Great Yarmouth – what is its oldest house?

In an idle moment, I began musing about old properties in this part of east Norfolk, knowing that Great Yarmouth has 1000 years of history, with the Minster (St Nicholas Church) being one of the most historic.

The Tolhouse museum, off the splendid North Quay, is 12th century and the town walls, many of them being renovated, first went up in 1280.

The oldest house though in Great Yarmouth is not the converted pub we viewed on Northgate Street (The White Horse) which dated back to 1640, but is beaten by another property on the same road, which easily top trumps it, with a build date of  1230.

1230.

Incredible really.

The property is listed here.

This was the era of the great crusades, the Magna Carta, Marco Polo and Kublai Khan.

The property itself is unusual in its layout – it has two cellars and something called “a hidden room” on its floorplan, which presumably reflects the need for refuge with knights roaming Great Yarmouth in the 13th century.  Or to avoid religious persecution, perhaps?

We’ve seen similar at the much grander National Trust property, Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk, where a hidden room was used to hide priests in 1480.

It’s built too over 4 floors, which is not atypical of that period.

A tunnel is reputed too, in the property details, to run from the basement to the nearby Minster, which, along with the hidden room, perhaps shows fear weren’t just confined to post-Brexit Britain.

I do think Yarmouth, as a town, a needy place at that, makes so little fuss about its proud history. The Old Naval Hospital in the Market Place, the Georgian Naval Hospital off the seafront are marvels of architecture as are the many buildings lining the North Quay and seafront.

If these buildings were in Bruges or Paris or London, they would be thronged with tourists and sightseers but here, at the end of the line, the eastern periphery of England, they are largely ignored.

Nearby Norwich, which attracts visitors and admiration from all who travel in, has buildings as grand as the oldest house of Great Yarmouth with the oldest residence dating back to 1170 near Elm Hill.

Now I ask in all parochial seriousness, why can’t the marketing people at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, why can’t our local MP, Brandon Lewis, trumpet this area’s virtues?

We have a Roman fort at Burgh Castle, which is largely deserted, Britain’s oldest wooden rollercoaster at the Pleasure Beach, listed rides like the iconic snails at Joyland, the column of Britannia, a wealth of architectural gems, historical associations with Lord Nelson, Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens, and yet the town is unloved and ignored.

Great Yarmouth needs to be great again.

Someone needs to grasp that nettle.

I’m up for it – is anyone else?

 

 

 

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Call Now Button