Record Details

NHER Number:9300
Type of record:Building
Name:Post medieval 'Hermit's House' or 'Dovecot' garden house


This is the northern of two garden houses that once belonged to Bawburgh Hall (NHER 9299). The other is NHER 9301. This 17th century building has a pyramidal roof with a statue on top. The walls are built of re-used Caen stone ashlar and has a carved cornice of 14th-century vine scroll inhabited by the figure of a wildman on the north side. Also re-used a row of quatrefoils. It has been called the Hermit's House and the Dovecot although there is no evidence that it fulfilled either function - it is more likely to have been a summerhouse in the grounds of the hall. And now serves as a garage/cartshed.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 1573 0881
Map Sheet:TG10NE

Full description

13 October 1976. Visit.
'Hermitage Chapel' Northern of two garden houses dating from around 1634. Pyramidal roof surmounted by a statue; good frieze of leaves (with figure of a wildman on north) and a quatrefoil frieze. Oval recesses with angels' heads on east and south, row of three circles on west, small niche over door to north. Also a blocked door on south. Very poor condition; padlock on door rusted solid. A modern shed that adjoined has been half demolished. The friezes etc. appear to be reused from a medieval eccesiastical building. This may be the church (note it was re-roofed in 1633!) or the demolished chapel of St. Wulstan that stood to its north, or less probably from the genuine hermitage.
See also NHER 9301, NHER 9299, NHER 11626, NHER 9296 and NHER 9383.
E. Rose (NAU).

12 September 2013. Inspection/Monitoring
The building was repaired in circa 1980 and is now used as a garage. This and the banqueting house nearby belong to Norfolk County Council yet are contained within private gardens. They were associated with Bawburgh hall which was demolished in the 1960s. The building is constructed of high quality Caen stone ashlar re-used. Also the 14th-century vine scroll cornice and the quatrefoil panels are re-used. There are later garage doors with a gault brick arch on the north side which converted the building into a cart shed now garage. On the east and south side are single large oval windows cut out of large stones leaving spandrels which have carved angels in shallow relief. These are probably not re-used. The interior leaves evidence of a former floor and the oval windows would have afforded fine views of the countyrside. This means tha the building was originally a banqueting house in the Elizabethan and Jacobean sense of the phrase as a small building with fine views close to the main house where the company retired after the table was cleared to take spiced wines and sweetmeats - from this activity comes the word 'dessert'. The second garden building was also a banqueting house.

The buildings have acquired the names of buildings which may have been associated with the cult of St Wulstan. The buildings are of course early 17th century but the stone is very probably re-used from the former shrine and chapel of St Wulstan which stood on the north side of the parish church close to St Wulstan's well. In the 19th century it was though that the shrine stood close to the hall next to the river. Was this prompted by the mistaken interpretation of the garden buildings as religious buildings? The shrine of St Wulstan is marked on the early Ordnance survey maps as being by the river near the hall. Further details at (S1).
S. Heywood (HES), 12 September 2013

Monument Types

  • BANQUETING HOUSE (17th Century to 21st Century - 1634 AD to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Designation: [unknown]. Ancient Monuments Form. SAM Record. DNF74.
---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 197.
---Photograph: 1990-2. Photographs of the Garden House, Bawburgh.. Colour, B&W.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Post-Medieval. Bawburgh.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1980. Homes to enclose monuments. 7 February.
<S1>Unpublished Document: Heywood, S. 2012. Bawburgh monuments, Hall Farm Place, Bawburgh.

Related records

9299Part of: Site of Bawburgh Hall (Monument)
11626Related to: Bawburgh Hall outbuildings and garden wall (Building)
9301Related to: Post medieval 'Slipper Chapel' garden house (Building)

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