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Lose and Nether Halls
Lose Hall what3words location - ///raft.bagpipes.ranches

2019
31st August 2019
The outline of the presumed moat can clearly be seen, forming a square, lower centre.
Site of old fishpond visible lower left.

2020
11th March 2020
The outline of the presumed moat is visible in lower, damper soil, forming a square, lower centre.
Site of old fishpond clearly visible lower left.

The lords of the manor of Hempstead in latter years, were actually the lords of two manors within the parish. However, these manor houses are long gone - Lose Hall and Nether Hall.
H. and R. H. Gurney Esqrs., are lords of the manors of Hempstead, Netherhall, and Losehall.
White's 1845

When reading the directory_entries, one factor that has been perpetuated by all the directories should be taken into account -
. . . other people's mistakes inevitably get perpetuated. The editor of Whites 1845 Directory intended to say that H and RH Gurney were Lords of the Manor of Hempstead Nether-Hall and Hempstead Lose-Hall. Unfortunately the printer seems to have interposed a comma so the entry reads ''Lords of the Manor of Hempstead, Nether-Hall, and Lose Hal1.'' Ever since then it has been assumed (quite wrongly) that Hempstead had three manors. Extraordinary efforts have been made to identify the third one ("Hempstead'') by putting it in the Pond Hills woods towards Edgefield connected to Hempstead Hall by a tunnel.
Hempstead, A Norfolk Village - Robin Carver, 2000

Hempstead Lose and Nether Halls

In pre-historic times the central part of the Parish was inhabited, as can be attested by Mr Bertie Harmer who has found many flint tools on his land at Green Farm.

There do not appear to be any Roman remains so nothing further is known until, according to the Domesday Book, the Royal Manor of Holt held “one outlying estate in Henepstede of 30 acres. Then as now 5 bordars and 1 plough and a half plough belonging to the men. Wood for 6 swine. Then as now 8 swine. Then it was worth 5 shillings and 4 pence, now 33 shillings and 4 pence and it is 1 league in length and 1 in breadth and renders 7 pence in geld.”

ln 1182-3 Simon de Hempstede was lord of the manor. The de Hempstede family held the manor until 1239 when Richer son of Hugh de Causton, and Stephen de Causton both married heiresses of the de Hempstedes and became lords of the manor. The original manor of Hempstead appears to have been called Nether Hall. According to Blomefield this Richer, son of Hugh, confirmed land in Hempstead to Thomas, son of William de Lose, thus creating the second manor, subsequently known as Lose Hall.

In 1292 William de Ormesby was lord of the original manor, perhaps obtaining it through marriage to his wife Agnes since both of them joined in a grant of the advowson of the church to the prior of Norwich. The manor stayed in the de Ormesby family and on the death of Sir John de Ormesby it was called the manor of “Hempstead with the market”. The manor passed to the Caleys of Oby, the de Harsikes of South Acre, the Dorwards, the Wingfields of Great Dunham and in 1536 to Thomas Jermyn.

Its history is then lost but it may well have joined Lose Hall Manor in the hands of the Heydons of Baconsthorpe (who lived at “Baconsthorpe castle”) for in 1638 both manors passed to Robert Baynham of Edgefield.


The history of Lose Hall seems to have been equally vague but it was in the hands of Henry Heydon in 1483. The subsequent manorial succession to the combined manors is apparently well evidenced in the court books giving the following dates of accession:-

1638
Robert Baynham
1649
Thomas Berney
1674
John Berney
1681
John Hobart, John Mingay and John Herne
1683
Thomas Newman
1698
William Newman
1729
Michael Russell snr
1731
Michael Russell jnr
1757
Metcalfe Russell
1787
Michael Collinson
1796
Emerson Cornwell and Thomas Collinson
(as trustees)
1800
Charles Streynsham Collinson
1807
Richard Joseph Gurney
1810
Hudson Gurney

The Newmans were the first lords of the manor to have lived locally and have left tombstones. They lived at Baconsthorpe Manor and were buried in Baconsthorpe Church. They flourished but briefly. Thomas was born in 1623 and died in 1697 and by his marriage to Elizabeth he had two children, Thomas who died aged 21 in 1698 and Elizabeth who died aged 20. The lordships therefore went in 1698, following his death, to William, the second of that name, and possibly Thomas's nephew. William had only one child, a daughter Elizabeth who died in 1714. So, deprived of heirs, the Newmans lost their land and the Lordship when they sold in 1728.

The Newmans lived at Baconsthorpe Manor which does nothing to help resolve the question of where the two Hempstead manor houses were originally situated.

In their account of the excavation of the moated site in Hempstead to the West of the Church (East Anglian Archeology Report No 8) Andrew Rogerson and Nick Adams debate this point and come to the conclusion that Lose Hall Manor was situated on the excavated site to the west of the Church and that the manor of Netherhall was on the site of present day Hempstead Hall. In this context “nether'' has its natural meaning of “lower''. But this was odd and the editor wrote “As Lose Hall was a l3th Century offshoot of the original manor one might have expected the latter to continue to occupy the site of the Church, a typical relationship for an early manor house and church''.

So far as the Nether Hall was concerned there seems little reason for doubt. The map (NRO HET 87) drawn in 1726 by Corbridge shows clearly, on the site of the present Hall, the three storied six bay house looking out over its own walled yard. It shows a centre porch and a wing which may or may not be detached. A house of this size could never have been originally a simple farmhouse and must have been the ''nether'' hall. By way of further evidence the map shows a dovecote in the meadow to the east of the hall.

By 1841 the site of Lose Hall was shown on a Gurney title-map as “Church meadow”. Whether the house was taken down or fell down will never be known but probably it was taken down since when the site was excavated in 1976 the only part of the structure left was the splendid original tiled floor probably installed by the de Lose family in the 14th Century - all other building materials including the timbers and tiles having gone.

The excavated site, belonging to Mr Richard Harmer, was first noted in 1968. ln 1975 Mr Harmer informed the Norfolk Museums Unit of his intention to convert his meadow land into arable, involving major ditching and earthmoving operations. Mr Harmer immediately discovered a tiled floor only a few inches below the ground level.

What emerged from the excavation was a large moated site with the south eastern quarter largely covered with brick and tile rubble and the floor of a building 14 metres long and 5.5 metres wide. Apparently “traces of robbed wails were noticed'' showing why the site had disappeared. The building had consisted of three rooms.

The most exciting discovery was that of the 972 rectangular tiles being recorded in situ in the central and western rooms plus 61 rectangular tiles. The tiles were glazed and mostly coloured, the patterns being armorial. The tiles are now in the Castle Museum, Norwich.

So something is known of the first six centuries of Hempstead's history after the Conquest. Physically there is little to show for it. Outside the church there was the site and floor of Lose Hall. Perhaps there is something left of Nether Hall below the present Hempstead Hall or underneath its garden.

Hempstead, A Norfolk Village - Robin Carver, 2000


11th March 2020
Lose Hall moat looking north - 11th March 2020
Ground slightly depressed with a damp soil structure and profuse growth of nettles

11th March 2020
Northeast corner of moat - 11th March 2020

11th March 2020
Lose Hall moat clearly outlined looking west - 11th March 2020

11th March 2020
Lose Hall moat with its feeder stream coming in from the south - 11th March 2020
Due to agricultural drainage, the stream depth is now much greater than when it supplied the moat years ago.
The stream has also been straightened in modern times in order to improve flow and assist maintenance.

Lose Hall
1968
Moated site of great house or manor discovered. Footings of flint and mortar found and causeway? running northeast from site. Square platform to east. Is this Loose Hall?
Survey - March 1975
Stream fed rectangular moated enclosure with fishpond to northwest. Part of a late medieval floor of glazed and impressed tiles appearing to survive in situ over a considerable area.
Sept - Oct 1975
Destroyed by ploughing
8th October 1975
Soilmarks surveyed. Hole in southeast part of interior showed floor of glazed impressed tiles, 14th to 15th century in situ within roughly rectangular area of late medieval brick rubble.
8th - 29th Sept 1976
Twin destroyed moated enclosure. Building around 14m by 5.5m. Flint and mortar walls almost robbed. Three rooms identified, two with floors of relief tiles. One internal cross wall of bricks, the other of clay. Twenty one types of relief tiles, some of which are heraldic. One plain type and one example of a printed tile. Unknown source of manufacture, definitely not Bawsey. Ditch and pits sealed by floor. Very little potterybut seem to be 12th to 13th century. Linear feature in black soil and potboilers may have been prehistoric. If site was Loose Hall it was occupied from late 13th century to 15th century. Tiles could be 14th century but not definite.
Norfolk Heritage Explorer

11th March 2020
Lose Hall moat with the fishpond lower left clearly outlined looking east - 11th March 2020

In East Anglian Archaeology Report No 8 (Norfolk) Andrew Rogerson and Nick Adams have written a fascinating report on the excavation of the moated site to the south-west of the church which they concluded was the site of the lost medieval Lose Hall. ln that report they considered also the possibility of the site being that of the original vicarage and recorded the following information:-

''The Prior of Norwich had land in Hempstead in the late l2th Century. In 1249 the rectory was appropriated to the Priory and a vicarage settled. There was an estate which produced £1 a year and a farm rented to produce £2-13-4pa.''

Rogerson goes on to state ''The Glebe Terrier of 1613 places the vicarage to the south of the church and between the road and the manor close and described it as "a dwelling house and a barne with one little outhouse . . .''

In 1629 the rectory, parsonage house and barn were mentioned in a leasing agreement between Edmund Britiffe, senior and junior, and the Dean and Chapter of Norwich.

ln 1677 the Glebe Terrier states that “in the late times of the unhappy rebellion -- the vicarage house fell down to the ground and was utterly demolished so that we had no house upon the vicarage ground.”

By 1704 the Dean was leasing “the scite of the rectory'' to Edmund Britiffe.

In 1761 and 1781 the Dean was leasing “the scite of the rectory'' and the “ruins of the barn'' to the Earl of Buckinghamshire (who had become Impropriator on inheriting the Britiffe estates in Hunworth, Hempstead and Stody). The lease to the Blickling Estate was renewed in 1837, 1844 and 1865.

So somewhere underground to the west of the village playground there must still be the foundations of the original vicarage, its “barne'' and outhouse.

Presumably it was Robert Watson, vicar between 1599 and 1649 but also Vicar of Bodham and Baconsthorpe, in one of which villages he may have lived, who let the former vicarage fall down so that since the mid-l7th century to 1876 there was nowhere in the village for the vicar or (unless he took lodgings) for the curate to live.
Hempstead, A Norfolk Village - Robin Carver, 2000


Lose Hall
Probable site of Lose Hall according to grid reference detailed by Norfolk Heritage Explorer
Courtesy of Microsoft map images

O. S. Map 1905
O. S. Map 1905
Probable site of Lose Hall as detailed by Norfolk Heritage Explorer marked in red

Courtesy of NLS map images

If you have any memories, anecdotes or photos please let us know and we may be able to use them to update the site. Please or telephone 07836 675369

Website copyright © Jonathan Neville 2020
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