Beaconsthorpe Castle: Beaconsthorpe Hall: Wood Hall

  • Holt, Norfolk
  • OSGB – TG 121 381
  • Scheduled Ancient Monument
  • Grade I Listed Building.


Moated quadrangular fortified manor house with flanking towers. Ditches on the north, south and west sides and the east side is defended by a lake. Square mound measuring 213.2ft square and the moat measuring 42.6 – 49.2ft wide is wet on the south, west and north sides. The site is divided into two by a lightly defended wall. The gatehouse of three storeys is on the south of the site and a drawbridge spanning the moat. Possibly on the old site of Wood Hall.


Built without a licence.

Sir John Heydon, a lawyer, built the inner gatehouse.

Haunted by a figure throwing a ‘plum stone’ into the moat.


1440’s                         Early: Parts were built

1480’s                         Expanded by Sir John Haytons, son of Sir Henry, Steward to Edward IV’s mother, Cecily Neville. He added the outer curtain wall, gatehouse and extended the moat.

*                                  Sir Henry Heydon married Anne Boleyn, aunt of Queen Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s 2nd wife.

1486                            Built for the Heydon family.

1561                            The undefended outer court was added by Sir Christopher Heydon after obtaining a licence to crenellate.

1590                            Sir William Heydon decided to sell some of the site but Sir Christopher Heydon, his son, challenged him and secured a prohibition to stop Sir William from demolishing the buildings.

16th C                          Courtyards built and the gateway in the south wall was built of flint. Outer gatehouse. Sir William Heydon owed debts and mortgaged the site. The east range was used as a woolen factory for cloth weaving. Barn dates from.

1650                            Mostly destroyed by Parliament following a siege, and materials were taken for other buildings.

17th C                          Early: Alterations made by Sir Christopher Heydon II.

17th C                          Mid: Most of the buildings were demolished including the outer gatehouse and outer walls. The outer gatehouse was being lived in and was known as Beaconsthorpe Hall.

1920                            c: Part of the inner gatehouse walls collapsed. The outer gatehouse was till lived in by the Heydon family until one of the turrets collapsed.

1953-1954                   Excavated.

1969                            Field Investigation.

1972                            Excavated.

1986                            Field Investigation.

1986-1987                   Surveyed and Measured.


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