Record Details

NHER Number:13263
Type of record:Building
Name:The Bell Inn, King Street


This two storey timber-framed Inn was first mentioned in 1493 and continued as a principal coaching inn on the London-Norwich post until 1845, when the railway reached Thetford. From 1845 onward it has served as a hotel. The main block of the hotel, facing King Street, was constructed in the 15th century. The upper storey is jettied, a carriage arch has been preserved at the ground floor, and wattle and daub panelling has been exposed in the interior. A southern two storey extension with a dormer attic was constructed in the 17th century, a further two storey extension was added in the 19th century, and a ground floor passageway was constructed on the west façade in the late 20th century. In the interior of the hotel, a 15th century wall painting is preserved in the first floor western room.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TL 8692 8311
Map Sheet:TL88SE

Full description

The Bell Inn, King Street. Listed Building.
Coaching inn, now hotel. Mid C15 with C17 extensions and later alterations. Mid C15 main block facing King Street, C17 extensions to south. Rendered and colourwashed timber-frame. Machine tile roofs. North façade in 2 storeys, the upper floor jettied. Ground floor with heavy scantling studs on a brick and flint plinth. Corner braces to west support dragon beams. Carriage arch set to left now with C20 doors. To left a C19 cross casement, to right a late C19 canted bay window with sashes and four C18 6/6 sashes right of this. 7 sash windows to first floor, all with 8/8 glazing bars, except for centre 3 which have 6/6 glazing bars. Gabled roof, hipped to west, carrying 4 saw-toothed C19 ridge stacks. Rear of this wing faces inner courtyard. C19 extension through 2 storeys fitted with 3 mid C20 three-light cross casements. Later entrance to right. C17 wing of 2 storeys and dormer attic. Late C20 ground-floor passageway added to west façade. 2-light cross casements to first floor and two C20 windows. 5 hipped dormers, of which the 2nd and 5th from left are C20 additions. Gabled roof with ridge stack left of centre and a truncated internal gable-end stack to north. External junction of the 2 ranges filled with a C19 range of one-storey and dormer attic: C20 ground-floor fenestration and 2 through-eaves hipped dormers with casements. Gabled machine tile roof.
INTERIOR: cellar with 2 re-used tie beams with hollow chamfers and roll and hollow fillets. Former carriage arch, now main pedestrian entrance, with engaged colonnettes with scalloped capitals rising to arched braces and wall arches. Internal arch with hollow chamfers, external one with knuckle braces. West of this is an external gallery, now internal following C19 extensions to courtyard: wall posts with arched braces support jetty with, at first floor, a formerly open gallery giving access to first-floor rooms. Ground-floor north range now the main bar. Very heavy scantling to timber-frame formerly with arched braces rising to bridging beams. South wall with 4-centred arch. Internal staircase is C20, external stairs now gone. First-floor west room with C16 wall-painting of arches, painted as a perspective exercise. Upper gallery with a fragment of exposed wattle and daub, the wattles tied with twisted grass string. Timber-frame with hollow-chamfered braces to tie beams. Main roof C20. C17 wing with spine beam decorated with sunk-quadrant mouldings and 2 fillets. Celebrated coaching inn first mentioned in 1493. Remained as a principal coaching inn on the London-Norwich post until 1845 (arrival of railway).
See (S1) for further details.
E. Rose (NLA) 29 March 1994.
Updated H. Hamilton (NLA), 11 August 2008.

The Bell Inn was mentioned in 1493. The present timbering could be 15th century.
Wattle and daub panelling exposed. Good cellars. Galleries, formerly open, now enclosed by a wall.
Information from (S2).

Ordnance Survey says King Street wing is original; other wing 17th century refaced 19th century, right wing modern. Has Tudor wall paintings.
Information from (S3).

Plan of proposed alterations to the ground floor in file (S3).
E. Rose (NLA), 12 February 2007.

Monument Types

  • CELLAR (Medieval to Modern - 1493 AD? to 2050 AD)
  • COACHING INN (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1493 AD? to 1845 AD)
  • INN (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1493 AD? to 1845 AD)
  • JETTIED HOUSE (Medieval to Modern - 1493 AD? to 2050 AD)
  • TIMBER FRAMED BUILDING (Medieval to Modern - 1493 AD? to 2050 AD)
  • HOTEL (Post Medieval to Modern - 1845 AD to 2050 AD)

Associated Finds

  • WALL PAINTING (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1500 AD to 1599 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TL8683 ACR.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S1>Scheduling record: English Heritage. List of Buildings of Historical and Architectural Interest.
<S2>Archive: Bolingbroke Collection.
<S3>Archive: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S4>Graphic material: Various. Various. Architectural plans.. 2006.

Related records - none

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