Record Details

NHER Number:6896
Type of record:Building
Name:Paston Hall and Great Barn


Of the 16th century mansion and buildings of the Paston family, only the barn is preserved. This enormous thatched structure is of flint with brick and stone dressings and has two inscriptions attributing it to Sir William Paston in 1581. Two full height double doors to the east are flanked by stepped buttresses, and further buttresses appear at intervals between the slit ventilation lights. Inside is a magnificent roof of alternating hammerbeam and tie-beam trusses. The roof span is not actually great enough to necessitate hammerbeams, and it is likely that they are there for show, an expression of wealth and bravado.
There had been plans to turn the barn into a visitor centre, but these were dropped in 2002 so that a colony of rare bats would not be disturbed. However, preservation work continues and there is still some public access.
The present Paston Hall, a short distance to the south, is a 19th century two storey pale brick building, now a hotel.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 3216 3448
Map Sheet:TG33SW

Full description

April 1976. Visit.
All that remains is the Great Barn, built 1581. 49.5m (162 feet) long, 9.5m (31 feet) wide, 13.4m (44 feet) high. Flint with freestone quoins. Roof thatched, alternate hammer and tie beams. Inscription over a small door 'AD 1581 AD ER 24 The building of this bearne is bi Sir W. Paston Knighte WPF'.
Slit windows, later slate-capped buttresses and 19th century outbuildings attached, now derelict in parts. Barn itself is in excellent condition, except that half the roof needs attention to thatched portion: interior being cleaned at time of visit.
Present hall is said to date in part from 1750, but appears to be all of mid 19th century in yellow brick.
In church is preserved a fragment of maiolica plate? Found in kitchen garden.
E. Rose (NAU), 13 April 1976.

The old hall of the Pastons had two courts, the inner containing a well. The buttery hatch with the hall is standing but the chambers over it, and the chapel, are in ruins. (S1).
Old hall had two courts, one containing a well, with a chapel and hall. It was ruined in (S1)'s time, and finally demolished around 1820.
Information from (S2).
(S3) says there is a second plaque on the barn gable inscribed 17 February 1581, with figures.
E. Rose (NAU).

April 1966, Listed, Grade II*. (S4).
Scheduling documentation (S5) and press cuttings (S6), (S7), (S8), (S9), (S10), (S11), (S12), (S13), (S14), (S15), (S16), (S17), (S18) and (S19) in file.

1999. Dendrochronological Survey.
Dendrochronology dating of roof in 1999 showed that the timbers are contemporary with the barn, not reused monastic or later repair.
See report (S20) for further details.
E. Rose (NLA), 8 December 1999.

October 2005.
Scheduled monument consent granted concerning the completion of repairs to the west side of the buttress, west annex, east thatched annex and associated joinery.
See (S21).
H. White (NLA), 6 April 2009.

December 2006.
Now designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest as a sanctuary for bats.
P. Aldridge (NLA), 20 December 2006.

Monument Types

  • GREAT HOUSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BARN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG 3234C,D.
---Article in Serial: 1933. Proceedings of the Congress. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. Second Series Vol XL. p 11.
---Designation: Corbishley, M.J.. 1983. AM107.
---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 638.
---Monograph: Care, L.. 2009. Exploring Paston Country. pp 8, 22, 24-25, 66.
---Photograph: Paston Barn. Print.
---Photograph: Photographs of Paston Great Barn, Paston. Black & white.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Post-Medieval. Paston.
---Sale Particulars: Fine & Country. Paston Hall, Paston.
---Article in Serial: Rossi, A. 2012. A Tale of Two Barns: Paston and Waxham. Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society. 56/33-53.
<S1>Serial: Blomefield, F.. 1808. An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk.. Vol IX.
<S2>Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 33 SW 4 [4].
<S3>Archive: Bolingbroke Collection.
<S4>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1306240.
<S5>Designation: [unknown]. Ancient Monuments Form. SAM Record. DNF64.
<S6>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1975. Great Barn renovation. 31 July.
<S7>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1984. Barn in need of a home. 22 February.
<S8>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1984. Action to save barn urged. 10 September.
<S9>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1984-1985. [Articles on the proposal to convert the Paston Great Barn into a theatre].
<S10>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1985-1986. [Articles on the proposal of a industrial marketing centre at Paston Great Barn].
<S11>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1986. [Article on Paston Great Barn]. 4 April.
<S12>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1986. Council's fault if Paston barn decays, claim. 29 April.
<S13>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1990. [Sale advertisement for Paston Hall]. 14 March.
<S14>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1990-1995. [Articles on the proposed redevelopment of the Paston Great Barn for a hi-tech firm].
<S15>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1996. [Articles on the sale and purchase of the Paston Great Barn].
<S16>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1997. Barn restoration wins grant aid. 5 September.
<S17>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. Government millions promised to save buildings. 19 May.
<S18>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. [Photograph of Paston Great Barn]. 1 June.
<S19>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1999-2002. [Articles and letters to the editor on the conflict of restoring the Paston Great Barn and the protection of the population of barbastelle bats].
<S20>Unpublished Contractor Report: Tyers, I. 1999. Tree-ring Analysis Of Timbers from Paston Great Barn, Norfolk. Ancient Monuments Laboratory. 54/1999.
<S21>Designation: DCMS. [?]-2016. Scheduled Monument Consent. SAM Consent. DNF64.

Related records

MNO3664Related to: Paston Great Barn Bacton Road PASTON (Revoked)

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