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The history of Felbrigg Hall

Coats of arms above the entrance to Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk.
Coats of arms above the entrance to Felbrigg Hall | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

The hall at Felbrigg was built in stages, beginning in Tudor times and completed centuries later. Discover the history of the three main families who lived here and how they transformed it into the place you see today. Learn about the last Squire of Felbrigg, and how he came to leave this special place to the National Trust.

The Last Squire of Felbrigg

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

An active member of the community

As his predecessors had done, the Squire played a full part in the life of his county. As High Sheriff of Norfolk (1951–2) he was required to witness two hangings, and as a JP he administered justice. He was actively involved in the founding of the University of East Anglia which conferred an honorary D.Litt on him in 1969, and to which he bequeathed his working library of books on Norfolk history, but he did not relish public prominence.

A tragic loss

Robert did not marry and the central tragedy of his life was the loss of his younger brother in 1941. The Victory V plantation behind the house was planted at the end of the war both to celebrate the allied victory and to commemorate his brother Richard.

The future

When asked what would become of Felbrigg on his death, the Squire would often say that it "was to be left to a cat's home". In fact, he had been involved in the work of the National Trust since the late 1940s when he had helped Alec Penrose, the Honorary Regional Representative, with decisions about the decoration of the Orangery at Blickling. He had approached the National Trust in 1941 at which time the Executive Committee had accepted the property. Upon his death in December 1969, Felbrigg, along with all its contents, woods, parkland and farms were passed to the Trust.

Oil painting on canvas, Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer (1906-1969) (unfinished) by Allan Gwynne-Jones RA. Initialled and dated, lower right: 1969-70. Seated in the dining room at Felbrigg Hall, turned to his left.
Oil painting on canvas, Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, Felbrigg Hall | © National Trust Images

A timeline of Felbrigg Hall


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.

Snakes and ladders game at Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk

Felbrigg's collections

Explore the objects and works of art we care for at Felbrigg on the National Trust Collections website.

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Close-up section of the tortoiseshell, brass inlaid and ormolu mounted 'Boulle' kneehole desk or bureau at Felbrigg.

Felbrigg Hall's collection 

In 1969, R.W. Ketton-Cremer, gave Felbrigg to the National Trust. Today, Felbrigg Hall is home to one of the Trust’s largest collections. Here are some of the highlights.

Visitors exploring the house at Felbrigg Hall, Gardens and Estate, Norfolk

Visiting the hall at Felbrigg 

Discover the hall at Felbrigg in Norfolk. A place of surprises and delights where each room stirs the imagination.

Cyclist at Felbrigg Hall, Gardens and Estate, Norfolk

Exploring the estate at Felbrigg 

The estate at Felbrigg includes 520 acres of woods, with rolling parkland, a lake and buggy-friendly paths. There's plenty of space to let off steam or follow a trail to discover the delights of the grounds.

Climbing plants grow on the walls of Felbrigg Hall

Volunteering at Felbrigg 

Discover volunteering opportunities at Felbrigg Hall. From supporting the garden team to helping out with events, there is something for everyone to get involved with.

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Learn about people from the past, discover remarkable works of art and brush up on your knowledge of architecture and gardens.

Octavia Hill (1838 - 1912) (after John Singer Sargent) by Reginald Grenville Eves, RA (London 1876 ¿ Middleton in Teesdale 1941)


From landscape gardeners to LGBTQ+ campaigners and suffragettes to famous writers, many people have had their impact on the places we care for. Discover their stories and the lasting legacies they’ve left behind.