The Norfolk Historic Building Group (NHBG) was founded in 2000 to bring together people who enjoy and appreciate old buildings and want to learn more about them. The Group:
- arranges winter talks and summer activities about churches and chapels, grand country houses, medieval guildhalls, schools and houses built in timber, flint, brick, and clay lump;
- publishes spring and summer newsletters for members;
- conducts research on houses and other buildings;
- offers opportunities for members to survey and study buildings;
- attracts funding for research and publications including Heritage Lottery and English Heritage;
- surveys houses at their owners’ request;
- maintains a data base of properties surveyed- over 300 reports currently
New for 2016. Diane Barr is putting together information about documents used to research the history of a building. Her latest piece (July 2016) is about Land Tax Assessment. See the Sources page.
At AGM in July 2016 Adam Longcroft left the Chairmanship of the NHBG.
Apart from a short period when he stood down as Chair during 2005 when Michael Brown took up the reins, Adam has led the group from the front since 2000. His drive for ground-breaking research and the desire to publish results of the highest quality in the Group’s Journals has not only earned the group prizes at National level for its research and publications, but has earned the recognition of other groups in the field around the Country. The database of properties that we have surveyed that sits behind the website was also Adam’s idea initially and is being used for research purposes and is looked at as an example by other groups.
We all wish him well in his new post at Anglia Ruskin University and will try our best to continue his vision for the Norfolk Historic Buildings Group.
As a parting gift, the committee presented him with a pen and watercolour of Castle Acre Priory by David Yaxley, to remind him of Norfolk’s long history of special buildings.
Ian Hinton was elected by the AGM to replace Adam as Chair.
For information about how to join the Group go to membership.
Research and Publications
NHBG’s most recent project is a study of the North Norfolk Pilgrimage Centre of Little Walsingham. After several years of surveying and recording of buildings and documentary research, this project was published in 2015.
Little Walsingham NHBG Journal 6 (2015)
Volume 6 of the Journal of the Norfolk Historic Buildings Group (NHBG) is the result of several years of surveys and analysis of the buildings in Little Walsingham and research into their documentary history by members of the Group. This work is placed in context by an examination of the landscape archaeology of the town, an analysis of medieval pilgrimage generally and the role that the Priory and Friary in Walsingham played as a pilgrimage centre in a National and Regional setting. It provides a unique description of the buildings of the town and their remaining medieval elements, and describes how their specific construction and adaptations provide evidence of their uses in the centuries prior to the Dissolution of the Priory and Friary in the sixteenth century.
Analysis of how the town was developed by the monasteries and how it has subsequently changed, results in an interesting commentary on urban development generally and particularly on the role of the Church. It concludes with a fully illustrated gazetteer of the details of 70 buildings. Scientific dating of the building materials of four buildings was undertaken in an attempt to establish the exact building date and compare this with stylistic evidence. Dendrochronological analysis was unable to produce an exact date for the timber used, although dating sequences were established which will allow a date to be established in the future when more data for timber in this area exist. Radio-carbon dating was used to date timbers, and a calibrated felling date of 1470-1495 was obtained from one group of samples, matching the date assessed from the building style. Generous grants were obtained from the Vernacular Architecture Group towards dendrochronology costs and The Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society contributed towards printing costs. Colour cover with 750 b&w images.
The volume is available for £8 to members (which helps towards our production costs) and £12 to non-members (but £8 to members of VAG and NNAS) It will be available to be purchased at winter lectures at UEA in Norwich or it can be posted at a cost of £4 (it weighs over 1kg) - send a cheque for £12 (member) or £16 (non-member) to:
NHBG, c/o The Old Rectory, Barnby, Beccles NR34 7QN
House in Walsingham High Street and a fine Crown Post roof
NHBG lectures, activities and visits
2015/6 winter season lectures.
2016 summer season started with a visit to Wiveton Hall.
2015 summer visits included: Stained glass in three churches in South Norfolk (East Harling glass, left) and Reepham Town Walk (one of three churches in Reepham churchyard, right).
Wiveton Hall is dated 1652 and 1653 on the front and back doors ie during the Commonwealth. It was greatly extended in 1908 by the architect Sir Guy Dawber using flint with brick dressings as in the 17th century house. Servants quarters and a ballroom were added. Photos of house and NHBG members enjoying a fascinating visit.
In June 2016 NHBG visited Brisley Hall: a wonderfully complex building with two stair towers and inserted corridors and amazing ceiling brought from another house?
Winter lectures and summer activities are reported in NHBG's newsletters.
To find out more about NHBG and about becoming a member go to membership.