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Heydon Hall


Heydon Hall is an early-18th-century landscape park and woodland which had further development in the 19th century. The lawned gardens of approximately 5 hectares are situated beside the house.


Largely flat
The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

An early 18th-century landscape park and woodland, further developed in the 19th century, with late 19th-century formal gardens and lawns beside the house.



Heydon Hall is situated is rural Norfolk, c 24km north-west of the centre of Norwich, west of the B1149 Norwich to Holt road. The c 160ha site is surrounded by a farmed landscape in a well-wooded part of the county. The boundaries comprise perimeter woods edged by a minor county road to the south, the B1149 to the north-east, and Heydon estate village to the south-west. The ground at Heydon is virtually level with a slight slope down from north-west to south-east. The Hall stands in the centre of the northern section of the park. There is a more prominent slope in the extreme south of the park where the land falls towards a small stream, dammed in the C19 to create a serpentine lake. The level landscape with its high proportion of trees and perimeter belts precludes views into and out of the site. Internally the main views are focused by the avenues which reach across the park to north and south of the Hall.


Heydon Hall has numerous lodged approaches, on all boundaries of the park. From Heydon village, c 300m to the south-west of the Hall, the main drive passes twin red-brick and tile lodges and runs north-east through the park to the south front of the Hall. The drive continues north-east to exit the park c 1.1km to the east past the mid C19 red-brick and tile Eagle Lodges (listed grade II). Grange Lodge (listed grade II) is another red-brick and tile mid C19 building which accompanies the track which enters the park c 600m to the south-south-west of the Hall, now (1999) running alongside the lake in the southern part of the park and exiting in the south-east corner by Park Farm. The mid C19 red-brick and tile Corpusty Lodges (listed grade II) lie on the west boundary, c 800m to the west-north-west. The drive from these runs south-east to join the Heydon lodges and drive beside the church. Two lodged drives enter along the southern boundary; c 1.4km south-east of the Hall stands Dog Lodge (listed grade II), a mid C19 pair of red-brick and tile lodges incorporating an entrance arch. The drive runs north-west to join the Eagle Lodge drive c 300m east-south-east of the Hall. Beyond Dog Lodge on the tip of the southern boundary stands Ollands Lodge (listed grade II), a single mid C19 brick building on the opposite side of the road to the park entrance. Ollands drive runs west through an ornamental tree belt known as Carman's Belt to join Dog Lodge drive before it enters the open park. A track continues south-east from Ollands Lodge through a strip of woodland which ends on the boundary of the neighbouring Salle estate (qv). The immediate setting of many of the mid C19 lodges, including Corpusty and Dog, was embellished with elaborate ornamental planting at the time of building and much of this survives.


Heydon Hall (listed grade I) is a large red-brick country house in the Elizabethan style. The E-plan building has mullioned windows, a steeply pitched pantile roof and clusters of octagonal chimney stacks. The five-bay south front has a central porch with arch and frieze decoration. To the west, two-storey square bays look over the formal gardens, whilst the north front is focused on a formal avenue of sweet chestnut. To the east is a two-storey service range (listed grade II) which incorporates the estate office, opposite which stands the detached former servants' cottage (listed grade II). A detached mid C19 red-brick Clock Tower (listed grade II) stands c 40m to the east of the Hall. Some 100m to the south-east of the Hall stands the detached mid C19 stable courtyard (listed grade II), incorporating cart shed and stores, a mid C19 barn with C18 origins (listed grade II), and a range of stables with an attached cottage (listed grade II). These date from the late C17.

Heydon Hall was built between 1581 and 1584 for Henry Dynne. Between 1740 and 1750 Matthew Brettingham the Elder carried out alterations for Col Earle, whilst at the end of the C18 it was extended to the east by three bays and a tower was added by William Earle Bulwer. Further extensions were made in the 1830s by William Earle Lytton Bulwer. Most of the servants' ranges, the Clock Tower, and the stable courtyard buildings were added in the last two phases of work.


The gardens at Heydon are divided into a series of walled compartments on the south, east, and north fronts within a ha-ha, and cover c 5ha. The entrance court to the south comprises two lawned areas adorned with statues of boars, divided by a central gravel drive. The lawns are bordered by shrubberies to east and west and along the west wing yew hedges with statuary form the division with the west garden. On the west front is a small formal rose garden enclosed by an early C19 arcaded red-brick garden wall (listed grade II) to the west. Beyond this lies an enclosed sunken tennis lawn, reached from the entrance court by elaborate early C19 iron gates. The north front faces a formal lawn cut by an axial path edged with bulbs and clipped trees. The lawn is bordered by shrubberies which lead into an arboretum to the north and north-east filled with rhododendrons and azaleas. In the north-east corner of the arboretum, beside the walled kitchen garden stands a recently restored early C19 red-brick deer barn (listed grade II). To the east, around the service buildings is a small enclosed lawn with modern swimming pool (late C20). The gardens were developed over much of the C19 and contain elements created in the early, mid, and late parts of the century. Since 1972 onwards they have been the subject of a restoration programme.


The central core of Heydon park survives under grass with a good covering of trees. Species include oak, beech, horse chestnut, and sweet chestnut and the trees range in age from the late C18 and early C19 phase of planting to late C20 introductions, with the majority dating from the mid C19. Areas to the north and the extreme east are in arable with some permanent set-aside land. A crow's-foot layout of horse chestnut avenues planted in c 1845 extends from the Hall into the south park for c 800m towards the narrow serpentine lake which crosses the south end of the park. Halfway between the two avenues, on the north bank of the water, stands a mid C19 brick and flint 'gothic' lookout tower. Aligned on the north front of the Hall are the remains of an early C18 (or older) sweet chestnut avenue. To the west of this, c 400m north-west of the Hall in Icehouse Plantation, stands a small early Victorian obelisk and an icehouse on the north bank of Little Man Pond.


The walled kitchen garden (listed grade II) lies c 100m north-west of Heydon Hall. It dates from the mid C18 and is constructed of red brick with a high-walled central compartment surrounded by lower-walled outer compartments to east, west, and south. Within the large enclosure one early C20 glasshouse survives on the south side of the north wall with ranges of C19 sheds on the north side of the wall. The compartment is quartered by cross-paths lined by espalier fruit or rose arches leading to central yew hedges and statuary. The quarters are used for fruit and vegetable production. The pattern of paths remains unchanged from the 1776 estate map, whilst the outer enclosures date from the mid or late C19.


M J Armstrong, History and Antiquities of Norfolk III, (1781), p 210

J Grigor, The Eastern Arboretum (1841), pp 160-1

N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: North-east Norfolk and Norwich (1962), p 164

Country Life, 172 (22 July 1982), pp 246-9; (29 July 1982), pp 318-21

J Garden History 11, (1991), nos 1 and 2, pp 51-3

T Williamson, The archaeology of the landscape park, BAR Brit Ser 268 (1998), pp 240-2


James Corbridge, A map of the Heydon Hall estate, 1731 (private collection)

A plan of Heydon Hall Farm in the occupation of William Wigget Bulwer, 1776 (private collection)

W Faden, A new topographical map of the county of Norfolk, 1797 (Norfolk Record Office)

A Bryant, Map of the county of Norfolk, 1826 (Norfolk Record Office)

Tithe map for Heydon parish, 1841 (Norfolk Record Office)

OS Surveyor's drawing, around 1815 (British Library Maps)

OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1890; 3rd edition published 1929

OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1905


Heydon Hall, 1764 ( background detail in a painting by Mary Earle (private collection)

Humphry Repton, Heydon Hall, 1781 [in Armstrong 1781]

Description written: July 1999

Edited: February 2001

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):


Heydon Hall was built in the 1580s by Henry Dynne, auditor of the Queen's Exchequer, and may have been surrounded at this time by a small post-medieval deer park. On his death in 1585 the estate passed to the Colfer family and subsequently to the Kemps. Sir Robert Kemp sold it to the lawyer Erasmus Earle in about 1640. The Earle line continued at Heydon until the death of Augustus Earle in 1762, when William Wiggett Bulwer married the heiress to the estate. A painting by Mary Earle from this period shows a complex arrangement of walled gardens around the Hall. By 1776 these had been swept away to make space for a landscape park (estate map, 1776). William Earle Bulwer inherited in 1797 and undertook extensions to the Hall and began a programme of expansion of the park by planting belts of trees around the arable periphery. The Hall was let briefly in the early 19th century until William Earle Lytton Bulwer married and returned in 1827, beginning another period of change to the Hall and embellishment of the landscape. By 1885 a formal yew-hedged parterre had been laid out beside the Hall and the park had been extended to around 200 hectares, reaching the perimeter belts planted almost 100 years previously. During the 20th century the park has contracted slightly from the northern boundary whilst the core has remained little altered. The gardens were restored by Mrs S Bulwer Long in 1972 and the site remains (1999) in private ownership.

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens

  • Reference: GD1092
  • Grade: II*


  • Hall (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Stream
  • Description: A small stream, dammed in the 19th century.
  • Lake
  • Description: Serpentine lake.
  • Avenue
  • Description: The avenues reach across the park to north and south of the Hall.
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential





Open to the public


Civil Parish