Our History

Rookery 5There was a house on this site in 1471-2 called ‘Elyanores’, with garden enclosed and a pightle (small piece of land) adjacent, in all there were about nine acres. The tenant at this time was William Jenney. Elyanores lay close to the tenement called “Sucklings”, this is now known as Rookery Farm.

Another house was built on this site by a Francis Foxe in 1542. The tenancy of this was taken on by John Reynolds. He died on 17th September 1571. Being succeeded by John Reynolds Junior.

The next tenant was Francis Foxe himself (the builder), he died 3rd October 1612. His son and heir John Foxe taking over the property in March 1614. His second wife was Margaret, daughter of Thomas Dade of Tannington. They had no children, but in his will he left the property to his brother in law.

Footage below shows the Rookery Park residents of the past.

John Foxe died in October 1652 and William Dade duly took over the property. William Dade’s death occurred in April 1660, being succeeded by his son Thomas Dade. Thomas then died on October 17th 1685, he also left it to his son Thomas, who was admitted to a copyhold, he then died in April 1698. The house was then left to his brother-in-law Thomas Mann.

The next tenant of the Rookery was an Admiral Vernon, who sold the house in 1729 for 2690 pounds to William Ingham. Under his will the estate passed to his nephew in 1734. He lived at the Rookery for 42 years, dying in 1776 unmarried.
He left the property to his partner in business Richard Crowfoot, who resided at the Rookery until his death on the 17th May 1793.

The estate was then sold to his son William Mumford. Near the end of Mr Mumford’s very short ownership of the Rookery Estate, one important thing happened to it. An order was made to close a bridle path off nearly a mile and a quarter in length from Middleton Road to a lane which joins the main road to Saxmundham now the A12.

Next in line came Robert Skelton former to Mr Mumford. He lost all his family at very young ages. He himself survived only ten years, dying in August 1808 at the age of 60.

Robert Howlett who purchased the estate after Skelton’s death was a very famous and practical agriculturist, he pulled down the house and built the present one, nearly on the same foundations. The dining room at the back being added 30 years later. Robert Howlett died 22nd may 1833 aged 69. For the next three years the house was occupied, but we are unable to identify the owners.

The next owner was Reverend Dr Roberts, Vicar of Yoxford, he occupied the house for the next five years.

After him came Robert Colmer. He died at the Rookery on the 2nd July 1842, Aged 56. In 1844 his two daughters were still resident there, after their departure the house was let to a Captain Meade.

In 1854 the house was the property of a mrs Walters, but was unoccupied.

Soon after Frederick Stanford formerly of the ‘Three Tuns’ pub in Yoxford became tenant for a few years. His third son was lost tragically at sea in a hurricane off the island of Mauritius, On the 6th February 1861 aged only 16. Mr Stanford died in 1866.

In 1867 the house was let to Charles Hugh Berners. He married soon after coming to the Rookery, and stayed for eighteen years.

After a period of vacancy, Mr Robert Carse Young, a brewer from Lowestoft succeeded Mr Berners at the Rookery. But this family did not remain many years.

The property was sold in 1896 to George Rose ESQ. He died in January 1899 at the age of 53. His successor Edward Leigh Heseltine appeared to be more permanent acquiring the whole estate. He improved the property spending money on the house and stables.

Mr F.S Lowe resided here in 1911, but left the parish in 1914, and the Rookery with 180 acres of park land was up for sale by auction, but it was withdrawn at 20,000 pounds.

Soon after it was purchased by Sir Henry Herbert Hambling. He was granted his knighthood in 1917 for his work on the board of directors of Barclays, and was awarded a Baronetcy in 1924 for his contributions to the development of civil aviation in England. He had been married twice. He died 19th January 1932, and was buried in Yoxford cemetery. His son Sir Herbert Guy Musgrave Hambling succeeded him. In 1911 he married Olive Margaret Gordon, daughter of Edwin Carter.
He had two daughters, Margherita born 1912, she married FL. Lieutenant Maurice Hare in 1937. And Molly Gordon, born 1915, also a son Herbert Hugh born 1919 and married on the 23rd September 1950 at Yoxford church, to Ann Page Oswold of Seattle USA.

Sir Guy died in 1966 aged 82, Sir Hugh then took over the estate until his death in 2010. The estate has since been taken over by Sir Hugh’s son Sir Peter Hambling with his wife Lorrie Hambling and their three son’s Colin, Austin and Mitchell.
The Rookery has now been with the Hambling family for almost 100 years.