How did probably the longest Tudor barn in Suffolk discover itself to be the perfect place for wedding celebrations?
Owner, Caroline Spurrier, will tell you that it all started with a little friendly persuasion back in 2012. And the rest, as they say, is history. But then there seems to be quite a historic connection with the Crow’s Hall great barn and weddings…
When Sir Charles Framlingham inherited Crow’s Hall in 1559, he set about building a grand moated manor house on a site which today is believed to go back to Anglo-Saxon times. No doubt keen to wed, he got on the with job quickly enough to have a fitting enough home to take a wife in 1561. (If you want to come face-to-face with the happy couple, you’ll find their effigies on top of their smart tomb in a the mighty medieval church of St Mary Magdalene down the road in Debenham!)
At that time, Sir Charles also extended an existent building at the site – the great 15th century long barn. Who knows if it ever had anything to do with parties or local wedding celebrations back then, but it is nice to imagine it having a dual life of some sort as it does today – blending agricultural use with private and public festivities.
Find out more – history of Crow’s Hall »
Today, Caroline Spurrier is often asked how long she has been hosting weddings in Crow’s Hall great barn, a building described by one set of delighted wedding guests as ‘majestic and venerable’. Having only purchased the property herself relatively recently and then carrying out extensive programmes of renovation before she could settle in to her new home, it is perhaps not surprising that she is also often asked whether purchase and the proposition to host weddings went hand in hand.
Caroline explains: “The first Crow’s Hall wedding was for Paul and Louise on 30th June 2012. Louise’s parents persuaded me into hiring the Suffolk barn venue to them for the reception, having seen it at the Crow’s Hall Country Fayre in 2011.
The reason behind my reticence was primarily that the thought had never occurred to me. Secondly, although I knew how to organise a large party and had had quite a bit of past experience with major fund raising events, the thought of being responsible for what’s probably one of the most important days in two people’s lives simply filled me with extreme worry! Furthermore though, I was becoming aware of the increasing commercialisation of the wedding industry – and that was not something I particularly wanted to be involved with.”
Paul and Louise hired Caroline’s venue. With support, encouragement and kindness, they successfully organised exactly the wedding that they wanted, exactly how they wanted it, and Caroline was convinced that sharing the home and farm that she had put so much effort into renovating and loved back to life, could bring a whole host of wonderful rewards for everyone.
“Crows Hall is not primarily a wedding venue which is what makes it totally unique and apart from the rest. It is a private home and a working farm. It is therefore not licensed for the legal ceremony, but then we do have some stunning local churches and venues for that part – what we do have, which are very much used and appreciated are many beautiful areas for blessing ceremonies.
The Hall is a stunning, beautifully restored 16th century small manor, surrounded by a large moat with delightful gardens. It makes the most idyllic home, situated within its own working farm with panoramic views of rolling Suffolk countryside. Therefore, each wedding at Crow’s Hall is started from scratch, as if it would be from your own home.
We have, however, made some major, but very subtle modifications to make the venue capable of almost anything! The 16th century granary barn has had a biomass heating system installed in 2014 and a beautiful new oak beamed roof in 2017. There are good water and power supplies to most areas where marquees and glamping can take place, and the power supply in the barn allows for unrivalled lighting. During the autumn and winter months, the historic barn goes back into its agricultural use, then to be cleared, cleaned and re-carpeted each spring. “
With Caroline’s previous experience in event management and having watched many weddings set up at Crow’s Hall, she now feels quite confident and qualified to offer guidance in all directions of the venue set-up, giving as much or as little input as required to each individual bride and groom. What’s more, she has built up a wonderful database of really good local suppliers to share with couples and is always open to meeting more.
“From the beginning, all we do here is charge a one-off hire fee for the venue. It’s important to note that there are no further commission charges – not even corkage! We want our couples and their friends and families to enjoy the very best experience and create the most wonderful memories here at Crow’s Hall, so we are happy to organise and liaise with suppliers as much or as little as required as part of our service.
Ultimately, the average cost of a wedding at Crow’s Hall is fairly average, but the wedding itself is way beyond average! We have a wonderful team here, backed up of course, by a good team of horses and dogs! “
For a chat about your wedding requirements at Crow’s Hall, contact Caroline now»