Record Details

NHER Number:6561
Type of record:Monument
Name:Remains of Baconsthorpe Castle and Baconsthorpe Hall

Summary

15th century flint-faced fortified manor house and tower surrounded by a moat (Baconsthorpe Castle) built by the Heydon family. An outer gatehouse (Baconsthorpe Hall) outside the moat was added in 1560 when the older buildings were converted into a factory producing woollen yarn. There are undated earthworks of formal gardens. The buildings were partially demolished in 1654 to provide building material for nearby Felbrigg Hall and are now in ruins, although the outer gatehouse was lived in until 1920. Excavations of the moat in the 1950s recovered large amounts of post medieval pottery. Further excavation in 1972 also recovered medieval metal finds and a Venetian glass pouring vessel in the shape of a fantastic bird that is now in Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery.

Images

  • Baconsthorpe Castle during celebrations for its 500th anniversary  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • Baconsthorpe Castle during celebration for its 500th anniversary  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • Baconsthorpe Castle  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • The inner gatehouse of Baconsthorpe Castle  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • The outer gatehouse of Baconsthorpe Castle  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • Aerial photograph of Baconsthorpe Castle.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service

Location

Grid Reference:TG 1214 3811
Map Sheet:TG13NW
Parish:BACONSTHORPE, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

Site of Wood Hall Manor. Fortified house ('castle') 1480-6 in three stages. Outer gatehouse, known as The Hall, about 1560. Used as wool factory. Alterations 17th-19th centuries. 16th century barn. Earthworks of formal garden, moat.
Demolished 1654 and material used for Felbrigg Hall.

Pre-1960.
Roman intaglio found.

1953-1954. Excavation of site.
16th century pottery.

1972. Further excavation.
Venetian glass vessel.
Medieval metal objects.
See full details in file and (S1).
E. Rose (NLA) 19 October 1995.

2006.
Human bone found in molehill.
E. Rose (NLA), 4 September 2006.

Licence to crenellate granted 24 November 1561.
Information from (S2).

July 2007. Watching brief.
Several fragments of building material were recovered from shallow holes excavated prior to erection of information panels.
See (S3) and (S4) for further details.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 31 October 2007.

October 2008.
There is now a downloadable audio tour of the site by English Heritage (S5).
See www.english-heritage.org.uk/freesitesunlocked
D. Gurney (NLA), 13 October 2008.

Historic building report.
The castle was founded by John Heydon I in c. AD 1450 and was completed by his son Sir Henry in AD 1486. It has only recently been described as a 'castle' rather than 'hall'. The site is an important example of a late medieval quadrangular moated site. The reduced walls which follow the line of the moat have arrow loops, gun ports and turrets. Only the gatehouse survives of the original buildings that existed within the enclosure. The inner gatehouse was used for residential purposes and retains some of its original facing of knapped white flints with the core work of a mixture of flint and brick. The façade has a slight two-storey central advancement which presumably housed a mechanism for the drawbridge and portcullis. It had a tierceron-vaulted gateway of which one bay survives and spacious first and second floor rooms with large fireplaces and two and three light stone mullion windows with arched lights. Sir Christopher Heydon added the outer gatehouse in AD 1551 and part of this survives having been converted into a house in the 17th century. The four-centred carriageway arch survives to the rear elevation and an octagonal turret stands against the east gable-end topped with an ogee dome with little Renaissance blind lunettes. A relatively accurate drawing of the castle exists on one of the two Norfolk Armada maps prepared by Yorke in the 1580s in anticipation of the Spanish Armada is kept at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.
See (S6) for further information.
S. Howard (NLA), 15 June 2010.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BARN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MANOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GARDEN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GREAT HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • HOE (Unknown date)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Unknown date)
  • LADLE (Unknown date)
  • OYSTER SHELL (Unknown date)
  • ROWEL SPUR (Unknown date)
  • SWORD (Unknown date)
  • FINGER RING (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • GEMSTONE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • AXEHEAD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BOWL (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BRICK (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CHAFING DISH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CHAMBER POT (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • COIN (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CUP (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • DRINKING VESSEL (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • DRUG BOTTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FLOOR TILE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • GOBLET (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • JAR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KEY (LOCKING) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • KNIFE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • MEDICAL CONTAINER (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PIPKIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PLATE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • QUERN (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SHOE (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SKILLET (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SKIMMER (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FIGURINE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PATTEN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • POWDER FLASK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SCISSORS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • VESSEL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building
  • Scheduled Monument

Sources and further reading

---Article in Serial: Cozens-Hardy, B. 1961. Some Norfolk Halls. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXII pp 163-208. pp 166-167.
---Aerial Photograph: TG1238 A-C,D-H,J-L,M-T,Y-AE.
---Article in Serial: Green, C., Rigold, S. E. and Clarke, R. R. 1954. Other Archaeological Excavations 1953. Norfolk Research Committee Bulletin. Series 1 No 6 (for 1953) pp 2-4. p 3.
---Article in Serial: Clarke, R. R. 1957. Archaeological Discoveries in Norfolk 1949-54. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXI pp 395-416. p 413.
---Monograph: British Association for the Advancement of Science. 1961. Norwich and its Region. p 107 Fig 9.
---Serial: Blomefield, F.. 1807. An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk.. Vol VI. vol VI, p 506.
---Map: Bryant, A.. 1826. Bryant's Map of Norfolk.
---Monograph: Cushion, B. and Davison, A. 2003. Earthworks of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 104. p 163.
---Publication: Harlech. 1955. Regional Guide to Ancient Monuments East Anglia and Midlands. 2. p 43.
---Publication: Ketton-Cremer. 1961. Forty Norfolk Essays. p.89-93.
---Unpublished Document: Evans, J.G.. 1980. Ancient Monuments Laboratory Report No. 3202. Baconsthorpe Castle land and freshwater mollusca..
---Article in Serial: Post Medieval Archaeology. Vol VII, p 101.
---Publication: Rigold, S.. 1966. D.o.E Guide to Baconsthorpe Castle.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2012. Baconsthorpe Castle - picture. 30 June.
---Article in Serial: Rigold, S. 1980. Baconsthorpe Castle. Archaeological Journal. Vol 137 pp 331-332.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Roman. Baconsthorpe.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Baconsthorpe.
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Slide: Various. Slide. 1-7.
---Photograph: CVY 1-3, ELH, ELM, EMA, EMB.
<S1>Monograph: Dallas, C. & Sherlock, D.. 2003. Baconsthorpe Castle, Excavations and Finds, 1951-1972.. East Anglian Archaeology. No 102.
<S2>Website: Davis, P.. http://homepage.mac.com/philipdavis/Index/Locindex.html.
<S3>Unpublished Document: Hobbs, B.. 2007. NAU Report No. 1318. An Archaeological Watching Brief at Baconsthorpe Castle, Baconsthorpe, Norfolk..
<S4>Slide: Various. Slide. 8-15.
<S5>Website: English Heritage. 2008. www.english-heritage.org.uk/freesitesunlocked.
<S6>Unpublished Document: Heywood, S.. Historic building report for Baconsthorpe Castle, Baconsthorpe, Norfolk..

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