Record Details

NHER Number:15110
Type of record:Building
Name:Scole Inn, formerly White Hart Inn


Scole Inn was built for John Peck, a Norwich wool merchant, and has been dated to 1655. Situated halfway between Norwich and Ipswich on the influential Roman Pye Road (now the A140), and on the junction with the road between Bury St Edmunds and Great Yarmouth (A143), this Inn occupied an incredibly influential position on the region's premier land transport routes. Indeed, this Inn is said to be one of the best examples in the country of its type, and is believed to be one of the most sumptuous in England built solely for the purpose of offering hospitality.

The inn originally had an extravagant sign which extended right across the road, although this was removed after 1795, and at one time as many as forty stagecoaches a day passed by. It is built of red brick laid in English bond and has five wide sections at the front, each crowned with a Dutch gable. Inside, a solid staircase links all the floors, and it is up this that the highwayman John Belcher is said to have ridden to avoid the law. The date of the building has been contentious, as several details, both internal and external, have suggested a late 16th century date.


  • The Scole Inn dates from the mid 17th century  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TM 149 789
Map Sheet:TM17NW

Full description

September 1951. Listed, Grade I.
Listing description excerpt:
"1655. A very lavish mid 17th-century inn. Print dated 1745 shows the elaborate sign [now demolished] of 1655 extended across the road in front with footbridge over. Fine red brick building. Two storeys and attic. Five Dutch gables, some rebuilt...Tiled roof with Dutch gable ends…Three projecting wings with Dutch gables [to rear]…Contains many original doorcases, doors, fireplaces and moulded ceiling beams".
Information from (S1).
Please consult the National Heritage List for England (S1) for the current listing details.
P. Watkins (HES), 22 March 2020.

Brick, large. 1655 according to (S2) but (S3) states that in many ways it is still in 16th century style. English bond, facade in five sections each crowned by Dutch (pedimented shaped) gables, and divided and subdivided by brick pilasters and string courses. Two storeys plus dormers in the gables. Decorative raised brick ovals and some window frames. Three rear projections and in one recessed section wooden pilasters in two orders forming part of a timber framed wall. Square chimney stacks with arched panelling. Interior staircase in 16th century style; legend of a highwayman having ridden up it. Formerly a large figured gallows-sign across the road, dated 1655, see (S2), and a circular bed for postboys [and less affluent guests], now in America.
Grade I.
E. Rose (NAU), 1 August 1979.

In fact the building has always been known as both the Scole Inn and the White Hart. For a detailed description of the sign erected by James Peck in 1655 and removed after 1795 see (S4).
E. Rose (NLA), 24 March 2003.

See newspaper cuttings in file, (S5)-(S11).

Early 19th-century stables to north-west of Scole Inn now recorded separately as NHER 63801.
P. Watkins (HES), 22 March 2020.

Monument Types

  • INN (Post Medieval to 21st Century - 1540 AD to 2100 AD)
  • TIMBER FRAMED BUILDING (Post Medieval to 21st Century - 1540 AD to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 632; Pl 79.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Serial: Blomefield, F.. 1805-1810. An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk.. Volume Unknown.
<S1>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1303017.
<S3>Monograph: Pevsner, N. 1962. North-West and South Norfolk. The Buildings of England. 1st Edition. p 303; Pl 53b.
<S4>Publication: Glyde Jr, J.. 1872. The Norfolk Garland: a collection of the superstitious beliefs and practices, proverbs, curious customs, ballads and songs, of the people of Norfolk, as well as anecdotes illustrative of the genius or peculiarities of Norfolk celebrities. pp 132-133.
<S5>Unpublished Document: Eastern Daily Press. 1981. Inn's new bedrooms in barn, stable conversion.. 24 June.
<S6>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1980. Scole Inn can build foyer. 21 March.
<S7>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1980. East Anglian 'jewel' needs additions inquiry told. 11 January.
<S8>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1977. Scole Inn failes to make reserve. 8 December.
<S9>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1975. English food and ale is inn's boast. 13 December.
<S10>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1988. After 300 years, village traffic will lessen soon. 3 March.
<S11>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1979. Highwayman rides into history. 5 September.
<S12>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1996. [Photograph of Scole Inn]. 4 June.

Related records - none

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