A brief history of Holton

There have been settlements in the area around Halesworth since the earliest times.  A Roman road is believed to have gone from Dunwich to Halesworth and it crossed the river Blyth at Blyford, which adjoins Holton.  The road then turned westwards along the northern bank of the river towards Halesworth passing through Holton.

1st World War soldiers in Holton

Holton is mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086 AD, which records Holetuna which in Old English is a "farmstead near a hollow".  Development in medieval times was relatively small and the parish remained mainly agricultural with the village at its centre. During the First World War soldiers were billeted in the area.


A major change took place during World War II, when one of the largest airfields in East Anglia was built at Upper Holton. It became operational in 1943 and was the home of the American Air Force until 1945.  Glenn Miller and his orchestra entertained the airmen on the base here in August 1944.

The Halesworth (Holton) Airfield Memorial Museum was set up by local volunteers and now stands at the end of one of the runways on Sparrowhawk Road.  Outside there are three memorials, one to each of the main groups who were stationed there.

Click here to find out more about Holton Airfield Museum.

Holton Hall

The largest house in the area, Holton Hall, was demolished in 1957. There is no information on exactly when the original hall was built, but it was purchased by Andrew Johnston, Manager of Gurneys Bank in Halesworth, whose memorial plaque can be seen in Halesworth Church. In 1882 a fire destroyed the hall, but it was rebuilt the following year.  During World War II the house was taken over by the American Air Force as the Headquarters for Holton Airfield. Then in 1945 when they left, the Land Army Girls resided there until 1947. 

Today some of the grounds are occupied by mobile homes within a nature conservation area.