply or following neglect it would go to an industrious poor person from Wickham Market. If no-one could be found, one from the County.

It seemed fairly obvious from this that it was created in the first half of the eighteenth century and was Hunn’s pride and joy, from which he could view his estate, including a deer park.

More knowledge was therefore needed about Mounts. The Suffolk Gardens Trust suggested Mr Edward Martin, Archaeological Officer in the Suffolk Conservation team and an expert on garden Canals and Mounts be approached, who proved to be very helpful in explaining historic garden features.

A Canal and a Mount are man-made features and usually go hand in hand. The Tudor garden originally introduced Mounts. Most likely the Canal was desired for fishing and the spoil from digging this (with shovels etc) created the Mount.

The ‘Great Mount of Pettistree’ became a focal point for viewing the countryside. There is evidence on the Mount of a spiral path leading to the top which could have been created as a means of depositing the spoil from the Canal on the top, perhaps by horse and tumbril.

The Mount measures 55m across at the base and is 7.9m high with a spiral walkway to its summit. On the top there may have been a structure, as there is a scatter of bricks and mortared flints. Further work would be needed to establish if anything had actually existed there. A former resident of the Lodge (born 1923 in Pettistree) recalled seeing evidence of some sort of structure on the top. Flanking the east side is the Canal 150m long and 12m wide.

Extract from 1873 Sale Catalogue of Pettistree Lodge

1873 map of The Mount.