The History of Taverham Hall


The history of the current hall began when Augustin Sotherton, from Ludham, was offered the three thousand acre estate in 1623. It remained within the family for three hundred years and the Revd. John Nathaniel Micklethwait, a retired parson, inherited the estate through the female side of the family in about 1850. He decided to demolish the existing substantial hall and engaged architect, David Brandon, to design a country house of stature befitting a Norfolk gentleman.

Today’s hall is typical of the time with its high Tudor chimneys, stone mullioned windows and gables. Brandon’s drawings also displayed a substantial tower but, fortunately, good sense prevailed and the tower was never built. Sadly the Micklethwaits had no children and in 1901 the hall was passed through the female side to Revd. F. C. Mills, who lived in Warwickshire. He had no desire to live in Norfolk and leased the hall until 1921 when he decided to divide up the estate and sell it at auction.

Schoolmaster Revd. Frank Glass, bought the hall and approximately one hundred acres of grounds for £12,000. His school near Diss had outgrown its premises and Taverham Hall provided the space for his boys’ boarding school to grow. A classroom block and small hall was erected for teaching purposes and a games field and golf course was cut into the area where cricket pitches sit today. The woodland to the north of the hall captured the boys imagination. They spent many happy hours playing there without the encumbrance of modern regulations restricting them. During the war the army moved in and evidence of their presence can still be seen today. Soldiers’ names scratched into the brickwork and bullet holes can still be seen in the weather vanes. After the war, the school returned to the hall and prospered under the headship of John Peel.

Since then it has taken on charitable trust status, grown considerably and is now fully co-educational with modern facilities. In 1994 two former pupils, Charles and Clive Mardon, both of whom left the school in 1992, funded the restoration of  the  Micklethwait family crest. Through their generous assistance, it is now still on display in the school’s inner hall in a beautifully restored condition. Many of the educational ideals expressed by Glass persist, albeit monitored closely. Children still enjoy the freedom to explore the grounds and play in the woods. School shield: Conanti Dabitur – through effort we succeed .