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Some of our treasures
This was the buttery (kitchen) of the Jacobean house. In the early years of the 19th century it was panelled out and painted off-white. The present scheme may date from the middle of the 19th century.
Some of the stained glass windows in the Great Hall date from the 15th century and some originally came from St Peter Mancroft church in Norwich. The window on the left depicts the crest of the Windham family who lived at Felbrigg Hall. The lion and fetterlock motif can be seen used in various forms throughout the house and on the estate.
See the Dining Room with the table set ready for a grand evening meal. The meal is a recreation of one served here at Felbrigg in the 1860s. The menu was found written in the diary of Rachel Anne Ketton, a member of the family who lived here in the late 1800s. Find out about dining 'a la russe' and why the Victorians tied a ribbon around walnuts.
Known originally as the great parlour, this was the main reception and dining room of late 17th century, panelled in oak and hung with pictures. Remodelled in 1751 by James Paine who retained the original ceiling with its date of 1687 in the plasterwork and its imagery of feasting with game birds, fruit. and flowers reflecting the room's original purpose.
Originally the drawing room of the 1680s wing, it was square and panelled until the bay window was added in 1751. William Windham II remodelled the room as the setting for the Italian pictures acquired on his Grand Tour. These still hang very much as he originally planned.
The Stair Hall
The construction of James Paine's stair hall was begun in the spring of 1752. It occupied much the of the site of the 1680s stairs, but actually achieved fewer and more gradual flights in a smaller space. The Stair Hall was redecorated for Admiral Windham in 1824 by Dixon of Norwich. There is general resemblance to the Dining Room scheme.
Soak up the atmosphere of Felbrigg's outstanding Gothic library. This room was probably the Great Chamber of the Jacobean house and was made into the Library by William Windham II between 1752-5. The collection contains approximately 5,000 books, including a copy of Dr Johnson's famous dictionary. The oldest book dates from 1509 and they've all been read - they weren't bought by the yard.
The book room at Felbrigg is off the library. The current exhibition here is of the women of Felbrigg, the wives and daughters, who are often overlooked. You can see:
- Katherine Windham's book of plays - a well thumbed volume with ink smudges on many of the pages
- Rachel Ketton's diaries - a fascinating insight into the lives of a Norfolk family
- Emily Ketton-Cremer's bee keeping books and wonderful album of postcards
There are also dance cards, scent bottles, stamp boxes and bracelets on display.
Originally 2 rooms, these were united in 1751 when the bay window was built. The wallpaper was ordered through the East India Company and block printed/hand painted in China. A specialist had to be engaged to hang the paper at a cost of 3s6d per day (17.5p) and 6d (2.5p) per mile travelling. William Windham II thought this a 'cursed deal'.
The kitchen has occupied this site since the early eighteenth century but its ceiling was raised probably around 1800 when the two round-headed windows were made in its east wall. The charcoal stove between them is also of this date but it appears that the old range was removed by the last squire who introduced the present Aga.
There are over 13,000 items in the collection bequeathed to us together with the house and estate. From delicate Mantle clocks to stately Grandfather clocks; from stained glass in the great hall to terrestrial and celestial globes in the library and much much more.
Visit us to view the collection or you can now view some of our historic collection online.
In many of the rooms in the house are red story boxes containing snippets of information about Felbrigg and some of its residents together with props to help children more easily understand that history. Simply for children, the props are either for dressing up, or for them to use, such as the binoculars in the great hall to get a better view of the stained glass window, or the picture frame in the Cabinet so they may have their "portrait" taken.
Rachel Ketton's diaries from 1863 to 1870 exist in our archives and one of our volunteers has painstakingly transcribed them.
Read them to find out what the family were doing day by day, what the weather was doing and who was visiting Felbrigg.
Here is the link to the entries for 1863 and below, if you wish, you can read on..
1864 Jan - June
Mr & Mrs Upcher, the 3 children and the 3 Misses Pigott came in two sledges, each drawn by a pair of ponies, called after lunch, we all went to the door to see them off and Mr Upcher drove over the grass and just as he was turning on to the path the whole of his cargo with the exception of Hamond were thrown out, all escaped unhurt with the exception of Mrs Upcher who was in great pain, , ....
1864 July - Dec
The 2 girls rode with Captain Douglas 4 hours, dinner at two. The Douglas’s left us at four and we spent the evening at Mrs Beauchamp’s. The Anderson’s, the Marcon family and Miss Pearson there, very dull, Anna hit Miss Marcon at napball in the mouth, with a ball and made herself miserable about it coming home.
1865 Jan - June
Georgiana the kitchen maid had a letter to say her little brother 5 years old was dead of diphtheria. She very much wanted to go and see him, but was persuaded not. It poured with rain but we went to Norwich with Minnie. Lord Leicester gave a ball to the county to meet the Prince and Princess of Wales who were spending the week there.
1865 July - Dec
Pouring rain and none of the hay got up. Cleared up in the afternoon. While I was in the garden Mr Johnson’s two ‘jokers’ called and went into the kitchen garden. Shepherd came in the evening much to my indignation and was received with rapture by Mrs Nickels and all the servants – the next morning I told her my opinion on the subject.
1866 Jan - Jun
Rhoda called me down and gave a month’s warning in an improper way.
Sent for her into the schoolroom and she showed us Mrs Hamonds letter from which it appeared she had been complaining of being very uncomfortable; asked her in what way and she said ‘Gibbs had left and Mr Palmer had given warning’. Sent for Preston and asked if she wishes to leave and found she did. Sent for Howard and Sarah and found they meant to leave to better themselves
1866 July - Dec
Grand row with Preston who has been amusing herself for the last three weeks and expects to be paid her wages and doctors bill; after being very abusive she departed with the postman. Bobbie too ill to go back to Mr Spurgins, called there and told him so the holidays last till the first week in September. Priscilla and Margaret went with the children to Colne House.
Thursday 9th January
All hands busy preparing for the small party tonight. Duncan in a bad temper and gave warning but afterwards thought better of it. Ten Buxtons and Pattersons came and Miss Pellew and the Pinkeys came, Miss Day and the Upchers. They had a game of ‘pingles’ dancing and singing. John and I sat in the library.
1868 July - Dec
Saturday 22nd August
The Sheringham and Holt cricket match; a dreadful day. Bobbie went to Sheringham at 10.30 but found the match was postponed till Monday. It rained all day, except 2 hours. A most awful railway accident yesterday; Lord and Lady Farnham and 25 other persons burnt to death owing to a collision with a luggage van laden with petroleum. The Déjeuné at Crown Point postponed till Monday.
Tuesday 9th February
Looked over plate with Betts who leaves tomorrow. After dinner John paid his wages when he said he much wished to stay. John agreed to it when all the servants rose in a body and said they would leave if Betts stopped so we gave him Col. Blomefields character and let him go as he gave warning himself and was not useful.
Wednesday 19th January
Mrs Feilden called. Abused all the neighbours but otherwise amiable! Dodd and Anna came and went with Margaret and Minnie to dinner at Wickmere. Met Mrs Beales (an old bore!), Mr Fairar! Mr Trotter and young Shuckborough! A low set. Never met anyone worth meeting there – generally cads!!!