Record Details

NHER Number:314
Type of record:Building
Name:The Bell Hotel, Orford Hill


This 17th century building was altered and extended in 19th century. It was almost completely stripped of original features in late 20th century but the carriage entry with moulded jambs and a four centred arch survives. Renovations in 1976 discovered a dump of clay pipes beneath the concrete floor. Later in 1991, during structural work, archaeological investigations recorded the presence of the castle ditch below this property along with several post medieval wells.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 23108 08373
Map Sheet:TG20NW

Full description

1954. Listed, Grade II.
Listing Description Excerpt:
"Hotel. 17th century with 19th-century extensions and drastic 20th-century alterations. Rendered, red brick and pantile roofs. Irregular island site."
Information from (S1).
Please consult the National Heritage List for England (S1) for the current details.
P. Watkins (HES), 6 September 2017. Amended H. Hamilton (HES), 8 November 2019.

1973. Building Survey.
Royal Commission survey.
Range by range, block by block description of the original 17th-century building that is entirely encased in 19th century brickwork and rendered.
See report (S2) for further details.
T.E. Miller (NLA) 17 March 2004.

1976. Field Observation.
Renovation and conversion.
A dump of clay pipes found beneath the concrete floor (laid down in 1910).
Workmen also reported a story that when the floor was laid down a 'priest-hole' was discovered and filled - ?well/soak-away.

1977. Field Observation.
Work continued on the renovation and conversion, confined largely to the removal of concrete floors and not cutting through the modern makeup beneath.
M. Atkin (NCM).

17th century building, altered and extended in 19th century.
Almost completely stripped of original features in late 20th century.
Carriage entry with moulded jambs and a four centred arch survives
See brief description in thesis (S3), which considers the 13th- to 17th-century buildings of Norwich.
R. Smith. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 6 September 2017.

February 1991. Watching Brief.
Monitoring of trial holes excavated during structural work at Bell Hotel.
This work revealed the castle ditch below, and wells.
See report (S4) for further details, including the results of dynamic probe testing. See also record form (S5).
A. Shelley (NAU) 12 September 1991. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 19 October 2015.

See press cutting (S6) in file.
T. Sunley (NLA) 1 November 2007.

At Oak Cottage, Thorpe Market (NHER 14094) the front door, inserted in the 1980s, has a wave moulded frame of 16th- rather than 17th-century appearance which is said to come from the Bell Hotel. The house also contains a number of other items of architectural salvage.
E. Rose (NLA) 18 February 2000.

Monument Types

  • WELL (Unknown date)
  • WELL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • INN (16th Century to 21st Century - 1600 AD to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds

  • CLAY PIPE (SMOKING) (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 310.
---Publication: Rye, W.. 1916. Castles and Manor Houses From the Conquest to the Present Time. p 51.
---Record Card: NCM Staff. 1973-1989. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card - Norwich.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1051932.
<S2>Unpublished Report: Richmond, H. and Taylor, R. 1973. Bell Hotel, Oxford Hill. Building Report.
<S3>Thesis: Smith, R. 1990. An Architectural History of Norwich Buildings, c. 1200 - 1700. Unpublished Thesis. p 423.
<S4>Unpublished Report: Shelley, A. 1991. Bell Hotel Trial Holes.
<S5>Recording Form: Various. Norfolk Archaeological Unit Pro Forma Watching Brief Record Form. T64.
<S6>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1991. Bank will move to historic city hotel. 2 August.

Related records

Mon 1534Parent of: Inner ‘south bailey’ ditch (Ditch 9 -Castle Mall) (Monument)
Site 1690Parent of: The Bell Hotel, Orford Hill (Monument)
Site 1691Parent of: The Bell Hotel, Orford Hill (Monument)
Site 1692Parent of: The Bell Hotel, Orford Hill (Monument)
Site 2588Parent of: The Bell Hotel, Orford Hill (Monument)
Mon 836Parent of: The Bell Hotel, Orford Hill (Monument)
Site 1693Parent of: The Bell Hotel, Orford Hill T64 (Monument)
429Part of: Norwich Castle, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery (Monument)

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