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See what this homeowner found hidden away at the rear of a former pub he is renovating

PUBLISHED: 07:33 02 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:21 02 October 2018

The former Old Trowel and Hammer pub in Bunwell, which is now owner by carver, sculptor and printmaker Andrew Hibberd. Picture: ANTONY KELLY, Archant Norfolk.

The former Old Trowel and Hammer pub in Bunwell, which is now owner by carver, sculptor and printmaker Andrew Hibberd. Picture: ANTONY KELLY, Archant Norfolk.

When Andy Hibberd and his wife fell in love with a Victorian house in the centre of Bunwell, near Attleborough, they bought it but have discovered a secret hidden for years behind walls and ceilings at the rear.

It was his love of old buildings which attracted Andy Hibberd to the former public house in the centre of Bunwell.

The house came with a rudimentary workshop, once the toilet block for the pub, and a derelict barn building.

Inside the main  barn at the rear of the property. Picture: ANTONY KELLY, Archant Norfolk.Inside the main barn at the rear of the property. Picture: ANTONY KELLY, Archant Norfolk.

One of the old pub signs. Picture: ANTONY KELLY, Archant Norfolk.One of the old pub signs. Picture: ANTONY KELLY, Archant Norfolk.

The former Old Trowel and Hammer pub in Bunwell, which is now owner by carver, sculptor and printmaker Andrew Hibberd. Picture: ANTONY KELLY, Archant Norfolk.The former Old Trowel and Hammer pub in Bunwell, which is now owner by carver, sculptor and printmaker Andrew Hibberd. Picture: ANTONY KELLY, Archant Norfolk.

The clay lump wall in the barn. Picture: ANTONY KELLY, Archant Norfolk.The clay lump wall in the barn. Picture: ANTONY KELLY, Archant Norfolk.

The barn at the rear of the former  Old Trowel and Hammer pub in Bunwell, which is now owner by carver, sculptor and printmaker Andrew Hibberd. Picture: ANTONY KELLY, Archant Norfolk.The barn at the rear of the former Old Trowel and Hammer pub in Bunwell, which is now owner by carver, sculptor and printmaker Andrew Hibberd. Picture: ANTONY KELLY, Archant Norfolk.

The newly discovered part  of the barn at the former Old Trowel and Hammer pub in Bunwell, which is now owner by carver, sculptor and printmaker Andrew Hibberd. Picture: ANTONY KELLY, Archant  Norfolk.The newly discovered part of the barn at the former Old Trowel and Hammer pub in Bunwell, which is now owner by carver, sculptor and printmaker Andrew Hibberd. Picture: ANTONY KELLY, Archant Norfolk.

However, only recently, following renovation work, did Mr Hibberd discover that behind the workshop was more of a barn. And this was no ordinary barn but a very large, early 19th century, clay lump, threshing barn.

Mr Hibberd, a print maker, wood carver and sculptor, and his wife, Jane, a university lecturer, bought the Victorian brick house, with a distinctive front porch, once called the Trowel and Hammer public house, Great Green, Bunwell Street, knowing there was a barn building at the rear but never imagining that it would be such a historic find.

Hidden away for years behind low, false ceilings and rudimentary walls. was a massive T-shape threshing barn, which would have been used for beating the farmer’s harvested crop on the floor with the grain separated from the lighter chaff in a cross-draught (known as winnowing) created by openings either end which Mr Hibberd has revealed. There would have been other openings for forking the crop into storage bays or, as Mr Hibberd thinks, for hay to feed the horse.

His discovery began when Mr Hibberd came upon an old photograph of the property when it was a Bullards public house. Looking closely at the photograph which shows a lady in Victorian dress standing at the front outside the porch, you can just see a horse and cart at the side.

Mr Hibberd, who is a lover of architecture, then began renovating the workshop and discovered a whole new part of the barn which links through to the one he bought with the house. Hidden behind 1970s walls was the original yellow clay lump building in which you can still see pieces of straw which would have been used to form part of the render.

The discovery comes as Mr Hibberd has been working on renovating the house for the last 13 years and he now intends to reinstate the barn it as it would have been.

“It was only when I started removing a ceiling that had been put up in, I would say in the 1970s, that I could see a vaulted ceiling way above and I’m just so pleased. It had been hidden behind the workshop building for all those years.”

The property dates to 1861 as a public house, run by a James Howes who was a farmer followed by a George Humphreys from 1879-1925, dying a year later aged 84.

It is believed the pub closed in about 1996.

If you know any more about the property or indeed the threshing barn, Mr Hibberd would love to hear from you. Email caroline.culot@archant.co.uk

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Caroline Culot

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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.

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