Record Details

NHER Number:7739
Type of record:Building
Name:Swannington Hall


Swannington Hall is a complicated building, set within a large medieval moated site. The great hall, which has a fine ceiling, is thought to be the earliest part of the current structure and dates to around 1400. The building was heightened in brick at various times, and the façade has been Victorianised. The moat itself is known to have had various timber bridges of unknown dates. The hall is thought to have been the house of the Richers family, and excavation has indicated medieval period occupation on this site, and although no evidence of a medieval period building has been recorded, the linear features of a medieval garden or kitchen garden have been noted. In recent history it has been a licenced restaurant, but it is now a private residence.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 1387 1930
Map Sheet:TG11NW

Full description

Swannington Hall is a 15th century large moated manor site. Parts of walling are constructed in flint with medieval brick. The extant moat around the current hall may relate to the 12th century occupation of the site. The earliest phase of the current hall is probably the south wing incorporating fabric of the late 15th century. At the beginning of the 16th century, the hall was owned by the Richers family but it is clear that when John Richers wrote his will in 1501 the family had lived at the hall for some time. Later descendents of John Richers remodelled the hall approximately to its current configuration. Notable later occupants include the Bladwells and at times in its history, the Hall has been used as a farmhouse. There are many building campaigns apparent in the historic fabric of the building. For example the east elevation of the south wing contains flint walling below diapered brick work. The east face of the north wing and west face of the south wing were refronted probably in the 17th century. The west face of the north wing was refronted in the 19th century.
Compiled by E. Rose (NAU), 27 September 1985.
Revised by S. Howard (NLA), 14 October 2010.

12 March 1993. Site visit.
Moat cleared out revealing brick and timber foundations and post-built structures.
See report in file.
Compiled by D. Gurney (NLA), 15 March 1993.

Further information of building in 1993; it may be a medieval hall as stated, but whole structure could be of around 1540 with later alterations. Roof is certainly of same date as upper floor. Grand fireplace un-covered. Medieval stone blocks found in moat.
See extended report (S3) in file.
Compiled by E. Rose 2 April 1993.

13 July 1993. NLA aerial photography. (S4)
Photographs of Swannington Hall and moat.
Earthworks in vicinity of hall are likely to relate to garden features.
On the south side of the moat is a body of water, probably a fish pond.
S. Massey (NLA), 8 February 2001.

Architects plans (S5) 1984 and 1985, photos and press cuttings (S6) in file.

1997. Test Pitting and Building Survey.
Analysis of building concluded that it is all mid 16th century. Test pits revealed medieval/post medieval sherds, stained glass, animal bone and shell.
See report (S14) for further details.
E. Rose (NLA), 27 August 1999. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 2 March 2015.

January-February 2000. Excavation.
An excavation was undertaken in advance of rebuilding of the demolished northeast wing of Swannington Hall. An area of 245 metres square was excavated, revealing a number of pits and buried soils, with stratigraphically associated finds. It is likely that these represent occupational activity at various times from the medieval period through to the 20th century. No evidence was recorded for any major structure pre-dating the present (?15th/16th century) hall building.
See report (S7) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S12).
The associated archive has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2011.109).
Compiled by D. Gurney (NLA), 21 December 2000. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 12 May 2019.

April 2002. Trial Trenching and Excavation.
Excavation of eight trial trenches followed immediately by a full excavation of part of the evaluated area. From context 100.
The earliest objects found were residual flint flakes of possible Neolithic date and later Romano-British pottery sherds. A possible pit and ditch of medieval date were uncovered, along with a late medieval or post-medieval rectangular post-hole and beam slot built structure. Shallow medieval linear features probably marked garden or kitchen garden plots associated with the medieval manor house; they were cut by pits of post-medieval date.
See published article (S8) and draft report (S13) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S15).
A. Cattermole (NLA), 3 September 2004.

February 2003.
Many 'improvements' taking place. A new bridge across the moat to south is supported by massive brick piers set into the bank (around 1.5m). It is intended to build a substantial wall on the under side of the moat to east on the foundations of an existing structure. Moat in good condition with scrub free banks, water filled. Owner say that hardcore was removed from the north arm to east where a car park had been removed (laid by previous owner).
H. Paterson (A&E), 14 February 2003.

Management Statement, signed 1 March 2003.
Copy in office file (S9).
H. Paterson (A&E), 5 March 2003.

June 2010. Norfolk NMP.
Assessment of the aerial photographs for this site reveal no additional evidence for the moats to that which is recorded by the modern Ordnance Survey mapping and therefore no mapping was added as part of the NMP. The earthworks previously identified on oblique aerial photographs (S4) as possible fish ponds, see above, could not confidently be recorded from earlier aerial photographs of the site, for example (S10-S11) and were consequently not mapped. Assessment of these earlier aerial photographs also reveal that the garden features visible in the 1993 (S4) would appear to be partially still in use in the 1940s (S10).
S. Horlock (NMP), 25 June 2010.

Monument Types

  • HALL HOUSE? (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • MANOR? (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • MOAT (Medieval to 21st Century - 1066 AD? to 2100 AD)
  • PIT (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • ARCH (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BRIDGE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GARDEN FEATURE (Post Medieval to 21st Century - 1540 AD to 2100 AD)
  • GATEHOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GREAT HOUSE (Post Medieval to 21st Century - 1540 AD? to 2100 AD)
  • INN (Post Medieval to Late 20th Century - 1540 AD? to 1986 AD)
  • PIT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • POST HOLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • TIMBER FRAMED BUILDING (Post Medieval to 21st Century - 1540 AD? to 2100 AD)
  • WHARF (Post Medieval - 1540 AD? to 1900 AD?)

Associated Finds

  • NAIL (Undated)
  • OYSTER SHELL (Undated)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRICK (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOLLUSCA REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • STAINED GLASS (WINDOW) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOOK FITTING (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BOTTLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BRICK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CAME (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FOLDING KNIFE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FOLDING KNIFE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • JETTON (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SHOE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • VESSEL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • VESSEL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WINDOW GLASS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG1319 B-D,E,F.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1986. [Sale advertisement for Swannington Hall]. 31 January.
---Unpublished Document: Rose, E. (NLA). 1999. Building Report.. Building Report.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 11 NW 9 [4].
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 685.
---Photograph: JYF-JYH.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Photograph: CW14-17.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. 1985. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S2>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1263205.
<S3>Unpublished Document: Rose, E.. 1993. Building Report.. Building Report.
<S4>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1993. NHER TG 1319G-J (NLA 329/HGE19-21) 13-JUL-1993.
<S5>Illustration: Various. Various. Architectural plans.
<S6>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1986. Elizabethan hall could be hotel. 11 March.
<S7>Unpublished Contractor Report: Birks, C. 2000. Report on an Archaeological Excavation at Swannington Hall, Swannington. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 516.
<S8>Article in Serial: Whitmore, M. and Robertson, D. 2006. Excavations at Swannington Hall, 2002. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt I pp 97-104.
<S9>Unpublished Document: H. Paterson (A&E), MPP. Management Statement.
<S10>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1428 4149-50 16-APR-1946 (NMR).
<S11>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1964. RAF 58/6112 (F22) 0064-5 01-JAN-1964 (NMR).
<S12>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2001. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 2000. Norfolk Archaeology. XLIII Pt IV pp 707-728. p 726.
<S13>Unpublished Contractor Report: Whitmore, D. and Robertson, D. 2004. An Archaeological Excavation at Swannington Hall, Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 893.
<S14>Unpublished Contractor Report: Havercroft, A. 1997. Archaeological Test Pitting and Architectural Comment on Swannington Hall. The Guildhouse Consultancy.
<S15>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2003. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk, 2002. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt II pp 368-384. p 381.

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