Record Details

NHER Number:40576
Type of record:Building
Name:Ford Place


Ford Place is an early 19th century two to three storey gault brick house constructed on a double-pile plan and extended in 1860. It has an irregular northern façade with three distinct elements, all with different roof lines, while the south front has balanced asymmetry. Immediately west of the house is an attached 3-bay, single-storey grotto of whole flints with a central pointed doorway. The interior of the house features a mid 19th century staircase with twisted balusters and a moulded handrail as well as dentil cornices and marble fireplaces in the mains rooms. In 1952 the house was converted to a home for the elderly. A western extension was added in 1999, a southwestern wing was added in 2004, and a garden room was added in 2006. The house is surrounded by extensive gardens (NHER 45469) which also include a large area of meadowland south of the river Thet.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TL 87420 82661
Map Sheet:TL88SE

Full description

THE EXCAVATIONS PREVIOUSLY RECORDED UNDER THIS NUMBER ARE NOW RECORDED UNDER NHER 5940 (Prehistoric to medieval remains) AND NHER 45469 (post medieval remains associated with the grounds of Ford Place).

Ford Place and attached grotto. Listed 1951, grade II.
House, now residential home for elderly. Early C19, additions of c1860. Gault brick. Roofs of black-glazed pantiles. Double-pile plan. 2-3 storeys. Irregular façade to north in 3 distinct elements, all with different roof lines. East part with double-leaf glazed door set within a doorcase consisting of engaged reeded and fluted Ionic columns supporting a dentilled pediment. To left is a first-floor staircase window with 6/6 glazing bars and a rounded head. Fenestration generally of 6/6 sashes with gauged skewback arches. Gabled and hipped roofs. Multiple stacks. South front has balanced asymmetry: 2 hipped elements broken forward right and left, that to right (east) with a full-height canted bay. The other with 2 hipped through-eaves dormers, probably c1860. Immediately west of house (and attached to it) is a 3-bay, single-storey grotto of whole flints: a central pointed doorway flanked by a pointed Y-tracery window right and left.
INTERIOR: staircase mid C19: 2 twisted balusters per tread and moulded handrail. Main rooms with dentil cornices and marble fireplaces. 6-panelled doors.
Information from (S1).
H. Hamilton (NLA), 28 August 2008.

1983. Site Visit.
The house itself is a listed 19th century mansion. It has a single story Gothick grotto extension constructed of flint on the southwest.
The grounds contain some enigmatic mounds overgrown against the west boundary. The garden wall to the northeast of the house is 19th century brick and clunch, with some odd lumps of reused stone. For further description of the grounds, see NHER 45469.
Ford Place is currently an Old Peoples’ Home, and the grounds to the east are to be sold off for building.
E. Rose (NAU), 13 December 1983.
Updated H. Hamilton (NLA), 27 July 2008.

In the 1930s, Ford Place was occupied by the former mayor of Thetford, Sir William Gentle. It was acquired by the county council in 1952 and subsequently converted into a residential home for the elderly. The home closed in the early 1990s and by 1996 had come into private ownership.
See (S2) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 17 October 2008.

September 1998.
This area has been scheduled as part of Castle Hill (NHER 5747). Ford Place house and garden above ground features (NHER 45469) have not been included in the scheduling, but the ground beneath them (see NHER 5940) has.
See (S3) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 27 July 2008.

A single storey extension was constructed to the west of the house.
For details of the excavations and watching brief associated with this work see NHER 45469 (post medieval garden features) and NHER 5940 (Saxon and medieval features).
See (S4) and (S5-S7) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 17 October 2008.

2004. Extension.
A southwestern extension was constructed.
For details of the excavation preceeding this work see NHER 45469 (post medieval garden features) and NHER 5940 (Iron Age, Saxon and medieval features).
See (S8) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 17 October 2008.

2006. Extension.
A garden room was added to the new southwestern wing.
For details of the watchnig brief associated with this work see NHER 5940. No archaeological finds, features or deposits were recorded. The subsoil deposits disturbed by the work comprised made-up ground from the construction of the building to which the garden room is attached.
See (S9) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 17 October 2008.

Monument Types

  • GROTTO (18th Century to 19th Century - 1800 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HOUSE (18th Century to 21st Century - 1800 AD to 2100 AD)
  • NURSING HOME (Mid 20th Century to 21st Century - 1952 AD? to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Photograph: NAU Archaeology. 2004. KQD-KQE.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. pp 716-717.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Slide: Various. Slide. 1-39.
<S1>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England.
<S2>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1996. Meadow saved for town. 1 November.
<S3>Designation: English Heritage. Scheduling Report.
<S4>Illustration: Various. Various. Architectural plans.
<S5>Unpublished Contractor Report: RPS Clouston. 1998. Interim Summary Statement on the results of the Archaeological Work carried at Ford Place, Thetford, Norfolk.
<S6>Unpublished Document: Connell, M.. 1999. Interim Summary of the Archaeological Watching Brief, Ford Place, Thetford..
<S7>Unpublished Contractor Report: Trott, K. 2000. Ford Place, Thetford, Nursing Home Extension. Archaeological Excavation and Watching Brief Report. RPS Consultants.
<S8>Unpublished Contractor Report: Emery, G. 2005. Assessment Report and Updated Project Design for an Archaeological Excavation at Ford Place Nursing Home, Thetford. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 1005.
<S9>Unpublished Contractor Report: Birks, C. 2006. Report on an Archaeolological Watching Brief at Ford Place, Thetford. Chris Birks Archaeological Services. CB058R.
<S10>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. 2005. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk in 2004. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIV Pt IV pp 751-763. p 761.

Related records

45469Parent of: Ford Place Gardens (Monument)

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