Celebrating the splendour of Oxburgh Hall

14:22 06 October 2012

Swans at Oxburgh Hall, where a tree will be planted on Monday to celebrate the National Trust

Swans at Oxburgh Hall, where a tree will be planted on Monday to celebrate the National Trust's 60 years of stewardship. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2009

Heritage campaigners are set to celebrate the splendour of a unique stately home, that once came so close to being lost to Norfolk and the nation.

National Trust members will be planting a tree at Oxburgh Hall on Monday, to celebrate the trust’s 60 years of looking after the property.

“It’s pretty iconic because there’s no other property like it,” said Teresa Squires, the trust’s property manager for Oxburgh. “We don’t have any other medieval property in east Anglia.”

The trust nearly didn’t have any at all. After centuries in the ownership of the Bedinfeld family, the moated medieval hall was sold to a property developer in 1950, who wanted to knock it down to build 70 new homes - after felling its woodlands for timber, which commanded a high price after the Second World War.

But the hall was saved by three female family members, who all sold their own homes to raise the money needed to buy it back.

“There was a great groundswell of good feeling that the property had been saved,” said Mrs Squires. “A large amount of people in the village here depend on Oxburgh for their livelihood.

“The past six decades have seen some tremendous changes in Britain, but Oxburgh Hall is still the same, charming, medieval hall that it always was.”

Oxburgh, with its moat and impressive Tudor gatehouse, was built in 1482 for Sir Edmund Bedinfeld. Five years later, King Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth stayed at the hall.

In 1589, the catholic Bedinfelds created a priest hole in case they were raided during mass, as the state under Queen Elizabeth I turned to persecuting catholics. Needlework tapestries by Mary Queen of Scots also hang in the hall, but she never actually visited the house.

Monday’s ceremony takes place at 2pm, when a tulip tree will be planted at the hall.

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