The house from a 1907 postcard
The house from an early 20th century postcard
Earlier Houses: There has been a manor house on, or near, the site of the current house since the 13th century.
House & Family History: Somerleyton is the poster child for new money emulating old. Sir Samuel Peto (his son was the famous landscape designer Harold Peto) made a fortune as a railroad contractor and property developer in the 19th century and was determined to show the world that he'd arrived. He took a small 17th century house and gargantuanized it into a Victorian house in the popular Jacobean style. Inside there is stained glass by Ballantyne of Edinburgh and over-the-top carving by Willcox of Warwick, complemented by work by Grinling Gibbons. In 1863 Somerleyton was sold to the Halifax carpet manufacturer Sir Francis Crossley, another man "in trade" who'd done very well for himself. Somerleyton features prominently in W.G. Sebald's 1995 novel, "The Rings of Saturn."
Collections: Somerleyton contains a fine collection of paintings, with works by Wright of Derby, Stanfield, and Landseer, the latter two artists' pieces set into paneling in the house's formal rooms. There is also an important collection of statues.
John Bernard (J.B.) Burke, published under the title of A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, among other titles: Vol. I, p. 38, 1852.
John Preston (J.P.) Neale, published under the title of Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, among other titles: Vol. IV, 1821.
Title: Burke's & Savills Guide to Country Houses, Volume III: East Anglia
Author: Kenworthy-Browne, John; Reid, Peter; Sayer, Michael; Watkin, David
Year Published: 1981
Publisher: London: Burke's Peerage
Book Type: Hardback
House Listed: Grade II*
Park Listed: Not Listed
Current Seat / Home of: Hugh Francis Savile Crossley, 4th Baron Somerleyton; Crossley family here since 1863.
Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT EARLIER HOUSES: Sir Peter Fitzosber, 13th century. SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: John Wentworth, early 17th century. Admiral Sir Thomas Allin, mid-17th century. Sir Samuel Morton Peto, 1844-63. Sir Francis Crossley, 1863-72; Savile Brinton Crossley, 1st Baron Somerleyton, until 1935; Francis Savile Crossley, 2nd Baron Somerleyton, until 1959.
Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home