Record Details

NHER Number:40826
Type of record:Building
Name:Falconer's Lodge, High Ash

Summary

A 19th century hunting lodge. It is a tall building with battlements, constructed of brick and knapped flint. There is a low (probably later) building attached. Once owned by the Didlington Hall estate, it is said that the lodge was used to fly falcons at herons in the 19th century.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TL 80617 97332
Map Sheet:TL89NW
Parish:DIDLINGTON, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

Tall tower like building with battlements.
On three sides, walls arranged as two orders of blank lancets of yellow brick surrounding knapped and squared flint; north and south walls have central window on upper floor, west wall has pointed doorway at centre. East wall all rendered, rising above a low attached house perhaps of later date. Now boarded up.
(S1) states that this was a tower used for flying falcons at herons in the 19th century when owned by the Didlington Hall estate, before the forestry plantations were made. It is on a hilltop.
E. Rose (NLA), 11 October 2004.

(S2) states almost entirely rebuilt in modern materials since the above visit. [1].
E. Rose (NLA), 25 July 2006.

April 2007. Listed Grade II.
Falconry lodge, now house. Circa 1814 with additions of 1901 and later. Knapped flint, gault brick and render, with copper roof. The cottage is in red brick with pantile roof. The tower is in a Moorish or Arabian-Gothic style, possibly alluding to the origins of falconry in the Middle East and its link with the Crusaders, who are credited with introducing falconry to England.
In 1814 Colonel Robert Wilson of Didlington Hall, later 9th Lord Berners, became President of the Confederate Hawks of Great Britain (known as The Falconers' Club). Lord Berners had Falconer's Lodge built on his estate at Didlington in around 1814, and it became the centre of formal falconry in Britain.
In 1846 the Didlington estate was sold to William Powlett, and in 1852 to W.G. Tyssen-Amherst. Falconer's Lodge was used for picnics and entertainment on shooting parties. The Amherst family kept a stable, including a Derby winner, and the approach to the Lodge was converted into a horse-training ground known as the Long Gallop. The Lodge served as an observatory to monitor the progress of horses under training.
During the Second World War the estate was requisitioned by the Army, and the Lodge served as officers' accommodation for the 7th Armoured Division (the Desert Rats). Didlington Hall suffered damage through army use and was demolished in 1950. Falconer's Lodge became a private residence. By the 1960s it had become so obscured by the growth of Thetford Forest that an article in Norfolk Fair magazine claimed it had been demolished. In 2005-6 restoration and alteration works were carried out to enable the Lodge's continued use as a private residence.
See (S3) for further information.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 12 November 2009.

Monument Types

  • FALCONRY (Post Medieval - 1814 AD to 1838 AD)
  • HUNTING LODGE (Post Medieval to Modern - 1846 AD to 1901 AD)
  • HORSE EXERCISE RING (Post Medieval to Modern - 1852 AD to 1901 AD?)
  • ESTATE COTTAGE (Modern - 1901 AD to 1911 AD)
  • OFFICERS QUARTERS (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • HOUSE (World War Two to Modern - 1945 AD to 2050 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

<S1>Verbal communication: Sutcliffe, E.. 2004. 7 October.
<S2>Verbal communication: Sutcliffe, E.. 2006. 24 July.
<S3>Scheduling record: English Heritage. List of Buildings of Historical and Architectural Interest.

Related records

4821Part of: Site of Didlington Hall (Monument)

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