The village once belonged to the Somerleyton Estate.
In 1240, a manor house was built on the site of Somerleyton Hall by Sir Peter Fitzosbert whose daughter married into the Jenergan family. The male line of the Fitzosberts ended, and the Jenergans held the estate until 1604 when John Wentworth bought it. He transformed Somerleyton Hall into a typical East Anglian Tudor-Jacobean mansion. It then passed to the Garney family. The next owner was Admiral Sir Thomas Allin, a native of Lowestoft. He took part in the Battle of Lowestoft (1665) and the Battle of Sole Bay at Southwold in 1672. Eventually the male of that family also died out.
Somerleyton Hall and Park were bought in 1843 by Sir Samuel Morton Peto who, for the next seven years, carried out extensive rebuilding. Paintings were specially commissioned for the house, and the gardens and grounds were completely redesigned. Peto employed Prince Albert's favourite architect.
In 1863 the Somerleyton estate was sold to by Sir Francis Crossley of Halifax, Yorkshire who, like Peto, was a philanthropist, a manufacturer, and a Member of Parliament. Sir Francis' son Savile was created Baron Somerleyton in 1916. The House is now held by the present Lord Somerleyton and inhabited by the family.