The Old Rectory
The Old Rectory
Until 1976, Mulbarton Rectory was a large house in Rectory Lane. According to a monument in the chancel of Mulbarton Church it was built in the 1720s. This monument is to George Gay, Rector 1721-28, who died in 1728, and his wife, Elizabeth, who died the following year. His memorial tablet has a long Latin inscription, part of which translates as:
'Calmly he passed away but he did not yield to death until, at his own personal charge, and that a great one, he had built up from its foundations the residence of the Rector; Whosoever thou art who readest this, being the unhappy master of a residence in ruins, be up and doing, bear in mind this praiseworthy piety and do thou likewise.'
It is likely that George Gay added a large Georgian extension onto an existing house. Whether this was an earlier rectory or not we do not know - it is a surprising long way from the church.
Looking at the Old Rectory today, the east end (right in photo above) is a much older and smaller house, which has its own staircase and part of which is timber-framed. Attached to the west is a large extension - very similar to Lodge Farm further along the same road. Other extensions were added later. All the Rectors of Mulbarton and their families since George Gay - and maybe some of those before him - have lived here.
George Gay's successor, Rev. John Phillips (Rector 1728 - 1737) had the tithe barn built next to the Rectory in 1731. It is similar in style to the Long Barn near the Church and Old Hall. At the end nearest the road was the coachman's house, which is still a house.
The auction catalogue of July 1842 for the sale of the contents of the Rectory collected by Rev. Richard Spurgeon (Rector 1812-1842) lists the contents of the hall, dining room, drawing room, front room, long room, best room, dressing room, west room, landing, three attics, turn room, kitchen with larder, pantry, scullery, dairy and laundry, storerooms, granary, tool-house, barn, gig house, stable, harness-house and piggery.
This large house with more than 3 acres of land was ideal for church meetings and garden parties, but difficult to heat and maintain. The last Rector to live there was 'Sandy' Sanderson. People remember the wonderful cakes his wife, Mary, cooked on the kitchen range - the warmest room in the house!
Towards the end of 1975, planning permission was given to build a new Rectory next to the church, on land that was partly a bequest to the church in the 1920s and partly that occupied by the old thatched church cottages. In 1976, the Diocese obtained planning permission for eleven houses to be built on the old orchard west of the house, which was put up for sale in 1978. Ten of the houses that were subsequently built became Old Rectory Close. The Old Rectory was sold as a private house with part of the garden in 1977 - it was listed as a 'five-bedroom house'. More recently it was been restored with attic windows to match the old photos.