Methwold Old Hall

Has been described as a Rejected Masonry Castle, and also as a Rejected Fortified Manor House

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameMethwold Old Hall
Alternative Names
Historic CountryNorfolk
Modern AuthorityNorfolk
1974 AuthorityNorfolk
Civil ParishMethwold

This is reportedly the site of a castle or hall. There were still some standing remains here in C19. Cropmarks of the layout of the building and surrounding features including fishponds can be seen on aerial photographs and from the church tower. (Norfolk HER)

Gatehouse Comments

A rather elderly reference, suggests the church is in bailey of castle. Most certainly the manorial centre but probably not a castle, possible fortified in some way. Ed Woods has pointed out to Gatehouse the village website which has the following "At the time of the Norman Conquest, Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury was the Lord of the Manor, but after 1070 William the Conqueror gave huge estates including Methwold (and Snettisham and Castle Acre) to William De Warenne as thanks for his loyal support. Because of its excellent location, the settlement was the site of one of the three fortified houses built on the edge of the Fens in 1070 as part of the campaign against Hereward the Wake which finally ended Saxon rule. William De Warenne chose a site on the high ground slightly away form the village centre and just to the north west of the present church. The house later fell into disuse and some of the plundered flint and stone can be found in the walls of the church and the later three storey Jacobean mansion, situated near the north gate of the church." This presumably has some bases in Domesday but much of interpretation is suggestive of received wisdom rather than real scholarship. Its fairly clear the manorial centre has not moved from the original Saxon site and it is not away from the village centre - it is in the middle of the village although the modern expansion of the village is slight skewed toward the turnpike. The choice of site was made many years before de Warenne and was most probably made on prosaic grounds to do with dry soil, in this marshy area, rather than anything glamorous like military consideration. Gatehouse is not aware of any evidence either archaeological or historical for fortification, although the manor house probably had the usual domestic defences of a manor house (mainly a stout fence).

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTL731949
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  • Gedge, J.D., 1893, History of a village community in the Eastern Counties p. 32-7
  • Blomefield, Francis, 1805, 'Hundred of Grimeshou: Methwold' An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk Vol. 2 p. 201-210 online transcription (tenurial history)