Lilford Hall's place in American History


The Lilford Hall was home for over 40 years to Robert Browne (1550- 1633), the first separatist from the Church of England. Inspired by his teachings, the Pilgrims fled persecution during the reign of James I, sailing on the Mayflower to found the Plymouth Colony. Following in their footsteps, many other English dissidents would set sail for America and establish congregations in line with Brownist philosophy. Robert Browne has since been referred to as the Father of Congregationalism, Father of the Pilgrims and Grandfather of the Nation (USA).

Robert Browne and the PilgrimsPilgrims 


In many ways, Browne's position on Congregationalism stands at the heart of the American protestant tradition. The resultant working relationship between church and state, and the individual's right to be responsible for his own religous position is central to America's ideology and is part of Browne's legacy.

The Congregational MovementA congregational church 

WWII American Field Hospital

More recently, Lilford Hall was the home to the 303rd station hospital established by the American Airforce during the Second World War (very similar to the one dramatised in the fictional Downton Abbey).

This 1500 bed hospital helped more than 8000 men and wormen who served in the 303rd Bomb Group.

303rd Station HospitalAmerican WWII Hospital 

Clark Gable

One of the service men who visited the field hospital was Clark Gable, who also stayed at Lilford Hall whilst flying combat missions in order to make motion pictures about aerial gunners in action.

Clark GableClark Gable