NOSTALGIA: Ampton Hall – after the fire of 1885

Ampton Hall after the fire of 1885. From the Spanton Jarman collection
Ampton Hall after the fire of 1885. From the Spanton Jarman collection
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This image shows Ampton Hall immediately after the fire of 1885 which destroyed all of the original building, with the exception of the stables.

The owner at this time was John Paley, who was High Sheriff of Suffolk from 1889 to 1890.Mr Paley arranged for the burnt-down Ampton hall to be rebuilt in 1892. He directed the architect to design a building that resembled the original as closely as possible. It is believed that most of the contents of the hall were saved from the fire.

-- This picture is part of a remarkable collection of 4,000 photographs in the care of Bury St Edmunds Past and Present Society which offers a glimpse into the town’s history.

Taken by two families of professional photographers, the Spantons and the Jarmans, the images span a period from the 1860s through to the outbreak of World War Two. The fragile glass plate negatives were donated to the society in 1997 and in recent years many of these have been ‘digitised’ thanks to a Lottery grant and donations. They can be viewed at where you can also find details about membership and the group’s programme of events and lectures. The Spanton-Jarman collection is held at the Bury St Edmunds branch of the Suffolk Record Office. For more details about the Record Office, including its programme of talks and courses, visit