Record Details

NHER Number:13579
Type of record:Monument
Name:Route of Scole Railway


Scole Railway began life in 1850 and lasted some 35 years, closing in 1885. It was the brainchild of William Betts, Lord of Manor of Frenze from 1844, who owned Frenze Hall (NHER 45743) and estates and whose chief ambition was to become a successful market gardener. The line was built to allow him to export the fresh produce from his estate directly to London.

The track was of standard gauge, and trains ran straight onto this line from the main lines of the Great Eastern Railway. The railway's total length reached seven miles, including a number of sidings near the Great Barn on the Frenze estate, where the produce was sorted and packed, and commenced from behind the Jolly Porter's Inn at Diss Station.

The line also connected two large brickfields (NHER 32917), which William Betts created to increase the value of his line and to provide materials for the construction of workers' cottages. However, with the death of Betts in 1885, the farm passed to trustees and the market gardening ceased. The line closed and was pulled up in 1886, and a two-day sale of the components took place in 1887.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TM 13813 80038
Map Sheet:TM18SW

Full description

1850 to 1856. Left line north of Diss station and had several branches, to Hall, brickfield, and barn on the Frenze estate, and back upon itself by main line to north.
No trace shown on map (S1) but there is supposed to be river bridge abutments near Frenze Hall.
Course shown on an early series of (S1) seen briefly at Gissing old school. Left the main line by present siding at Diss station immediately passing through brickyard then crossing river; branches to Frenze Hall, Nab Barn, back to Scole Inn and to Waterloo.
E. Rose (NAU), 10 August 1984.

Informant states that farm buildings at 1365 7962 were sheds and crossing cottage for railway. [1]
E. Rose (NAU), 20 May 1985.

Course now drawn on NHER map from copy of map published in (S2). Text of this not yet seen and is hard to reconcile with contours. The map shows a 'brick field' near the Rectory but no other information is known about this.
Copy in secondary file.
Comp. E.Rose 18 February 1997.

Text of (S2) now in file and does describe the route as shown on the map. Remains of bridges, barns, etc. also described.
For the Brick Field see NHER 32917.
E. Rose (NLA), 15 September 1997.

(S3) and (S4) in file.

2005. At the road crossing TM 1364 7962 adjacent to the crossing cottage (and the large building which was in fact a vegetable processing centre and not sheds for the railway).
Ditch digging in 2005 revealed a number of railway sleepers. These were seen in February; they are no different from standard gauge sleepers, and now very rotten.
E. Rose (NLA), 19 February 2005.

Monument Types

  • BRIDGE (19th Century - 1850 AD? to 1885 AD?)
  • RAILWAY (19th Century - 1850 AD? to 1885 AD?)
  • RAILWAY TRANSPORT SITE (19th Century - 1850 AD? to 1885 AD?)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1987. Abandoned line. 2 February.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
<S1>Map: Ordnance Survey, First Edition, 6 Inch. 1879-1886. Ordnance Survey 1st Edition 6 inch map..
<S2>Unpublished Report: Brundle, N. A. and Whittaker, K. J. 1953. The Scole Railway.
<S4>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1987. Farming entrepreneur and a man before his time. 9 February.

Related records - none

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