Pakenham History : The History of Nether Hall

"The History of Nether Hall and the Various Owners "
A short history written by W.R. Rayner
with kind permission given by his daughter Gill Applegate to publish on
the Pakenham -Village web site.

PAGE - 1

Nether Hall stands partly in Pakenham and partly in Thurston, the parish boundary running through the middle of the house. The main part of the Hall lies in Thurston, while the north wing, the coach house and stables and the Head Gardener's and the Head Coachman's houses are in Pakenham.

The old residents of Pakenham used to say that its name meant "Neither" Hall, because it is "neither" in Pakenham, nor in Thurston. The word "Nether", however, means "Lower". It was therefore the Nether, or Lower Hall as opposed to the Lord's, or "Superior" Hall of Pakenham, long in the possession of the Abbot of St. Edmundsbury, which formerly stood on a site near Pakenham wind mill.

The parish boundary, which runs through the Hall, is also the boundary between two local government districts. Thus the owner of Nether Hall is responsible for paying rates to both the St. Edmundsbury District Council and the Mid-Suffolk District Council. Before local government re-organisation the competing authorities were the Thingoe Rural District and the Thedwastre Rural District Councils. This unique situation posed problems for the Billeting Officers of the neighbouring parishes in the Second World War.

The Nether Hall estate extended deep into Thurston and only a small part of it lay in Pakenham. Thus the Manor Farm is situated almost a mile away in Thurston, while the Home Farm stands very near the Hall in Pakenham. Again, although Pakenham Church stands very near Nether Hall, the owners of the estate have always been closely associated with Thurston church the advowson and impropriation of which were awarded to the purchasers of the Estate after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII.

The origin of the Nether Hall Estate, and the anomalous situation of the Hall athwart a parish boundary can be traced back to the early Anglo-Saxon settlement of Pakenham. The village takes its name from one Pacca, an Anglo-Saxon, who settled on the hill where Pakenham church now stands above the waters of Pakenham Fen. The discovery of many Anglo-Saxon remains, notably that of a bone-toothed comb in the old school garden in the 1950's, testify to the authenticity of the site.