A brief history of Felbrigg Hall

Stained glass window in the Great Hall, Felbrigg

The hall at Felbrigg you see today was built in stages, beginning in Tudor times, and completed centuries later. Before its bequest to the National Trust in 1969, the estate was owned by three main families who transformed Felbrigg into the place you see today.

Take a journey through centuries of history at Felbrigg, using our timeline.

Timeline

1086

The Early Years

The heart of the estate was built before the Norman conquest and enlarged by the Felbrigg family. The name ‘Felbrigg’ is a relic of the Danish invasions – ‘Fiolbrygga’ is ancient Scandinavian for a plank bridge. When the Normans made their Domesday survey in 1086 the village was amongst the many possessions of the Bigod family.

1351

The Felbrigg name

The earliest record of a family called Felbrigg dates to the late 11th century, when Ailward de Felbrigg and his kinsmen were joined by marriage to the Bigods. A monumental brass in Felbrigg church commemorates this family, and unusually depicts two lords of the manor with their wives. The first is Sir Simon de Felbrigg, thought to have died in 1351, shown with his wife Alice de Thorp. Next to them, in armour, is their son Roger and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Lord Scales.

Simon de Felbrigg brass drawing from Felbrigg Church

1442

Felbrigg to be sold

Felbrigg continued in the hands of the de Felbrigg family until the Lancastrian coup of 1399 spelt disaster for Sir Simon de Felbrigg who was deprived of the lucrative keeperships and offices by the new King Henry IV. When Sir Simon died in December 1442 he was buried with his second wife in the choir of the Norwich Blackfriar's church. His will instructed that Felbrigg be sold.

A portrait of Robert Windham Ketton-Cremer

The Last Squire of Felbrigg 

Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, commonly known as the Last Squire, inherited Felbrigg from his father in 1933. He devoted his life to preserving Felbrigg, finally bequeathing it to the National Trust in 1969.

Rachel Ketton's fire buckets

The diaries of Rachel Anne Ketton 

Rachel Anne Ketton kept diaries of life at Felbrigg during the 1860s and these are still kept in our archives.