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 has something to feed the imagination.
The Great Hall
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 lion and fetterlock motif can be seen used in various forms throughout the house and on the estate.
The Dining Room
Originally the location of the stairs in the 1680's wing, the dining room was created by William Windham II between 1752 and 1755. Currently the table is set for a dinner party hosted by the Ketton family in the 1860's, and we know what the menu for this dinner was as it is recorded in Mrs Ketton's diaries. Transcriptions of these diaries can be viewed when visiting the hall.
The Drawing Room
Known originally as the Great Parlour, this was the main reception and dining room throughout the late 17th-centrury, panelled in oak and hung with pictures. Remodelled in 1751 by James Paine the original ceiling, dating back to 1687, was retained and the plasterwork depicting the feasting of game birds fruit and flowers reflects the room's original purpose.
The Cabinet Room
Originally the drawing room of the 1680’s 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.
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 and 1755. The collection contains approximately 5,000 books, including a copy of Dr Johnson's famous dictionary. The oldest book dates from 1509 and they were all bought to be read – they weren't bought by the yard.
The Chinese Bedroom
Originally two 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 3s 6d per day (17.5p) and 6d (2.5p) per mile travelling. 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 the rooms you do not see!
The kitchen you currently see at Felbrigg 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 are typical of historic country house kitchens, and are all original collection left with Felbrigg.
The South Corridor
The fire at Clandon Park in Surrey in November 2015 is a sad reminder of this ever-present danger, especially in country house kitchens. One rudimentary precaution at Felbrigg was the 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 his arsenal of sporting weapons here, which numbered 42 guns in the upper shop alone. The room above contained his book-binding and gilding tools.