The 'Great' Houses
The 'Great' Houses
The present Parish of Mulbarton can boast two Manor Houses - the Old Hall, with its Great Barn near the Church, and Kenningham Hall in the South-East corner where the now-lost village of Kenningham once existed. Both of these had plenty of land, and became farm houses, tenanted or owner-occupied.
The Rectory, of course, was a vital part of the community and the Church. Mulbarton's Old Rectory is in Rectory Lane, with its massive tithe barn (now divided into housing).
Only 5 miles from Norwich, Mulbarton was an attractive prospect for a country residence for those who could afford to move out of the City in the summer. Once the Turnpike was completed after the Act of Parliament 'for Repairing and Widening the Road from Ber Street Gates to New Buckenham' passed in 1772, Mulbarton could be a weekend retreat.
There were similar properties in neighbouring villages, and Bracon Lodge (owned by the Gurneys) and The Woodlands hosted events that involved people from nearby Mulbarton.
All these 'great; houses employed plenty of live-in servants - though not always local people (they might gossip!). The 'great and the good' who lived in them also contributed a lot to the village - as benefactors, trustees, School Managers, Churchwardens, Guardians of the Poor, and even writing for and organising the Players!
HOWEVER, the 'great' of Mulbarton were not so great in the eyes of some neighbours.... When East Carleton Manor and Estate was sold by Mrs J H Steward in 1920, Lots 14 - 21 were in Mulbarton parish. The sale
document has a list of 'neighbours' of East Carleton Manor to attract potential
purchasers - and not one in Mulbarton.... So maybe our 'great
houses' are not so 'great' after all!
J H Gurney, Esq., DL, JP, Keswick Hall
Sir Charles Harvey, Bart, JP, Rainthorpe Hall
Lord Lindley, PC, JP, East Carleton Lodge
Major Evans-Lombe, DL, JP, Thickthorn Hall (Hethersett)
Earl of Kimberley, JP, Kimberley Hall
Lt.-Colonel F A Irby, JP, Boyland Hall
Lt.-Colonel C W Unthank, JP, Intwood Hall
Sir Maurice Colborne Boileau, Bart., Ketteringham Park
Geoffrey Birkbeck, Esq., DL, JP, Stoke Hall