A moated manor house and gardens of C15 origin with many C19 features, set within gardens laid out during the C20.
Mannington Hall was built in the 1460s by William Lumner, probably on an older moated site. The Hall and estate passed to the Potts family in 1550, at which time an estate map records the existence of fishponds but no detail of a garden. Mannington remained in the hands of the Potts family until 1736. In that year it was purchased by Horatio Walpole who also owned the adjoining park and estate attached to Wolterton Hall (qv). A map of the estate produced by Walpole in 1742 records gardens within the moat and a long axial avenue to the west, together with an area described as 'Park' to the south. Thereafter Mannington functioned as a farmhouse until 1864 when it became the home of another Horatio Walpole, fourth Earl of Orford. He carried out various alterations to the Hall and garden but being an enthusiast for gothic architecture he retained much of its medieval appearance. The two adjoining estates remain (1999) in single private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Mannington Hall is located in rural Norfolk between the villages of Itteringham and Barningham and is surrounded by gardens of c 8ha both within and outside the moat. The site boundaries comprise a pasture field and Duffers Wood on raised ground to the east, woodland and fields to the north, and open fields and plantations to the south and west where the c 1km long Avenue extends through the countryside. The land form is gently rolling, with the site sitting in a narrow valley running north/south created by a tributary of the River Bure. The ground falls gently from east and west to the river, with flat land to the north and south. Mannington enjoys a very rural setting away from other settlements and is generally an enclosed, inward-looking site.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The main approach drive is from the west off the Saxthorpe road along the c 1km long Avenue, restored and replanted with limes in 1975, up to the west front where it opens onto a cedar lawn in front of the moat before turning north to go around the Hall and enter over the bridge on the north side. A second drive enters from the south off the Mannington road, to join the other drive at the west front beside the cedar lawn.
Mannington Hall (listed grade I) is a large moated hall house of c 1460 (with 1864 and later additions) built of alternating knapped flint and iron-stained flint under a pantile roof, standing on the north-east part of the moated enclosure. The three-storey hall faces west towards the long avenue and has mullioned windows, crenellated roof, and a polygonal tower. The door is reached via a wrought-iron and wood pedestrian drawbridge across the moat. The south facade overlooking the gardens has large mullioned windows and polygonal towers to left and right. The east front comprises a low two-storey domestic range of brick and flint. The north front contains the courtyard, approached by a bridge over the moat (listed grade II) and enclosed to the east by a low flint service range and to the west by a red-brick garden wall (listed grade II). The building work carried out on the Hall in 1864 by Horatio Walpole affected much of the exterior but retained its early style and character.
A stable block lies c 100m to the north-west of the Hall, outside the moat, and includes service cottages and storage buildings.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The grounds cover c 8ha and lie both within and outside the moat. Inside the moat (listed grade II), the main door on the west front leads to a lawn with a gravel path extending to the drawbridge. High red-brick crenellated walls (listed grade II) with herbaceous borders beneath enclose the area on its north-west side, terminating in a guard house by the drawbridge and an arched gateway into the north courtyard. The walls, the arched gateway, and the guard house may be of earlier origin but were all substantially restored in the late C19. A second garden area lies on the south front. Mature yew hedges (late C19) define a central compartment laid to lawn, cut with beds presently filled with gravel and roses in containers (1999). To the south-west is a yew-enclosed swimming pool area (c 1905) and a scented garden planted in 1980. On the east front is small (c 20m by 30m) enclosed garden area.
Outside the moat to the west is a lawn planted with a number of mature mid C19 specimen cedars and other trees planted since 1969, and beyond this lies the long western approach avenue which originated in the early C18. To south is a lawn area with shrub beds (1960s-1980s) developed on the site of a late C19 formal garden, and a mid C19 ornamental Doric temple (listed grade II) in the south-east corner, brought to Mannington by Horatio Walpole, fourth Earl of Orford in the C19 and positioned here in recent years (late C20). To the east lie two fishponds with dividing bridge, both shown on the 1565 estate map and dredged in 1998. Beyond the courtyard to the north is an area being developed with principally native trees (1999). The main garden areas have been designed by Robin Walpole, now Lord Walpole since 1969.
The ruins of the C11 parish church (listed grade II) lie c 250m south-west of the Hall, within an area developed as ornamental woodland by Horatio Walpole in the late C19. The so-called Chapel Garden is planted with box, yew, and laurel with a wide range of trees and is scattered with a diverse collection of small follies, including fragments of medieval masonry such as a C15 gateway arch (listed grade II) and a C15 porch arch (listed grade II).
Mannington Hall does not have any surrounding parkland although the area to the east of the Chapel Garden (outside the area here registered) was labelled as such on the 1742 map. It is thought likely that this area of grass and trees was used as an aesthetic backdrop to the garden without being consciously designed (UEA report).
The walled kitchen garden lies on the north side of the stable block and now houses a Heritage Rose Garden developed in the 1980s by Robin Walpole. It is laid in a formal arrangement, divided into compartments by hedges, paths, wattle fences, and a central pergola with many paths and shrub rose beds. The garden now extends outside the wall to the west on the site of the former orchard. The Gardener's Cottage and other buildings to the south, in the stable courtyard, are used for accommodation, a tea room, shop and other visitor facilities. New (late C20) wooden buildings lie on the west side of the Gardener's Cottage beside a wild flower meadow with children's play area.
C Tomes, Mannington Hall and its owners (1916)
N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: North-east Norfolk and Norwich (1962), pp 192/3
G Plumptre, Collins Book of British Gardens (1985), pp 39-41
Mannington Hall, (UEA report, mid 1980s)
J Garden History 11, (1991), nos 1 and 2, pp 74/5
Country Life, no 38 (17 September 1992), pp 104-7
Map of Mannington Hall, 1565 (private collection)
Map of Mannington Hall and its surroundings, 1742 (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 Itteringham parish, 1839 (Norfolk Record Office)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1890
2nd edition published 1907
OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1906
Drawing, Mannington Hall from the south-west, 1881 (private collection)
Records relating to the history of Mannington are held in a private collection.
Description written: July 1999
Amended: October 2000
Register Inspector: EMP
Edited: March 2001