Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet

Dunstead (Bures) and its links with Kersey

Published 9th Oct 2016

Whilst visiting Kersey, I was intrigued to read an article in the Church, which linked the village to Bures.

During the early 1920`s a property beside the Ford was dismantled and rebuilt at Bures
kersey church press cutting

Considering in those days with no heavy haulage vehicles,
transporting a large property to Bures along country lanes was a magnificent achievement

However, research indicates that the land on which it was to stand at Bures before the 1920`s,
had previous occupants.

tithe Map 1870
Tithe map of 1837,
indicating three parcels of Land named "Dunsted

Bury Free Press cutting

Advertisement in the Bury Free Press, April 9th 1870

Offering For Sale a "Desirable Small Farm on three parcels of land "

This confirms the land had previous occupants.


press cutting

Courtesy of Anne Maltby’s history of Kersey, “Kersey Within Living Memory”

Bouttell’s Farm was a medieval farmhouse with farm buildings, including maltings, sheds and a large barn. In the 1920s, Bouttell’s was purchased by the Rt Hon Harry Balfour, then carefully dismantled and moved to Bures, where it was renamed “Dunstead House”. Bouttell’s remaining outbuildings were remodelled in 1927 to create Ayres End.

Reference:- http://kersey.suffolk.cloud/local-history/kersey-1900-1945/

This property stood in the garden of "Ayres End", which was the home of the famous author Ralph Hammond Innes.
Ralph lived most of his life in Kersey until he died during June 1998, aged 84.

Image of Kersey


The name of the property most probably derived from a family in Kersey.

Benjamin BOUTELL was born about 1798 in Kersey, Suffolk, England.
He was married to Elizabeth THOMPSON on 28 Oct 1823 in Ovington, Norfolk, England. Children were: Benjamin BOUTTELL.

Image supplied courtesy of Yvonne Martin, Kersey Village Recorder.


Press Cutting (right) possibly taken from the EADT, date unknown
This is an advertisement by Savilles for the sale of Dunstead.

It refers to the original owner, Mr Balfour.

The clue to finding Mr Balfour in Bures, was in the GPO Telephone Directory of 1925
He was listed as Telephone Number 15.
Location:- Sudbury Rd




Boutelle image

It was also very interesting to find out if any Boutelles lived in Bures, having a connection with the relocation of the house from Kersey

Ancestry revealed that only one Boutell lived in Bures and that was Charlotte, who lived along the Sudbury Rd within walking distance of Dunsteads.
Further Ancestry research, revealed numerous Boutells in Wiston, which is our adjacent parish towards Nayland

NAME: Charlotte Boutelle
BIRTH: abt 1868 - Wiston, Suffolk, England
RESIDENCE: 1881 - Bures St Mary, Suffolk, England

Census 1881

1881 Census Page

However Charlotte was living with her Grandfather, Edward Everitt and his daughter Amelia
Why was she there in 1881 aged only 13 ?
Possibly because Edwards wife Martha had died and he required assistance to run the house - it was quite usual in those days for girls as young as Charlotte to be put to work as a servant or housemaid

So any connection between Charlotte and the Boutells house was not substantiated


Autobiography of Mr Balfour

RT Hon. Harry Robert Chichester Balfour was born on 31 October 1882 in Scotland
He was the son of John Blair Balfour, 1st Baron Kinross and Hon. Marianne Eliza Moncreiff.
He married Dorothy Constance Chetwynd, daughter of Henry Goulburn Willoughby Chetwynd and Eva Constance Elizabeth Fanny Berney, in London on 20 October 1921.
Dorothy born 1895

He was educated at Cheltenham College, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire,
He graduated from Balliol College, Oxford University, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, in 1905 with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
He graduated from Christ's College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, with a Master of Arts (M.A.)
He fought in the First World War, where he was wounded. He gained the rank of Captain in the service of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Scots
He was Clerk of the House of Commons and Home Office.

Extracted from "The Peerage"

Children of Hon. Harry Robert Chichester Balfour and Dorothy Constance Chetwynd

Three children were born to the couple.
Elizabeth b 1922 :- b Dec 22 1922, d Dec 22 1922 ( listed as Sudbury, but this is also the BMD registration office)
Hillary Joan b 1924 :- b Bures
Anthony b 1925: -birthplace as yet unknown, but probably Bures ( listed as Sudbury, but this is also the BMD registration office)

Unfortunately, I cannot find any details of when the family moved away from Dunstead to a new location. ( see below)
Ancestry and searching the net, gives no information his next residence

Harry Balfour died on 11 December 1964 in Oxford aged 82.
Buried in Edinburgh

Constance Balfour died 1963 in Oxford,
Buried in Edinburgh

Harry Balfour married Dorothy Chetwynd in 1921 in London, as his first child Elizabeth was born the following year they may well have moved to Bures during 1921/1922
Child, Hillary Joan Balfour born in 1924 at Bures


This is a Grade 2 listed building located along the B1508 Sudbury Road.

It is described as:-
A fine timber-framed house which originally stood in Kersey but was carefully dismantled and in 1926 was removed to its present site and re-assembled exactly as it was.

Built on an L shaped plan with wings extending to the north-east and south-east. There is a cross wing at the south-east end. 2 storeys and attics.

The main block (the south-east wing) was probably a late C15 hall house with a floor and fireplace inserted in the C16.
Part of the south-west front of the main block is jettied on the upper storey on exposed joists.
The house has mainly plaster infil but under the jetty on the south-west front there is brick nogging.
The north-west end of the main block is also jettied on the upper storey on exposed joists and with brick nogging on the ground storey.
The ground storey has been given extra height by raising it on a brick plinth.
The interior has good moulded ceiling beams and joists and three original doorways with fine carved spandrels.

Reference:- British Listed Buildings


Street View Sudbury Rd

Dunsteads is located down a private drive with no public access.
It cannot be seen from the roadway, so please respect its privacy.

Photographs of "Dunstead (Dunster) taken by P.L. Palmer 1958
Reproduced under licence (5648_10583) from Historic England

Visit England Places for further images of Bures



Harry Balfour must have come across a George Balfour, another sitting MP from 1918 - 1941
Harry was born in Kinross, whilst George Balfour in his younger days worked in a Foundry at Dundee, only 35 miles apart.
George was later to become the founder of Balfour Beatty, todays Construction Conglomerate

Were they related ?

Who were the occupants after Mr and Mrs Balfour ?

(a) Harry Balfour and family most probably vacated the property between 1935 and 1937:-

Harry Balfour in 1935, listed as a Candidate
For what unknown ?

Harry Balfour listed in the 1935, Kelly`s Trade Directory

another entry for 1935 show his occupation as "Fruit Farmer"

No entry appears in the 1937 edition of the Directory

In 1939, Dunsteads was offered For Sale.
So did the Balfours vacate the property between 1935 and 1939 - unresolved.

Possibly purchased by Albert & May McCracken

Electoral Roll 1945 Registered inhabitants
Albert McCracken
May McCracken (wife)
Emma Cory (Emma and Edith possibly house domestics)
Edith Horne

Owned by Lieut. Colonel John Todhunter and his wife Angela, who purchased the property from the M
cCrackens in the early 1950`s
John sadly passed away 1989 and the house was put on the market with Savills of that year
Possibly not sold until 1990.
Angela Todhunter moved up to Argyll to live near her daughter and family

Link to additional information.

Circa 1990
Mr and Mrs P Kemble

The Peerage
Leigh Alston
and not forgetting Yvonne Martin who is researching the Kersey connection
Janet Brown daughter of Lt Col John Todhunter

Published 08/10/2016 ver 1
Tithe map update ver2 09/10/2016
Updated 03/02/2017
with 1945 Electoral Roll
Any corrections to this text will be gratefully received

24/02/2017 Acknowledgement to Historic England for the supply of the 1958 images of Dunstead