Gunton Hall
(Grid Ref: TG227 343)

A drawing made by J P Neale in 1819.

Subsequently included in his book, Views of seats of noblemen and gentlemen in England, Scotland and Ireland. Published in 1823 by Sherwood, Neely & Jones of London.

Original engraving - Hand coloured at some later date.

Gunton Hall was originally the home of the Guntons from 1122 until about 1349. It was owned by Martin Berney in 1574 and subsequently sold by Francis Berney to John Jermy, Esq, counsellor of Norwich, son of Robert Jermy, of Antingham and Ann his wife, daughter of Richard Calthorpe of Antingham, Esq. John married first, Mary, daughter of Thomas Moulson, by whom he had Ann, married to Arthur Turner, Esq, of Parendon in Essex; his 2nd wife was Eleanor, daughter of John Jermy of Stutton, in Suffolk, Gent, by whom he had Francis the elder son, and John Jermy, Esq, his 2nd son, lord of Gunton, who was father of Francis and married daughter of William Payne of Norwich, attorney. Francis sold this lordship to John Harbord, Esq (4th son of Sir Charles Harbord, knight, surveyor general), colonel of the militia, who died by a fall from his horse 28 September 1710. Although the estate was twice inherited by nephews of a different name, each took the name of Harbord.

Ref: Blomefield, F. 1805. Topographical History of the County of Norfolk.

The original hall was demolished around 1745 by the first baronet, Sir William Harbord, to make way for a larger one built by Matthew Brettingham. The Gunton house was built of brick, the main elevation being of five bays, with the centre bay extruded and pedimented. The house was seven bays deep. There was a substantial service wing to the west.

The second baronet was created Lord Suffield in 1786. It was he who commissioned James Wyatt to make considerable alterations. Wyatt added an eight-bay colonnade on the south, flanked by conservatories, and on the east side, a three-storeyed bow with iron verandas. Humphrey Repton was employed shortly after to landscape the park and gardens.

The Wyatt wing was gutted by fire in 1882, and since then, the house had been allowed to fall into considerable disrepair until the death in 1980 of the last Harbord to live there.

Refs: Kenworthy-Browne, et al. 1981. Burkes' and Savills guide to Country Houses: Volume 3 - East Anglia.
Mee, A. 1972. The King's England - Norfolk.

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