Record Details

NHER Number:3523
Type of record:Building
Name:Icehouse, Houghton Park


An 18th century icehouse under a large mound. The mound was created from the spoil taken from the cutting to the east of the Hall. The tunnel is over thirty metres long, with a groin-vaulted chamber, probably a game larder, and a domed central chamber.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 7974 2878
Map Sheet:TF72NE

Full description

J.F. Williams found 'numerous flints' on the mound, see (S1).
This has often been confused with the barrow (so-called) to west, as on current Ordnance Survey 1:50,000.

31 January 1980. Visited by E. Rose (NAU) and KLM staff.
Mound is 5.1m (17ft) high and covered in trees.
Brick tunnel, no proper outer entrance now remaining, begins above foot of mound on north side and is 35m (115ft) long, an amazing length. At its inner end is a groin-vaulted chamber between two doorways retaining their iron staple-hinges, from centre of roof a ventilation shaft rises and seems to broaden out at its top, but is sealed with a slab. Doorway to main chamber has been narrowed down to a smaller opening (compare with examples at Weeting Castle and Stratton Stawless) but another hole has been knocked below this. However the brickwork of the blocking does not seem to be much later than the rest. The wooden frame of this smaller door part survives. Main chamber with
fine domed roof, central panel of flat brickwork; floor begins to curves in but is buried in rubbish and dead rabbits. Despite unusual thinness of some of the bricks,the date seems to be contemporary with the present hall, the mound was doubtless dug out of the East View.
Bat roosting site.
See (S2) for illustration of groined vault in stable of 1730 which matches the little one in the icehouse. This little vaulted chamber is probably a game larder, as shown by 19th century textbooks.
Listed grade II, see (S3).
E.M. James (KLM) and E. Rose (NAU), May 1981.

Photos and drawings in file.

As of 1992. Ventilation shaft covered by concrete slab, iron ladder in well corroding and evidence of rabbit burrowing in base. Otherwise appears to be structurally sound.
NIAS records (S4)
W. Arnold HES 25/01/11

Monument Types

  • GAME LARDER (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ICEHOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TF7928 AY.
---Monograph: Williamson, T. 1998. Archaeology of the Landscape Park: Garden Design in Norfolk, England, c. 1680-1840. BAR (British Series). Vol 268.
---Monograph: Beamon, S. & Roaf, S.. 1990. The Ice-houses of Britain..
---Photograph: Unknown. [unknown].
---Unpublished Document: Oxford Archaeological Unit. MPP Ice-house Assessment.
---Illustration: James, E.M.. 1980. Houghton Estate: Icehouse (plan).
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Bronze Age. Houghton.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
<S2>Publication: Brunskill, R.W., and Clifton-Taylor, A.. 1977. English Brickwork. p.116. p 116.
<S3>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England.
<S4>Archive: NIAS. Norfolk Industrial Archaeology Society Records.

Related records

30463Part of: Houghton Park (Designed Landscape)

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