Record Details

NHER Number:7696
Type of record:Monument
Name:Horstead Hall and farmbuildings


Horstead Hall was built in 1835, possibly on the site of an Elizabethan house. It was largely demolished in the 20th century. Only one brick range of early 19th date – of red brick and with tall rear chimneys – still survives. A number of ancillary and farm buildings, garden walls and a squash court also survive, although many are now derelict. They include a remarkable farm building with a Germanic water tower attached. A personal account indicates that the hall was used as a low grade cipher base during World War Two, when a number of Nissen huts were erected around the grounds. Some possible evidence of the World War Two site is visible on 1940s aerial photographs.

Images - none

Documents/files/web pages


Grid Reference:TG 2523 2072
Map Sheet:TG22SE

Full description

Cozens-Hardy says this stands on the site of an Elizabethan house.
Present hall was built in 1835, and largely demolished mid 20th century.

19 January 1978. Visit.
Of the hall only one range remains, red brick with tall rear chimneys, right for early 19th century. Most remarkable is a farm building with tall Germanic water tower with brick arcading. Garden walls remain, but flint wall against drive could easily be from the old house. (S1) notes house marked as Horstead Hall on this site in 1671 estate map.
E. Rose (NAU), 16 October 1984.

(S2) in file notes chapel and squash court remaining.

Water tower still extant but buildings around are derelict.
See (S3).
E. Rose (NLA), 16 January 2006.

World War Two aircraft crash now recorded as NHER 44206.
M. Dennis (NLA), 24 March 2006.

It was used a small base during World War Two when Nissen huts were erected in the grounds.
See (S4).
M. Dennis (NLA), 29 March 2006.

December 2007. Norfolk NMP.
The World War Two use of Horstead Hall mentioned above was as a low grade cipher base, described in a personal account (S4). (Low grade cipher was used to encrypt messages being sent within Britain.) The base was used by 41 Brigade, 2nd AA Division Signals. The headquarters and officers’ billet, offices and the mess were in the hall itself, while several Nissen huts were positioned around the grounds to provide domestic accommodation, the NAAFI, etc.

Very little evidence of the World War Two site is visible on the consulted aerial photographs. A rectangular area of disturbed ground at TG 2506 2066 may mark the former site of a hut. To the east, at TG 2534 2074, a hut and a larger area of disturbed ground could also relate to military activity, although they could instead be associated with the ‘Timber Yard’ marked here on the Ordnance Survey 2nd edition 25 inch map (S5). Both areas are visible on 1940s aerial photographs (S6-7).
S. Tremlett (NMP), 18 December 2007.

September 2007. Horstead Hall Farm Buildings.
Proposal to convert the surviving farm buildings into a restaurant and holiday accommodation.
The farm buildings are dominated by a multi-purpose agricultural building with steam powered machinery and a water tower. The barn has recently been severely damaged by fire and has lost the roof over the main block. The walls still stand to their full height. The building is constructed of high quality brick, with pantile roofs. There are arched openings with rubbed brick openings in some cases and raised borders to other openings. The structure consists of a two- storey main block flanked by single storey sections. The main block is of five bays, with the central bay marked by the main doorway and a large opening with a gable above which was formerly embellished with an oculus. The sill is flush with floor level and a platform projected from it to allow hauling sacks etc. to the upper floor. The fixing positions for the platform are still visible in the brickwork. To the left of the central entrance is a large cart entrance and to the right are two offices with domestic sash windows.
The water tower takes it shape and decoration from Italian campanile. Openings have been blocked due to the tower having been converted into a grain silo in recent times. The top storey where the tank was situated has a series of loops framed by stilted arched corbel tables beneath bold cornices, the whole crowned with a pyramidal roof. It is divided from the main body of the tower by a heavy band of raised brickwork. The lower storey has recessed vertical panels with loops and tree openings below. The entrance to the tower is a large arched doorway. The rear of the building has an aisle which housed the carpenter's shop and timber yard. It has since been converted to animal pens but retains its original structure. The building is divided into two by a through passage from which a masonry stair supported on a rampant arch leads to the upper floor. Beside the stair was the boiler room and steam engine. A separate purpose-built steam house stands close to the barn to provide additional power.
The left half of the main block has a cart-size entrance with a segmental relieving arch. Sliding doors are shown on the original plan and may have been a fairly new development in 1874. The windows have sliding vents beneath fanlights.
The early 19th- century barn is of brick and flint with a shallow pitched hipped roof and lower wings to the sides. The doors are placed centrally, with a pair of tripartite glazed sash windows above. The bricks are re-used and the bond is almost entirely of headers. The rear or west elevation of the barn is of one storey owing to the building having been built into the side of a hill. It is of knapped flint with brick dressings and has pediments over a pair of tripartite sash windows. It is given a decorative face probably to make it seems more appealing when viewed from the hall. The interior of the barn shows a roof of re-used timbers with empty mortises on the tie beams and principle rafters. The roof has single butt purlins to each of the main pitches. The single storey building on the south side has a former glazed lunette window in its south elevation, a third of which has been converted into a doorway. The barn is of special interest due to its re-use of materials and its polite treatment of the façade facing the hall.
See (S8) for further information.
H. White (NLA), 16 December 2008.

July 2009. English Heritage Advice Report recommending refusal of application to list farm buildings.
See (S9) for full report with history and description of buildings. The assessment concluded that the main multi-purpose building by Edward Boardman was too severely fire damaged and that there was little evidence of the powered processes within that were integral to the building's design. Other elements have been significant altered or become derelict. The C19 barn was described as of modest quality, with reused material and of conventional form.
A. Yardy (HES), 4 August 2011.

Monument Types

  • GREAT HOUSE (17th Century to 19th Century - 1671 AD? to 1835 AD?)
  • CHAPEL (19th Century to 21st Century - 1835 AD to 2100 AD)
  • GREAT HOUSE (19th Century to 21st Century - 1835 AD to 2100 AD)
  • SPORTS SITE (19th Century to Mid 20th Century - 1835 AD to 1950 AD)
  • SQUASH COURT (19th Century to 21st Century - 1835 AD to 2100 AD)
  • WATER TOWER (19th Century to 21st Century - 1835 AD? to 2100 AD)
  • ACCOMMODATION HUT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • ARMY CAMP (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • NISSEN HUT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---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 569.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Post-Medieval. Horstead with Stanninghall.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Dollin, B.. 1984. Moated Sites Research Group Report.. No 11 17.
<S2>Unpublished Document: UEA. 1987. UEA Historic Farm Building Survey..
<S3>*Verbal Communication: Bocking, N.. 2006. Water Towers project..
<S4>Website: Dunlop, J.. 2004. World War 2: People's War..
<S5>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-7. Ordnance Survey second edition 25 inch (1902-7) Sheet XXXIX.16. 25" to 1'.
<S6>Vertical Aerial Photograph: USAAF. 1944. US/7GR/LOC348 2183 27-MAY-1944 (NMR).
<S7>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1428 4094-5 16-APR-1946 (NMR).
<S8>Unpublished Document: Heywood, S. 2007. Farm Buildings at Hall Farm, Horstead.. September.
<S9>Unpublished Document: English Heritage. 2010. Advice Report: Horstead Hall Farm Buildings. March.

Related records

44207Related to: Horstead Hall landscape park (Monument)

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