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Historic Norfolk estate Wolterton Hall sold to private buyers

PUBLISHED: 08:13 19 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:56 19 April 2016

Wolterton Hall. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Wolterton Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

Wolterton Hall, one of Norfolk’s most important country estates, has been sold to two designers who have pledged to continue the restoration of the Grade I-listed property formerly owned by Lord Walpole.

Wolterton Hall.
 Picture: ANTONY KELLY Wolterton Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The site, in north Norfolk, has been bought by Peter Sheppard and partner Keith Day. The pair owned the design company Sheppard Day and have been involved in several major restoration projects.

Agents Knight Frank confirmed the sale yesterday, ending months of speculation. While the price has not been disclosed, local speculation had placed the amount at around £10m.

Wolterton Hall. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Wolterton Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Wolterton Hall was built by Thomas Ripley for the first Lord Walpole in the 1740s. It was owned and lived in by the Walpole family and the present Lord Walpole inherited the property from his father, who died in 1989. Taxes due on the death of the late Lord Walpole in 1989 were finally settled in 2014.

The present Lord and Lady Walpole decided to remain living at nearby Mannington Hall but hoped to find a long-term solution for Wolterton which would guarantee some sort of access for the public.

Wolterton Hall Wolterton Hall

A programme of essential maintenance and some reconstruction of the park was begun, together with work on the archive, which had become scattered.

Many events were held at the hall, including concerts, antique and textile fairs, and outdoor events in the park. Wolterton also became a popular wedding venue.

Wolterton Hall.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Wolterton Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

However, the changing financial climate meant no public body was able to take it on – discussions took place with museums, English Heritage and the National Trust – and the advice was to find a sympathetic private purchaser.

Mr Sheppard and Mr Day, originally from London, have a history of fine building restoration projects, including Hales Hall and Hales Hall Barn in south Norfolk. They also restored the Friary in Westminster and Fitzroy Square.

An old black and white photo of the inside of Wolterton Hall. An old black and white photo of the inside of Wolterton Hall.

Lord and Lady Walpole were said to be pleased that public access, even if in a different form, will be retained and that there will be minimum disruption to tenants.

George Bramley, partner at Knight Frank, who handled the sale, said: “We are confident that the purchasers will continue the sympathetic restoration and management of one of Norfolk’s premier country estates.”

Wolterton Hall was damaged in a fire in December 1952. Photo: EDP Library Wolterton Hall was damaged in a fire in December 1952. Photo: EDP Library

The new owners, Mr Sheppard and Mr Day added: “We intend to continue the restoration of Wolterton Hall and park which have been well maintained by Lord and Lady Walpole but now need a fresh infusion of cash and energy.”

See Friday’s EDP for a full round-up of homes for sale, rent and auction or go to www.edp24.co.uk/property

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I am the property editor in charge of delivering some exciting and informative content within Archant’s varied titles. We have 16-17 pages of stories, features and columns in the EDP Property supplement out every Friday free in your EDP so please don’t miss it.