Oxburgh Hall (visit site) is a country house within Oxborough, Norfolk and today sits in the hands of the National Trust. Despite being built with a moat surrounding it, the house has never been used as a fortress and was only ever intended to be a family home. The house came to the Bedingfeld family by marriage and since it’s construction in 1482, it has continuously been inhabited by them.
The hall is a Grade I listed building, the highest-level that it can be awarded.
The Hall is a great example of late medieval housing and it stands within a square moat and was originally enclosed. In 1772, the hall range facing the gatehouse was pulled down and it now resembles a U-shape. The building is reached by a three-arched bridge and the entrance is through a fortified gatehouse.
The gatehouse is regarded as being one of the best examples of such architecture within the country. Whilst it appearst fort-like in design, it was merely a symbolic feature and was designed to be a symbol of power and prestige.
The hall is also famous for its priest hole, an aspect that is common of houses from this time. The Bedingfeld family were catholic and the hole would have hidden a priest in the event that a raid had taken place. The hole inside Oxburgh Hall is hidden by a trapdoor, which blends in with the tiled floor when closed. Unlike other such holes across the country, this priest hole is open to the public.
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