Bylaugh Hall: Norfolk’s hidden treasure

This stunning former wedding venue is now on the market. Snap it up: it’s a one of a kind property.

IF you want your money to go further than it would with a property in prime central London, head out to Norwich, where this unique 60-bedroom former stately home has become available. House hunters interested in the imposing building will still need deep pockets, though, as it is currently available at a starting price of £1.5m.

Heralded as one of the most beautiful and imposing mansions in the country, Bylaugh Hall has been at the heart of Norwich for several years as the go-to venue for weddings and big events.

The Grade II listed building benefits from an elevated position overlooking the picturesque Wensum valley and the hall alone spans over 26,500 sq ft comprised of six reception rooms, 19 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms and a part-converted basement. The 18 acres of land also feature an old orchard cottage with four bedrooms, a coachman’s lodge boasting five further bedrooms, a clock tower, courtyard and stable mews with a total of 18 bedrooms and shower rooms, along with a service wing and a 6,797 sq ft orangery with a garden and function room, restaurant, kitchen and further bedrooms.

It is located in a small parish hamlet on unspoilt and peaceful undulating farmland but also benefits from being within easy reach of Norwich. Known as the cultural capital of the east, it has a range of theatres, restaurant and shops, if you miss the hustle and bustle of the city. When the town centre gets too much, residents can take a trip to the nearby north Norfolk coast, which offers sandy beaches, sailing and fishing.

The property has had an interesting past. It was supposedly won in a game of cards in 1796 by Sir John Lombe and was later redesigned by Sir Charles Barry Junior, the son of the architect behind the Houses of Parliament and an exponent of the Renaissance revival movement in England. Completed in 1852, the Hall tapped into the Jacobethan style of the time, which was part of the second phase of renaissance architecture in England following the Elizabethan style.

Everyone from Winston Churchill to President Eisenhower is said to have visited the hall before it was partially demolished in 1950. It was privately acquired in 2005 after more than half a century of dereliction.

The main hall as it stand today features symmetrical facades, bays, relief carvings and rusticated pilasters terminating in obelisks and turrets, adding a sense of grandeur. The double oak front doors of the entrance porch are set beneath the coat of arms of the Gibbs family and the inner hall leads to an open galleried hall with impressive Corinthian style pillars and ornate friezes and cornicing. The interior design, colouring and refurbishments were inspired by the style of the Chelsea Arts Club in London.

Bylaugh Hall can be accessed from the A1067 Fakenham Road via the A47 Dereham Road through Swanton Morley. Regular rail services from Norwich to London Liverpool street take approximately 110 minutes and there is an international airport to the north of Norwich city, where flights to Schipol airport in Amsterdam take approximately one hour and from where onward worldwide destinations can be reached.

For more information contact Chesterton Humberts Norwich on 01603 661 199 or chestertonhumberts.com. By Naomi Mdudu.