Sheepcote Farm or Hall (TM 607). This map shows the farm in 1903.
. The 1469 will of John Lee mentions 3 acres in Thorney Sheepcote (ECA) and an early map names it as Sheepgate Hall .
In 1829 the Ipswich Journal advertised the sale of this property, being 236a 3r 30p and for nearly 50 years occupied by the Messrs Stearn. In the 1851 census Thos Stearn is aged 56, a farmer of 230 acres employing 16 men and 3 boys. The 1855 rate book gives the owner as Mr Henry Austin with Thos Stearn as occupier (ECA).
During the 1950’s Eric Stearn’s wife was President of the Stowupland and st Peter’s WI
By the 1970’s 7 farm barns were being used by George McDonald for storing and displaying china and glassware.
Then in n 1981 planning permission was sought to convert one barn into a dwelling.
In Rev AGH Hollingsworth’s ‘History of Stowmarket’ we are told a story of supernatural happenings at Sheepcote Hall (appendix 6, p247).
The Sexton’s father was apprentice to Winter of Ipswich (who was famous locally as a wizard). After this apprenticeship the father went as a servant to Major Whyte of Stowupland Sheepgate Hall.
The story told was that a farmer having lost some blocks of wood from his yard consulted Winter. It was agreed Winter would spend the night at the farmer’s house and the farmer would keep watch, Winter told him not to speak to anyone he saw. About midnight he saw a labourer who lived next door come into the wood yard and hoist a wood block on his shoulder. He left the yard and entered the meadow out of which there was a style leading to his garden, but the man he marched round and round the meadow unable to find the style or put down the block. Unable to stop or put down the block he was near ready to die from exhaustion, out of compassion Winter went up to the man and spoke to him thus dissolving the charm.