The History of Langley Preparatory School at 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 .

Community facilities

Langley Preparatory School at Taverham Hall happily allows members of the public, especially those who live in the village of Taverham, access to our grounds and facilities wherever possible. Lighting in the Sports Hall is at 1000 Lux intensity. This is ideal for indoor cricket practice. A number of local clubs utilise the School’s facilities. Those that have used the Sports Hall between 2008 and 2019 include:

  • Taverham Archers
  • Thoroughbreds Netball
  • Norfolk United Netball Club
  • Broadland D.C. – holiday coaching
  • Chapelfield Cricket Club
  • Felthorpe Cricket Club
  • Hardingham Cricket Club
  • Hellesdon Cricket Club
  • Horsford Cricket Club (East Anglian Premier League)
  • Mattishall Cricket Club (Norfolk Alliance)
  • Norfolk County Cricket Club
  • Norfolk Cricket Board – County junior cricket teams from Under-10 to 17
  • Norfolk Fencing Association – Training days and junior tournaments
  • Old Buckenham Cricket Club (Norfolk Alliance)
  • Old Catton Cricket Club
  • Red Mist Cricket – Coaching of junior cricketers from all of Norfolk
  • Swardeston Cricket Club (EAPL)
  • Vauxhall Holiday Park Under-16 Indoor Cricket League
  • Vauxhall Mallards Cricket Club (EAPL)
  • KG Adventure
  • EVA
  • Advantage International
  • Community Sports Foundation
  • ECB Coach Education Centre
  • Singing workshops (THS and other local schools)*
  • THS parents’ netball*
  • THS parents’ five-a-side football*
  • Total Hockey
  • Joy4Life
  • Fiona Jones Circuits
  • Ana Roy Yoga
  • Exploding Brass (Taverham Scouts/Taverham Band)
  • Mr and Mrs Steed’s Activity Clubs
  • Harford Manor School

Other usage made of the school’s facilities by the public includes:

Swimming pool

  • Julie Bird (Learn to Swim)
  • Water Babies
  • Pat Willmott
  • Scouts (canoeing)
  • Andy Berry (Sub-Aqua Club)
  • Helena Spurrell (Dolphins’ Swimming Club)
  • Onside Sports
  • Hautbois Activity Centre
  • UEA Kayaking Club
  • Loren Allen (Swimtastic)
  • Taverham High School*
  • British Rowing
  • Purple Jellyfish Swim School
  • Eagle Canoe Club
  • EVA
  • Advantage International
  • Easton College
  • Norfolk Rowing
  • Harford Manor School*

Main Hall

Pre-Prep Hall

School grounds

  • Local Schools Cross Country Event (West Norfolk & Dereham Schools Sport Partnership)*
  • Special Schools Cross Country*
  • Taverham High School*
  • Taverham Middle School*
  • Taverham Archers
  • Norwich Orienteering Club*
  • Trees for the Living*
  • Cross country practice and race*
  • Camping and Caravan Club (Paddock)
  • Exploding Brass Concert
  • NCC – Children’s Services – Early Years Outdoor Learning
  • Teddy Bears’ Picnic (in the woods and the Walled Garden)
  • Bluebell Walk (in woodlands and the park)
  • Church car park (by the Main drive)*
  • Activ 8
  • Easton College*
  • Forest School Holiday Club
  • The Green Light Trust*
  • KG Adventure
  • Community Sports Foundation
  • Broadland Health Walks*
  • Nordic Walking*
  • Girl Guides*
  • visiting Nurseries*
  • British Cycling
  • Onside Sports
  • Sidestrand School*
  • EVA
  • Advantage International
  • Norfolk Orienteering*
  • Nelson’s Journey*

No charge is made with those items marked with an asterisk. Marginal costs are charged for use of all other facilities except Langley Development Company bookings where a commercial charge is made. For more information on the use of the School’s facilities please email sam@taverhamhall.co.uk or contact the school via +44 (0)1603 868206.

Looking for somewhere truly special to hold a conference or party? Langley Preparatory School’s ‘Taverham Hall’ provides the perfect backdrop for a variety of occasions. Built in 1858 and set in over a hundred acres of magnificent parkland, with neo-Jacobean styling and elegant reception rooms, this beautiful main hall is ideal for formal and informal gatherings. Views over Taverham’s ancient woodland and the valley of the River Wensum provide numerous photographic opportunities, making sure your day at Taverham is truly memorable.