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Oxburgh Hall

This moated courtyard house was built sometime after 1476 for Sir Edmund Bedingfeld (d.1496). It was a symbol of status and political power. Although it was altered and extended in each subsequent century, Oxburgh still retains the spirit of the late Middle Ages, not least on account of its chief glory, a splendid 3-storey embattled and turreted gatehouse. The King’s Room and Queen’s Room in the gatehouse commemorate the visit of Henry VII and his Queen, Elizabeth of York, in August 1498. Hidden within a void adjacent to the King’s Room is a priest hole; – a potent reminder of the risks faced by the Catholic Bedingfelds after the Reformation. Following his marriage in 1829 the 6th Baronet commissioned architect John Chessell Buckler to make extensive alterations to Oxburgh to evoke the spirit of its illustrious past. The 7th Baronet continued his father’s building work and also appointed designer John Diblee Crace to further embellish Buckler’s interiors with a delicate heraldic ceiling and wallpapers inspired by the designs of Pugin.

Visitor Information

Address:
Oxborough,
near Swaffham,
Norfolk,
England,
PE33 9PS

Telephone: 01366 328258

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/oxburgh-hall

Accredited Museum

Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk (Accredited Museum)

This collection has 2,891 items online

Oxburgh’s contents reveal the collecting habits of a single family from the Medieval period to the 20th century. Home to the Bedingfeld family for over five centuries, Oxburgh and its collections suffered significant losses as a result of the English Civil War, 18th-century remodelling, and a sale of 1951. The efforts of Lady Sybil Bedingfield, her niece and her daughter in recouping some of what was sold, however, did much to preserve its historic interiors. Of particular significance are the ‘Marian Hangings’, a suite of exquisitely crafted embroideries made by Mary, Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick when the former was under house arrest. These are on loan to Oxburgh from the V&A. Much of the furniture, predominantly Flemish and English oak, was purchased in Belgium in the 19th century when Oxburgh was refurbished. A characteristic of much of Oxburgh’s furniture is its composition from earlier elements, in the antiquarian style. Several such pieces were acquired from the dealer and cabinet maker Jean Francois Malfait. Exceptions to this antiquarian style are a magnificent console table, typical of the English Regency period, and a tortoiseshell and ebony Antwerp cabinet. Within the Chapel – still privately owned and used by the family – is a 16th-century Antwerp altarpiece of considerable significance as a work of Catholic devotional art in England. Other highlights include a rich collection of portraits, unique Tudor manuscripts, and an archive of historic wallpapers.

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