The development of Blickling's estate

Beautiful countryside for walking © Sue Prutton National Trust Images

Beautiful countryside for walking

There’s much more to Blickling than the famous Jacobean house

It’s easy for Blickling’s park and wider estate to be overlooked, especially when the Jacobean hall and gardens are as impressive as those at Blickling.

However, those who owned and lived in the impressive houses were also involved in the creation of magnificent landscaped parks and estates.

Ancient finds

Finds of Neolithic artefacts including axe-heads indicate that there has been some form of habitation at Blickling for at least 6,000 years. The natural landscape altered after the last Ice Age, when woodland was removed for farming and the grazing of animals.

The name ‘Blickling’ itself gives a clue about the landscape. In old English, Blickling can be interpreted to mean a grassy bank next to a stream with the word ‘beck’ becoming ‘blick’ with ‘ling’ being the grassy bank.

We imagine that Blickling Hall was built on a meadow next to a stream.  The stream was used to fill the moat and feed a number of ponds for keeping fish. The possible Norse meaning is a bit less romantic but none-the-less useful in that it refers to ‘ing’ meaning people or kin, and to the Norse name of Blickla. So put together we have ‘Blickling’, a place of Blickla’s people.

Famous owners

Blickling has been owned by some well-known people:

• King Harold
• William the Conqueror in 1066
• The Bishop of Norwich,
• Sir Nicholas Dagworth
• Sir Thomas Erpingham
• Sir John Fastolfe
• Sir Geoffrey Boleyn
• 1616 Sir Henry Hobart 1st Baronet of Blickling.

During mediaeval times two parks probably existed at Blickling with one being centred on the Bishop’s Palace near to the river Bure and the other being centred on the house built by Sir Nicholas Dagworth in 1390.

It was not until the demise of the Boleyns and the affects of the Reformation that the two Parks were amalgamated and the land eventually came in to ownership of the Hobarts in 1616.  The land which makes up the park and estate we see today really started to be acquired in the seventeenth century by Henry Hobart as the house was being built.

The estate that he bought amounted to about 100 acres, but he was keen to acquire an additional 500 acres. Henry never saw the completed house but he had set in motion the idea of a much larger park.

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