Record Details

NHER Number:4654
Type of record:Building
Name:Thorpe Old Hall, Yarmouth Road


Thorpe Old Hall was the town house of Sir Edward Paston, who died in 1630. It fell derelict in the 20th century, but was restored in the 1980s by Anthony Rossi. The building itself stands on one corner of a 14th century courtyard house, and the chapel (dated to 1380) remained until the 1930s when it was demolished. During the 12th century the complex is said to have belonged to the bishop of Norwich.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 2553 0838
Map Sheet:TG20NE

Full description

Present house built by Sir Edward Paston who died 1630. Renaissance style: one room said to preserve panelled walls and fireplace. Stands on one corner of 14th century courtyard house; chapel remained to recent years to south, then descheduled and demolished. Belonged to bishop of Norwich. Fragment 15th century window tracery set over gate in wall facing Yarmouth Road. Building has sunk in places now empty and fenced off, and deteriorating.
Visited by E. Rose (NAU), 19 July 1975.

Chapel was Decorated in style, around 1380, and was demolished in 1930s when other side of house courtyard was pulled down. In 1954 the wooden door in the wall under the window tracery was said to bear the date 1583.
(S2) refers to 12th century garden walls and extensive foundations of Bishops House.
Ordnance Survey found fishponds 1954.

RCHM survey in NARG files: claims panelling is late 19th century imitation of Jacobean, but some original work reused in stairs. Much 18th and 19th alterations: one door formerly dated 1608.
E. Rose (NAU).

Although it was initially proposed that the hall should be demolished (S8) it was saved and a programme of restoration undertaken. For full details of discoveries, redating, features found, and negative observations of house plots to west, see file .
E. Rose (NAU), 7 February 1986.

Also plots beside site of chapel.
E. Rose (NLA), 9 Feb 2000

Full details and press cuttings (S3) in file.
Architects drawings (pre 1992) (S4) as large rolled plans.
E. Rose (NLA).

February 2000. Trial Trench.
A single trench revealed modern gravel surfacing and topsoil over an extensive layer of gravel and halk make-up. Beneath this layer was a succession of alluvial and colluvial deposits, which probably former up until the late 18th century and later when the make-up layer was laid down.
See report for further details (S5). The results of this work are also summarised in (S6).
S. Howard (HES), 28 October 2011.

16 July 2012. Watching Brief.
Restoration work to expose a well located within the staircase hall was monitored.
The well shaft was lined with a honeycombe pattern of bricks likely dating to the late 19th century and capped with a modern brick dome, but the original siting of the well may be early post-medieval.
Make-up layers for a floor surface contemorary with a brick and mortar wall tentatively dated to the late 15th to 16th century were exposed during the groundworks. An ashy layer above this floor may relate to a fire which damaged the east-west wing in the 18th century and a levelling layer of chalk waste is likely associated with 19th century rebuilding.
See (S7) for further information.
M. Langham-Lopez (HES), 28 January 2013.#

Monument Types

  • FISHPOND (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • GARDEN WALL (Medieval to 12th Century - 1100 AD? to 1199 AD?)
  • HOUSE (13th Century to 16th Century - 1300 AD? to 1600 AD?)
  • CHAPEL (14th Century to Early 20th Century - 1380 AD? to 1930 AD?)
  • WELL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HOUSE (16th Century to 21st Century - 1600 AD? to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Designation: [unknown]. Ancient Monuments Form. SAM Record. NHER4654.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 20 NE 7a [3].
---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 692.
---Publication: Mackerell. 1737. MSS.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. A grand house to let. 12 January.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. [Letter to the editor about Thorpe Old Hall].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1975-1980. [Articles on the proposed plans for Thorpe Old Hall].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1977. Fire new nail in Old Hall coffin. 17 December.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1979-1982. [Articles on the purchase and potential demolition of Thorpe Old Hall].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1979. Old hall of fame. 8 March.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1979. Decline of a Building. 4 April.
---Newspaper Article: Norwich Mercury. 1981-1983. [Articles on the potential purchases of Thorpe Old Hall for restoration].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1982-1984. [Articles on the sale and proposed work needing to be carried out at Thorpe Old Hall].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1982. [Articles on the grant given by Broadland District Council to Thorpe Old Hall for restoration work].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1982. Chairman's vote gives Hall £5000. 22 July.
---Newspaper Article: Norwich Mercury. 1982. Decline...and fall. 1 October.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1984-1986. [Articles on the proposed plans of building homes within Thorpe Old Hall Grounds].
---Newspaper Article: Norwich Mercury. 1985-1986. [Articles on the restoration work of Thorpe Old Hall].
---Newspaper Article: 1986. [unknown].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1987-1988. [Articles on after the restoration of Thorpe Old Hall].
---Newspaper Article: [Photograph of Thorpe Old Hall from the 19th century].
---Photograph: 1987. Thorpe Hall. Print.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Thorpe St Andrew.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
<S2>Monograph: Pevsner, N. 1962. North-East Norfolk and Norwich. The Buildings of England. 1st Edition. p 291.
<S3>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1986. Plans for theatre in garden. 27 November.
<S4>*Rolled Plan: Large Plan Exists.
<S5>Unpublished Contractor Report: Penn, K. 2000. Archaeological Evaluation at 13 Thorpe Hall Close, Thorpe St Andrew. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 482.
<S6>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 2001. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 2000. Norfolk Archaeology. XLIII Pt IV pp 707-728. p 726.
<S7>Unpublished Contractor Report: Emery, G. 2012. Archaeological Monitoring of a Well at Thorpe Hall, Yarmoth Road, Norwich. Norvic Archaeology. 26.
<S8>Unpublished Report: Canham Thomas Partnership. Report. Thorpe Old Hall, Yarmouth Road, Norwich.

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