The Hall at Felbrigg
One of the most elegant country houses in East Anglia, the Hall is a place of surprises and delights, a mixture of opulence and homeliness where each room evokes the imagination.
The Great Hall
Several of the stained glass windows in the Great Hall date from the 15th century, some reinstalled from St Peter Mancroft Church in Norwich. The Yorkist lion and fetterlock badge can be seen throughout the house and on the estate.
The Dining Room
The dining room was created by William Windham II between 1752 and ’55 where the original 1680s staircase stood. Currently the table is set for a dinner party hosted by the Ketton family in the 1860s. We know what the menus might have looked like as they were recorded in Rachel Anne Ketton's diaries.
The Drawing Room
Known originally as the Great Parlour, this was the main reception and dining room throughout the late 17th century, panelled in oak and hung with pictures. Remodelled in 1751 by James Paine, the original ceiling, dating back to 1687, was retained along with its intricate plasterwork, depicting game birds, fruit and flowers to reflect the room's original function.
The Cabinet Room
Originally the 17th-century drawing room was square and panelled until the bay window was added in 1751. William Windham II transformed this space into a Cabinet to display the pictures and objects he had amassed on a European Grand Tour. The most complete surviving Grand Tour Cabinet in England, it also houses luxury export furniture traded by the East India Company.
Soak up the atmosphere of Felbrigg's spectacular Gothic library. This room was probably the Great Chamber of the Jacobean house and was made into a library by William Windham II between 1752 and 1755. The collection contains approximately 5000 books, including a copy of Dr Johnson's famous dictionary. The oldest book dates from 1509 and they were all bought to be read.
The Chinese Bedroom
Originally two rooms, these were united in 1751 when the bay window was built. The wallpaper was imported by the East India Company and block-printed and hand-painted in China. A specialist had to be engaged to hang the paper at a cost of 3s 6d (about £20 in today’s money) per day and 6d per travelling mile. William Windham II thought this was 'a cursed deal'.
" The house was run on old-fashioned lines by a staff of three. This consisted of [Gordon] Ward, the butler, who had already been at Felbrigg for thirty years, a maid and a cook."
In the Victorian times a house like Felbrigg had to be self-sufficient in so many ways. A separate room was provided for every domestic task: Game Larder, Bake House, Pump House, Brew House, Larder, Scullery - and that is just to list rooms that aren’t usually on show!
The kitchen you currently see has been in the same spot since the early 18th century. There are two long oak tables, one of which is 18th century, the other Victorian. The last squire installed the Aga. The pewter and highly polished copper batterie de cuisine is typical of historic country house kitchens and are all original to Felbrigg.
The South Corridor
Fire is an ever-present danger in the country house, especially in its kitchens. One rudimentary precaution at Felbrigg was this set of leather and metal fire buckets, which bear Rachel Anne Ketton's initials.
William Windham II enjoyed working with his hands and used this room for the popular 18th-century pastime of wood and ivory turning. He also stored an arsenal of sporting weapons here, which numbered 42 guns in the upper shop alone. The room above contained his book-binding and gilding tools.