Baylham House Farm is built on a Roman site consisting of two military forts and a large civilian settlement. Unfortunately there is nothing left to be seen on the ground but we there are some artefacts on display in the shop which have been dug up by the rabbits and badgers.
The forts were built at the junction of five Roman roads and on the tribal boundary between the Icene to the north, with their capital near Norwich, and the Trinovantes to the South whose capital was at Colchester. The site is a scheduled ancient monument and this does impose some limitations on farming.
The earliest part of the farm house has been dated as 16th Century. It was once the home of William Dowsing who, at the time of the puritan period under Oliver Cromwell, took it upon himself to rid Suffolk churches of what the puritans considered to be popery and idolatry. Dowsing kept thorough records and, if you go up to Baylham church with a copy of these, you can identify the results of what his men did. There are animal figures and a symbol of the trilogy on the font all of which have been defaced.
The farm later became part of the Shrubland Park estate owned by the ancestors of Lord de Saumarez who lived at Shrubland Hall, and Baylham House was used as the estate manager’s house. About sixty years ago, large areas of the estate were sold and Baylham House Farm became a small unit in its own right though subsequent changes in ownership have made it even smaller. The present farm is just under 50 acres but we have the use of several areas of additional grazing in the local area which allows us to keep quite a lot of livestock, moving them around as necessary.