Kenningham Hall

Kenningham Hall & Farm

KENNINGHAM (or Keningham) was a separate Parish and Manor until 1452. It is recorded in the Domesday Book as Kenincham, being half a mile long and five furlongs wide (that is approximately 20 acres), so it was much smaller than Mulbarton.

13 Rectors of Kenningham are listed, beginning with Roger Baste of Hasketone (1309) and ending with Will Steynware or Steynour (1446). In 1452 the benefice was perpetually united with Mulbarton.        (From the list of Rectors in Mulbarton Church, where name spelt with 'nn')

Kenningham was probably never very large and the reason for its demise is uncertain. It has been assumed that it was decimated by the 'Black death' around 1348-68. The church was totally demolished before the Reformation and its land of 50 acres was added to the glebe of Mulbarton. The site of the church is now lost in woodland but is clearly marked on the 1724 map of Mulbarton. Incidentally, Keningham is not otherwise included in that map, because it was not part of the Manor of Mulbarton. The former village became pasture; and all that remains today is the Hall, a terrace of former farm-workers cottages, and a series of mounds in a nearby field.

Kenningham: farmworkers' cottages; site of church in woodland; grounds of Hall in foreground
Kenningham: farmworkers' cottages; site of church in woodland; grounds of Hall in foreground


'The old house [Kenningham Hall] was, it is believed, not pulled down.... But a new front with rooms at each side of a central hall was built on to the old house, much of which still remains, and is apparently of the time of Queen Elizabeth or even earlier. In a pasture on the opposite side of the road to the present house there was anciently another house - possibly the original or the old Rectory.'
From 'The Turner Family of Mulbarton & Great Yarmouth' by Rev Harward Turner (Jarrold & Sons, 1907 edition) 


The Turner family was associated with Kenningham for generations. William Turner 'of Keningham in Mulbarton' (d. 1547) seems to have been a servant of Sir John Robsart (of Stanfield Hall, near Wymondham, and father of Amy Robsart) according to his will. This describes him as 'Wylliam Turnor of Kenyngham of the parish of Mulbarton' and he left 'to Richard Turner, my belchild, 12 acres of land and 3 acres of arable and a cowe of the Manor of Mulbarton...My son Thomas to occupy same till Richard be 20 years old.' His other grandchildren, John and Leonard, each received 'a cowe when 20 and xl [40] shillings' and to grand-daughter Johane received 40 shillings but no cow! He bequeathed 25 shillings 'to mending of Mulbarton highway', and a much smaller sum for Hempnall highways. Small sums went to every godchild; a sum for 7 masses to be said for the soul of Alyce Payne; a gifts and dinners 'to every priest at my burying and praying for my Soul'. The residue of the estate passed 'to Johane, my wife, and Thomas, my son' who were also named as executors.

The son Thomas is described in his will (1578) as 'Thomas Turner of Kenyngham, co of Norfolk, Yeoman'. He left 20 shillings to the poor of Mulbarton, and smaller sums to the poor of neighbouring Newton Flotman, Bracon Ash and Swainsthorpe. His land passed to Robert Turner, his son, and Audrie Souham, his daughter, and legacies were left to other children and grandchildren.

Two of Thomas Turner's sons are named 'of Keningham': Richard (d.1601) and John (d.1593). Thomas (1553-1621) and William (1549-1550) were younger brothers. There are many more generations of Turners, but no more are specifically listed 'of Keningham' in the Pedigrees.

John Turner had only one surviving son, Robert (1579-1665) who married Frances. Their only son James (1638-1718) married Mary and was a churchwarden of Mulbarton Church in 1678. Their son, John (1675-1762) also married a Mary. Their son is another John (1712-1796) who married Bridget Johnson and was the father of yet another John (1747-1799), who seems to have lived at Kenningham Hall, and James (1750-1829) who seems to have lived at Paddock Farm. We then have two more John Turners at Kenningham: John Turner (1784 -1875) by his first wife, Mary Elizabeth, had five daughters and only one son, John Turner, who died 1870 aged 55, unmarried
(Information from 'The Turner Family of Mulbarton and Great Yarmouth', Rev. Howard Turner (Jarrold & Sons, Norwich, 1907)

John Turner is listed as 'owner' and yeoman in White's Directory, 1845. In 1861, he sold the Kenningham estate to James Muskett of Surlingham, Norfolk. James Muskett listed as Farmer & Owner, Kenningham in 1864 Post Office Directory.

In 1886 it came back into the Turner family when John Hotblack (married to Mary Turner, daughter of John Turner by his second wife, Eliza Katherine) bought it from the executors of the Muskett family. His son, John Turner Hotblack (b.1848), inherited Kenningham Hall when his father died in 1895 and still owned it in 1919, although he may not have lived there. The house and farm seems to have been rented out to other farmers:

George Mutimer listed as Farmer (no farm given) in 1868 Harrod's Directory;

George Mutimer (jnr.) listed as Farmer, Keningham Hall Farm, in Directories of 1869 and 1904.

Richard William Tuddenham listed as Farmer with Stimpson, Kenningham, 1896 Kelly's Directory, and then on his own in Directories from 1904 -1922.

Ellis King is listed as Farm Bailiff to Samuel Westgate, Kenningham, in 1892 Kelly's Directory. (No other mention of Westgate)

Richard William Tuddenham listed as Farmer, Kenningham, in Kelly's Directories, 1908, 1916 & 1922.

On 4th July 1931 Kenningham Hall Farm was put up for sale by auction by the executors of the late Mrs L E Hotblack. It was described as 'very comfortably situated in a ring fence, with a Comfortable Farmhouse, Gardens, Orchard and ample agricultural premises extending to 191 acres 0 roods 5 perch'. It was bought by Jospeh Burfield. His daughter, Eileen Gowing (nee Burfield) wrote in the Mulbarton Parish News (Autumn 1993):

'In 1926 JOSEPH BURFIELD took up an appointment as surgeon in the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, which was then considered to be the best provincial hospital in the country. He had trained at Bart's in London and was a newcomer to Norfolk, having been reared at Hailsham near Lewes, Sussex.
He purchased Kenningham Hall and farm from whence he drove himself into Norwich. The farmhouse itself dates back to the early 1600s, although the fa├žade is a new addition. Its location indicates the site of the ancient village of Kenningham (then much bigger than Mulbarton), the inhabitants of which were wiped out by the 'Black death.
In World War I, Dr. Burfield had served King and Country in hospital ships treating the many wounded. By World War II he had officially retired, but he came out of retirement to work once again on the hospital wards.'

Part of a FUNERAL REPORT, 19th December 1936:
The funeral of Mr. A. T. Kedge (52) took place at St. Mary Magdalene Church, Mulbarton, on Saturday. He was an employee of Dr. J. Burfield at Kenningham Hall Farm, Mulbarton, and four of his fellow workmates acted as bearers. He was also for many years sexton at Mulbarton Church....

Eileen Burfield married Eric Gowing who farmed at Kenningham Hall. He was a Parish Councillor for 27 years until 1983, and a District Councillor with Forehoe & Henstead, the Rural District Council before local government reorganisation in 1974.