Ketteringham Hall, a potted history
Norfolk’s medieval office space
An estate in existence since 1066
Offices steeped in history
Built in the 15th century
An active US Air force base in WW2
The home of Lotus F1
From 1066 to the present day, Ketteringham Hall is steeped in history. Active in World War 2 and with a hand in Mary Antoinette’s attempted rescue, behind these walls there are so many stories.
Standing in an estate of 36 acres of woodland and open grassland, Ketteringham Hall has had a long history. The estate itself is known to have been in existence during the time of Edward the Confessor (1004–1066) and was mentioned in the Domesday Book when it was in the possession of two Saxon lords: Ulf and Ketel. It is from Ketel that the name of Ketteringham is derived.
The hall itself originated in the late 15th century when it was built by Sir Henry Grey. It was later inherited by Thomas Heveningham whose family occupied it for nearly 200 years. After a short tenure by the Heron family it was bought by Edward Atkyns whose wife, Charlotte, mortgaged the hall to raise funds for an attempted rescue of Marie Antoinette from the revolutionaries in France. The attempt was a failure and Charlotte died penniless in France in 1836.
After a fire in the early 1800s the hall was rebuilt to its present form and in 1836 it was sold to Sir John Peter Boileau whose family resided there until 1948. Their coat of arms with the motto, De Tout Mon Cour (with all my heart) can still be seen above the front entrance.
A large black exterior bell can still be seen high up on a wall of The Brotterton Suite. This dates back to as early as the 1930's where there is record of it's use during the residency of Sir Maurice Boileau. Maurice used to go for a walk before his evening dinner, when he heard the dinner bell chime (to warn him to return to dress for dinner), he would execute - for the benefit of the on looking village children - a smart parade ground about turn, shouldering his walking stick and marching home immediately. Many big houses of the time had such bells.
During the Second World War the hall became home to the 2nd Air Division of the USA's Eighth Air Force. Between 300 and 400 personnel occupied nissen huts built adjacent to the hall in what are now woodlands. During this time the Boileau family resided in small wing of the hall.
Two years after being sold to the Duke of Westminster in 1948, the hall was used as a preparatory school until 1965 when Badingham College bought it after their own premises at Fetcham had been sold for development. The college, however, failed to survive and had closed by 1968.
It was then bought in 1970 by Colin Chapman and used as a base for his Lotus F1 racing team. When the racing team ceased to operate from the hall, Group Lotus obtained the lease on the hall and surrounding grounds. When this lease expired the Hall was converted to its current use as offices to rent to a number of tenants.