Hackney: beloved by hipsters now, but back in Tudor times it was a delightful village favoured by the well-connected for their country retreats.  Sir Ralph Sadleir was one of those men.  Fans of WOLF HALL will know him better as Rafe Sadler, secretary to Thomas Cromwell.  Ralph, Rafe, call him what you will, built a large house known as Bryk Place.  Now the house is known as Sutton House and is under the stewardship of the National Trust.


Linenfold paneling oozes expense.  Wood is carved to resemble the folds of linen.  Sutton House has a room lined with stuff.  Only two other buildings in the London area have linenfold paneling dating back to the sixteenth century, the others are Westminster Abbey and Hampton Court.  Rafe was obviously doing alright for himself.  It is easy to imagine Rafe and Cromwell chatting to each other in this room.


Elsewhere in the house, the story of its many uses over the years is told.  It has been a boarding school for young ladies, a church institute and a squat.  Up in the attic, a mattress on the floor and exuberant wall paintings are testament to the tenure of the squatters.  Although the National Trust has owned the building since 1938, it was initially leased out to a variety of charities and public services.   Restoration and public access only started in the 1990’s.   It is well worth hopping on either a 38 bus or the Overground to visit Hackney and Sutton House.


2-4 Homerton High Street, London E9 6JQ
Admission: Adult £6.00, Children £3.00
Open:  Wednesday-Sunday 12-5pm




  1. March 30, 2016 / 2:03 pm

    When I eventually visit England, this is the kind of thing I
    want to see.

  2. Wander Mum
    May 31, 2016 / 12:03 pm

    I love all the wooden paneling! It’s really interesting to hear what Hackney was like all those years ago! I’ve never ventured over to Sutton house but should perhaps pay it a visor.

  3. May 31, 2016 / 2:47 pm

    I loved Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies so I’d be really interested to see Sutton House. Thanks so much for sharing your visit at #citytripping

    • May 31, 2016 / 9:30 pm

      ooh me too. Those books are so atmospheric and I liked the screen adaptation too. Would love to see some of the real life locations in person.

  4. May 31, 2016 / 10:27 pm

    I have always read about linenfold panelling and never quite known what it was so thank you for the explanation – and great to see the photo as well. I loved Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies, so I’m very tempted one day to hop on a train across London and check it out for myself. It’s somewhere I’ve seen on National Trust maps of properties but never knew much about it. #citytripping

  5. laurasidestreet
    June 1, 2016 / 10:55 pm

    Oh wow this place sounds really interesting and had actually never heard of it before despite being a big fan of National Trust properties. I must visit this when I can – thanks for sharing

    Laura x

  6. June 5, 2016 / 6:06 pm

    The panelling is fun, but I think I’d be just as fascinated by the squat remnants. How fun they have kept it as a reminder than not every house in their stables has been passed down until the upkeep of a giant house required more money than mere landowning could support.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: