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The Felbrigg Hall: one of the finest 17th-century country houses in Norfolk, England

David Goran

Located in Norfolk, England, the Felbrigg Hall is one of the finest 17th-century country houses, noted for its Jacobean architecture and fine Georgian interior.

It was the home of the Windham family for about 300 years.

The home of the Windham family  Photo Credit

The home of the Windham family  Photo Credit

 

Felbrigg Hall, west wing, circa 1680 Photo Credit

Felbrigg Hall, west wing, circa 1680 Photo Credit

 

The exterior is an odd mix of stone, flint, brick, and render  Photo Credit

The exterior is an odd mix of stone, flint, brick, and render  Photo Credit

 

One of the bedrooms  Photo Credit

One of the bedrooms  Photo Credit

The Hall was originally built between 1621 and 1624, possibly by Robert Lyminge, an English architect who also designed Blickling Hall and Hatfield House. The house has evolved since the 1620s. Sir John Windham made substantial alterations to the Hall for his son Thomas, adding a new southern range.

It was further extended between 1674 and 1685 when a west wing was added to the designs of William Samwell, who remodeled Ham House, with interior plasterwork by Edward Goudge.

Many of the acquisitions were made by William Windham II (1717–1761), after his Grand Tour between 1738 and 1742. Windham not only purchased the paintings of classical sites, but he also specified exactly how each one was to be displayed. Also, there’s a Gothic library that features over 5000 books collected by successive generations of the Windham family.

The paintings remain laid out as planned by William Windham II in the 1750s  Photo Credit

The paintings remain laid out as planned by William Windham II in the 1750s  Photo Credit

 

Much of hall has been well preserved, and many of the rooms are set out as they were in the late 18th-century  Photo Credit

Much of hall has been well preserved, and many of the rooms are set out as they were in the late 18th-century  Photo Credit

 

The kitchen  Photo Credit

The kitchen  Photo Credit

 

The Georgian staircase Photo Credit

The Georgian staircase Photo Credit

 

The last owner of the house before it passed into National Trust ownership was Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer  Photo Credit

The last owner of the house before it passed into National Trust ownership was Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer  Photo Credit

 

The Hall and 520 acres of woodlands are part of National Trust Photo Credit

The Hall and 520 acres of woodlands are part of National Trust Photo Credit

 

Fascinatingly diverse gardens surrounding a 17th-century mansion  Photo Credit

Fascinatingly diverse gardens surrounding a 17th-century mansion  Photo Credit

 

Felbrigg Hall Walled Garden  Photo Credit

Felbrigg Hall Walled Garden  Photo Credit

 

In the 19th century the estate rapidly declined and was almost lost to the shopping sprees of William Frederick Windham (or ‘Mad Windham’, as he became known in the 1860s) but was rescued when in 1923 it was passed to Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer (1906–1969), biographer of Thomas Gray, Horace Walpole, and writer of Felbrigg: The Story of a House‘, who restored it to its former glory.

Cremer never married and his brother Richard died in Crete during the Second World War. With no heirs, he left the estate and all of its contents, as the vast collection of family paintings and thousands of books in the library, to the National Trust in whose ownership it has remained since 1969.

The garden now contains herbaceous plants and fruit trees trained against the walls  Photo Credit

The garden now contains herbaceous plants and fruit trees trained against the walls  Photo Credit

Part of the estate was acquired by the Beeston Hall school.

Read another story from us: The Sandringham House in Norfolk, England has been the private home of four generations of royal families

Outside the house, there is a walled garden, an 18th-century orangery modeled after Nicholas Hawksmoor’s Great Orangery at Kensington Palace, as well as orchards, planted with a variety of fruits which used to grow in the garden during the 19th century.