Record Details

NHER Number:4821
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of Didlington Hall

Summary

Originally a 17th century mansion, this building was extended in the 18th and early 19th centuries, before being greatly enlarged in the Italian style by Lord Amherst in 1856.The grounds of the hall were very large, and included a vinery, peach and pineapple houses, boathouses and lakes, a deer park, a swimming pool and two museums.
This was one of the great halls of the time, and was visited on several occasions by Royalty. Regretably, after military occupation in World War Two, the hall itself was demolished in 1950, and its exotic contents auctioned off. However, the stable range remains, and is now the occupied house. Also remaining are some of the grounds buildings, including a Neoclassical swimming pool in the style of a temple house, a folly, several boathouses and the lakes, which have become a haven for wildlife.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TL 77923 96830
Map Sheet:TL79NE
Parish:DIDLINGTON, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

Former seat of Lord Amhurst. According to (S4) only a tower and colonnade remain. It states the house was destroyed by fire, though a cutting of 1950 in the Bolingbroke Collection NCM shows an Italianate water tower being pulled down and says the house has been demolished. It was mostly Georgian, but incorporated older sections; a marble chimneypiece was said to come from St Peter's in Rome.
D. Jones reports an icehouse on the east of the house site, domed.
Icehouse is small and well preserved, with spaces for three doors in the tunnel, but the chamber is partly infilled. A hole in the roof is covered by a tin. Details supplied by [1].
Story of a second ice-house, but this is perhaps a confusion with the grottoes, pumphouse etc in the grounds.
For the icehouse formerly under this number see NHER 34562.
E. Rose (NAU), 15 October 1982.

Photo taken in about 1930, published in (S1) shows garden front of five bays, the end bays being on two storey corner pavilions, and central bay projecting; above three centre bays are attics on a half storey; parapets on centre and pavilions have balustrades. Rusticated quoins. Central Venetian window on upper floor; to each side segmented and pointed pediments to windows, straight hoods to inner bays on ground floor. Later 18th century.
E. Rose (NAU), 19 October 1982.

A well-carved 16th century staircase in Foulden Hall is said to come from here according to 1985 listing of Foulden (Didlington remains not listed).
E. Rose, 4 April 1986.

See report in file by [2] who says house was first erected in the 17th century, extended in 1774 and 1816 and greatly enlarged in 1856 by Lord Amherst. Some trees in the park were said to have been planted in 1688. The south lake is a 19th century addition.
E. Rose (NLA), 22 October 1993.

Panelling and dog kennels at Barton Bendish Hall are said to come from here.
Ref 3 states that the stone was brought by ship to Lynn and then up river because rail transport was too expensive.
E. Rose (NLA), 30 January 2001.

25 July 1996. NLA air photography.
Clearance of trees to west of house has revealed the lines of old hall buildings or garden features.
S. Massey (NLA), 22 November 2001.

January 2004.
The stable court of 1914 is now the occupied house. The site of the hall has been cleared by the owners revealing extensive foundations of 19th century bricks, and central cellars of the same date; the bricks are impressed WATW for William A T Amherst and HFS for Henry Francis Smith, a later owner, also TLD, WESTBRICK, HBBARD and MC. One wall sent in from the south front however is of 17th century brickwork and this must be the foundation of the hall dating to about 1630 which was of two storeys with projecting bays at the ends of the façade; this was encased by the 19th century extensions; then the building was extended eastwards in about 1900 by Norman Shaw, (a famous architect of the time); the water tower mentioned above was remodelled then. Large fragments of the stone pediments also remain and these may be of artificial stone. A squash court, later a swimming pool still stands and has an iron framed roof. There is indeed some evidence of burning (see above) but most of the hall was demolished after military occupation during World War Two. The museum of Egyptian sculpture where Howard Carter (Egyptologist) is said to have worked as a boy was sold to the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
The present owners have documents referring to stone coming via rail to Brandon Station.
A fireplace from the hall is in a house at South Wootton.
E. Rose (NLA), 29 January 2004.

Monument Types

  • GREAT HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ICEHOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TL7796 E-H,K-T; TL7897 B-D.
---Publication: Shell Guide.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. Photograph of Didlington Hall (reprint). 22 August.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1999. Victorian bed with royal connection fails to find buyer. 5 June.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. Down Memory Lane. 24 July.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1999. Famous names once visited this elegant Norfolk hall. 30 July.
---Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1992. Glory of bygone age. 4 August.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TL 7796U - Z.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2008. The ghosts of a faded grandeur. 29 November.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2008. The ghosts of a faded grandeur. 29 November.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Didlington.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
<S1>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1982. Gardener's memories. 18 October.
<S2>Serial: Davison, A.. 1994. Didlington.. The Annual. No 3, p 17.
<S3>Monograph: Wilson, R. & Mackley, A.. 2000. Creating paradise: the building of the English country house, 1660-1880.. p 179.

Related records

40826Parent of: Falconer's Lodge, High Ash (Building)

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