Record Details

NHER Number:8172
Type of record:Building
Name:Rackheath Hall


The date of construction is widely debated and elements are postulated to come from 1777, the 1820s and 1850s. The central bay of the building is supported by giant Ionic pilasters and this classical theme is continued by the Tuscan porch. After becoming slightly run down the building was restored in 1998 and this allowed numerous interior features to be recorded and dated. Of particular interest is the fine Adam style plastering used in several of the rooms. Excavations in the grounds of the mansion have revealed a medieval coin of William I as well as more recent tree holes and a driveway built in the 1930s. Rather quaintly it has now been converted into an antiques shop, a fitting purpose for such an elegant building.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 2740 1260
Map Sheet:TG21SE

Full description

July 1977. Visit.
Large mansion.
Three storeys, ground floor rusticated; nine bays, central bay projecting slightly and giant Ionic pilasters at corners. Roof balustrade with urns. First floor windows have consoles and second floor, stone frames, smaller in size. Tuscan porch with wooden balustrade, and at side porte-cochere in same style with wood and glass roof. In side walls a single off centre pilaster. Architecture excellent, but condition only fair now - beginning to decay, especially the porches.
Used as an antique shop.
E. Rose (NAU) 20 July 1977.

(S1) dates at 1820, on site of older hall, refers to story which he doubts of a Queen Anne house being burnt down in 1745. States there are older beams inside.
1852-4 according to (S2) which gives detailed description of main west and south facades only (S3), (S4), (S5), (S6) in file.

June 1998. Hall revisited when under restoration and new ownership.
The building is J-shaped with the main façade in the west and a longer south wing than north wing. The exterior as described above wraps round these with balustrading hiding the roofs. One drainpipe does indeed bear the date 1852. The internal rooms of the south wing have fine Adam style plaster mouldings. The courtyard faces of the walls have two storey extensions; the rear wall of the main block, above these, has a large arched window. The rear wall of the south wing has a vertical join near a stack towards the west, with red brick to the east and white or painted brick to the east. The extensions are of red brick with horizontal skintlings and two storeys of lunettes - that behind the main block is now shown to be the same, now that 19th century additions have gone.
However inside the south wing extension, behind panelling, a narrow passage has been revealed from the main doorway. Inside the passage, wall arcading does not line up with the external lunettes but would have cut across them.
All the work visible is post 1780 but the courtyard extensions and the plaster mouldings suit Cozens-Hardy's date of 1820 far better than the 1850s. Could the 1852 works simply have been the wrap-around façade?
The passage is no doubt for servants but the misplaced arcading is hard to explain.
E. Rose (NLA) 26 June 1998.

August 1999. Excavation
Community excavation in the gardens of Rackheath Hall. Part of a summer activity week for 8-13 year olds organised by Broadland District Council and run in conjunction with Norfolk Archaeological Unit (NAU). Three trenches were excavated:
Trench 1 revealed tree holes and 1930s gravel road and modern middens of building debris.
Trench 2 contained a circular pit, possibly a flowerbed.
Trench 3 was blank.
See newspaper article (S9) for further details.
C. Meckseper (NAU) 1 September 1999.

Before June 2002.
Found in flower bay at Rackheath Hall, in soil taken from around Rackheath Hall, from Pulls Ferry Lane (Norwich Cathedral) and from garden of a house on Green Lane East, Rackheath (TG 28727 12240 centred).
Fitzwilliam Identified by M. Allen.
Medieval coin of William I.
K. Hinds (NLA), 5 August 2002.

A hall is marked here on the Mousehold Map of 1588; see NHER 30518.
E. Rose (NLA), 13 March 2004.

(S8) notes a date of 1777 on a first floor window head and on a tiebeam. The 19th century staircase window incorporates reused stained glass of 17th century type. He believes the work of the 1850s was restricted to the exterior, the panelling, extending the staircase hall and altering fireplaces. The work dated above as after 1780 and before 1820 could well be as early as 1777 and this may connect with the story of the hall burnt down in the 1740s.
E. Rose (NLA) 18 May 2005.

Monument Types

  • GREAT HOUSE (18th Century to 21st Century - 1777 AD? to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds

  • COIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG2712 A-E.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1997. Chance to restore hall to glory days. 31 October.
---Photograph: NLA. Finds Photograph.
---Map: 1588. Mousehold Map.
---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 642.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Champion of reform and EDP pioneer. 16 October.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1999. Rackheath Hall faces bright new future. 26 November.
<S1>Article in Serial: Cozens-Hardy, B. 1961. Some Norfolk Halls. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXII pp 163-208. p 194.
<S2>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1372979.
<S3>Illustration: Various. Various. Architectural plans.
<S4>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1978. [Letter to the editor regarding the history of Rackheath Hall]. 3 March.
<S5>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1980. [Photograph of Rackheath Hall]. 23 February.
<S6>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1988-1991. [Articles on the proposal of converting Rackheath Hall into new homes].
<S8>*Verbal Communication: 2005. Hughes, G. (Broadland DC). 12 May.
<S9>Newspaper Article: Eastern Evening News. 1999. Children dig in to a bit of history. 31 August.

Related records

30518Related to: Rackheath Park (Monument)

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