Ancient Monuments

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Medieval undercroft known as the Guildhall

A Scheduled Monument in Blakeney, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.9557 / 52°57'20"N

Longitude: 1.018 / 1°1'4"E

OS Eastings: 602820.715326

OS Northings: 344074.881821

OS Grid: TG028440

Mapcode National: GBR T8P.L63

Mapcode Global: WHLQM.LYYZ

Entry Name: Medieval undercroft known as the Guildhall

Scheduled Date: 26 June 1924

Last Amended: 22 July 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014237

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21387

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Blakeney

Built-Up Area: Blakeney

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Blakeney St Nicholas with St Mary and St Thomas

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The medieval building known as the Guildhall is set into the slope of Mariners
Hill to the east of the High Street and facing the quay. The monument includes
the rectangular undercroft of the building, measuring c.17m north-south by
7.6m east-west externally, and above the undercroft, the ruined remains of
the walls of an upper storey. At the southern end of the east wall is a
projecting rectangular structure measuring c.3.5m north-south by 2.2m east-
west, which contains the remains of a garderobe shute from the upper level.

The walls of the building, which is also Listed Grade II* and has been dated
to the 15th century, are constructed of flint with freestone dressings and
some brick, including brick quoins at the north east angle and a brick lining
to the garderobe shute, which issues through a arched opening with brick
surround near the base of the east wall of the eastern projection. The
undercroft is vaulted in brick with four bays to either side of a central row
of octagonal stone columns which support the ribbed vaults. It is lit by three
internally splayed windows with stone surrounds set in the east wall and is
entered by a door with stone moulded jambs and arch head in the north wall.
Three steps lead down to the cobbled floor, which is c.0.5m below the level of
the ground surface outside. An arched opening in the southernmost bay in the
east wall, now blocked, gave access to the lower part of the eastern
projection. In the walls in each of the remaining bays along either side is a
niche with pointed arch and brick surround.

Against the outer face of the north wall, flanking the door, there are two
pads of mortared flint which perhaps supported a porch or buttresses.

The walls of the upper storey stand to a maximum height of 2m and the remains
of the eastern wall include parts of the stone sills of three window openings
and the brick and stone jambs of the opening to the garderobe chamber.

On the east side of the building, part of the foundation of the wall is
exposed, the original ground surface level being marked by a clearly visible
change in construction.

The traditional name of the Guildhall may reflect its later use, but this
structure was probably built originally as the house of a merchant, at a time
when Blakeney was the third most important port in Norfolk after Yarmouth and
Lynn. The retaining wall and railings abutting the southern wall of the
building to the south, and the information board with supporting posts which
stands against the north wall are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval domestic buildings in Norfolk were commonly of timber frame
construction, and the use of flint and stone in such a context was
comparatively rare and generally confined to buildings of high status and the
homes of the wealthy. Few such buildings are known to survive in this area,
and those which do survive are therefore of importance and worthy of
protection. Although the upper part of the building known as the Guildhall at
Blakeney is no longer complete, the undercroft survives intact with original
features and without any significant later alteration. It is a good example of
a high status, urban medieval domestic building in flint and stone, with well
preserved interior brick and stonework, and demonstrates the wealth and
importance of Blakeney as a port during the medieval period.

Source: Historic England

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