This week’s pub of the week is the Bedingfeld Arms, Oxborough Village

Bedingfield Arms owner Catkin Parker. Picture: Ian Burt Bedingfield Arms owner Catkin Parker. Picture: Ian Burt

Friday, February 14, 2014
1:03 PM

From a boarded-up building to thriving heart of the community.

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Pub shares its history with the royal-favoured Oxburgh Hall

The Bedingfeld Arms was built in 1783 as the coaching inn for the Bedingfeld family, still living at Oxburgh Hall (pictured).

The hall, which on first sight looks like an imposing castle, was built in 1482 for Sir Edmund Bedingfeld and in 1487, saw Henry VII and his Queen, Elizabeth of York, stay for three nights in the now named King’s Room and Queen’s Room.

In 1950, the 9th Baronet, Sir Edmund, was forced to sell up at a time when many country houses were falling into disrepair.

At the eleventh hour, the house was saved thanks to three female family members, Sybil, Lady Bedingfeld, Violet Hartcup and Mrs Greathead.

They sold their homes to raise enough money to buy back the house from the developer.

In 1952, they gave it to the National Trust and it has been run by the trust since.

The house is open next week for half term.

The phrase the “pub is the hub of the community” has never been truer in the case of The Bedingfeld Arms.

Nestled away in Oxborough village, which lies half way between Stoke Ferry and Swaffham, the establishment has once again become central to its local community.

The venue, which is a pub, restaurant and hotel, was closed for a year before it was renovated and reopened by Catherine Parker and her husband Stephen.

The couple will celebrate two years since reopening The Bedingfeld Arms on March 9.

"“I like the friendliness, they make me feel very welcome. It’s good value for money and they make you feel at home.”"

Brian Bennett, 66, a motor engineer from Oxborough.

When they first took over what was then a boarded-up building, they were not quite sure what they had let themselves in for.

However, they managed to transform the neglected property, including its nine bedrooms, within just three months.

With their other business, the bespoke fire place design company After the Antique, the couple were able to add their artistic flair and creativity to restore the building’s old fireplaces and they have designed nine different bedrooms, each with their own character and style.

Over the past two years, Mrs Parker, known locally as Catkin, has seen The Bedingfeld Arms restore its position as the heart of the village.

A number of events are held there, including quiz nights, and it has also become the venue-of-choice by villagers for a Wednesday coffee morning. The group comes together to eat cake, drink tea and coffee and talk about anything and everything, but nothing political.

Since opening The Bedingfeld Arms in March 2012, Mrs Parker has also created 15 to 20 local jobs

Mrs Parker, who was born and lived in Africa until she was 10, said: “The Bedingfeld Arms is an essential community hub in the area.

“Oxborough village is a village with nothing else left now apart from us, fortunately a relatively busy village hall, a once-a-week bus stop and also a monthly church service.” The mum of three sons, who lives in nearby Foulden, added: “The Bedingfeld Arms in my eyes is similar to a stage set with characters coming and going at different yet often set times of the day.”

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