Record Details

NHER Number:13172
Type of record:Building
Name:Manor House Farm, Little Plumstead


An early 19th century farm, with a large brick barn which has an unusual octagonal engine house. The farmhouse dates from the early 19th century, and has giant brick pilasters on the main façade, and a circular central hall. The engine house is in the middle of the barn, rising above the threshing floors on either side, and is a rare example of an engine house in Norfolk.


  • The exterior of Octagon Barn, an octagonal engine shed in the grounds of Manor Farm, Little Plumstead  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • The interior of the roof of Octagon Barn, an octagonal engine shed in the grounds of Manor Farm, Little Plumstead  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TG 3042 1127
Map Sheet:TG31SW

Full description

Saw pit (Ordnance Survey).
Filled in to rim; bricks seem early 19th century. Tapers towards one end at west end of barn.
NHER number extended to cover all of farm.
Added to list of listed buildings 1994, see (S1).
Barn 'said to be' pre 1836, red brick; Flemish bond exterior, English bond interior, pantile roof. Octagonal central engine house 12.2m across and rising above barn to each side. Each end of barn is 5 bays long and each appears to have had threshing floor adjacent to octagon. Tall north pentises, apparently integral with cart doors to threshing floors and semi circular arches to engine house. Dentilled cornice and elaborate roof structure to engine house.
See (S1).
E. Rose (NAU) 22 February 1978.

The house is early 19th century Flemish bond brick; 3 bays 2 storeys. Pilasters are end of façade and on ends; Doric doorcase. Lower rear section with Gothick window. 'Understood to have' central circular hall and cantilevered staircase.
For detailed description see (S1).
Stated to be an important and rare survival.
E. Rose (NLA) 31 March 1994.

February 2004.
Farm buildings (but not house) examined.
(S1) is correct, with the addition of a weathervane on top of the octagon. The recent cattle sheds to the south have intricate bracing from machine cut jowled posts and an asbestos roof. The reference to this being one of five in the county is based on the identification as an engine house, which was made by [1] but this is much larger than the average engine house; why should such a building need full height doors to the threshing floors each side? However the building is very similar to that at Thickthorn Farm, Hethersett (NHER 9417).
E. Rose (NLA), 17 February 2004.

The octagonal barn is almost identical to one at the Bersham ironworks, Wrexham, stated to be of 1783 and to be a foundry for cannon. That example has one low building attached; it may well be the case that it housed a horse engine for turning the lathe to bore the cannon in the attachment.
E. Rose (NLA), 12 July 2004.

May 2006. Building Survey.
Structural inspection of the exisiting barn complex.
See report (S2) for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 12 March 2015.

Monument Types

  • ANIMAL POWER SITE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BARN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FARMSTEAD (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SAW PIT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Illustration: Various. Various. Architectural plans.
---Photograph: Rose, E.. 2004. KPB.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Lloyd, M. 2006. Consulting Engineering Report on Octagon Barns, Manor Farm, Little Plumstead. Cameron Taylor.
---Designation: English Heritage. 1990-2013. English Heritage Listing Notification. Notification. DNF1652.
<S1>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1263370.

Related records - none

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