An artist’s home

Benton End is a Grade II* listed 16th century, half-timbered house, situated on the edge of the historic market town of Hadleigh, Suffolk. The house enjoys a commanding position overlooking the Brett Valley.

Benton End was the home of Cedric Morris – an important figure in the worlds of both art and horticulture. The house and garden where he lived with his partner Lett Haines for four decades from 1940 served as a home, an art school, a place for creative self-expression and at various times, a residential medical centre offering gardening and horticultural therapy, and as an important site in queer history, offering a safe space for persecuted gay men. Benton End brought together a rich array of people from a range of disciplines – including art, horticulture, cuisine, literature and illustration – who came to study, to garden or to socialise. 

Benton End was a sanctuary for a diverse range of influential artists, writers, musicians, and botanists of the 20th century. Morris made a garden as influential in its day as Sissinghurst for its freedom of form and planting; it became one of the first modern gardens of naturalistic design, developed as it was for the study of the unusual plants Morris chose with his keen artist’s eye.

Photo courtesy of Keith Mirams, shared by Jane Thorley
Text courtesy of Lucy Skellorn