Restoration work at Oxburgh Hall continues
Work has begun on an ambitious project to restore elements of Oxburgh Hall's Victorian architectural additions and gardens.
If you’re visiting during 2017 you’ll notice that Oxburgh Hall will have scaffold erected in the inner courtyard. It will be a scene not too dissimilar to one from the 19th century, when the 6th Baronet and his son last carried out work of this scale.
During this time the house will be open as usual, as well as the garden and estate.
So what’s with all the scaffolding?
We’ve built scaffolding all around the inner courtyard of Oxburgh Hall so we can carry out essential repairs to the dormer windows, roof and chimneys.
Following the unexpected collapse of a window last year, further investigation shed light on how these windows had been constructed during the 6th Baronet and his son’s renovations in the 1860s and that urgent work was needed to ensure the remaining windows are safe and secure for generations to come.
This is a great opportunity to see and find out more about our conservation work in action, which is made possible thanks to your support.
A scene not too dissimilar to the 19th Century
For many, Oxburgh Hall typifies the fairy-tale moated castle, but in fact many of its architectural features, as well as its interiors, were added during the 19th Century.
They were the vision of one man, the 6th Baronet, Sir Henry Bedingfeld, inspired to create a childhood fantasy to reflect the glory of his family's medieval past.
Re-presenting the King’s Room
From the 1830s onwards, the 6th Baronet and his son also redecorated and refurnished Oxburgh. Although the King’s Room has since been denuded of its contents, the recent discovery of detailed photographs of the tapestries that would have hung on the walls is helping us to use new methods of digital replication, to re-create and re-present the room as it would have been.
Re-instating the wilderness
Outside, work to re-instate the wilderness garden has also begun and will take us a number of years to complete. Created by the 6th Baronet in deliberate contrast to the formality of the garden immediately surrounding the Hall, the wilderness at Oxburgh would have once consisted of shrubs, specimen trees, meandering paths, a rustic bridge and a sunken area known as the Dell.
Here the dappled sunlight through the trees created a romantic illusion of an untamed landscape in which people could walk and experience nature.
" The continued works to the house have provided us with an opportunity to discover more about this beautiful home and surrounding landscape, and explore its history in a new and exciting way. I hope visitors will join us on this journey and keep returning to see how we're getting on."
What has been happening so far in 2017?
Throughout Spring and Summer 2017, a team of builders, architects and specialist engineers got into every knook and cranny of Oxburgh's roofline. Roof tiles, timbers and chimneys were lifted, thoroughly examined and replaced by our team of heritage experts to find out what needs to be done. We took the surveys as far as they could go, revealing new layers of its history and learning a lot along the way. It has been a fascinating journey through the ages, discovering the development of building techniques throughout the centuries. Now that we have the information we need we will be planning for restoration and repair work to start in 2018. However, we also found out that a couple of the chimneys require immediate work. Next time you visit you will notice scaffold now securing a couple of the chimneys.
Keep returning to find out how we are getting on. We will be looking at new ways to let you get closer to the project in 2018. Already many of you have been showing your support by writing on our Special Memories Board and telling us why Oxburgh is special to you.