Viewed from the south east
|Address||Honing Hall, Honing, Norfolk, NR28 9NN|
|Town or city||North Walsham|
|Renovated||1788 (John Soane)|
1792 (Humphrey Repton, Landscaped)
|Designated||16 April 1955|
Honing Hall is a Grade II* listed building which stands in a small estate close to the village of Honing in the English county of Norfolk within the United Kingdom. It was built in 1748 for a wealthy Worstead weaver called Andrew Chamber.
The hall is rectangle in plan and is built over three storeys and is situated in the centre of the north end of the small estate. The south-facing façade has five bays with a pediment over the three central bays. Carved in stone set into the brick faced pediment is a coat of arms with garlands. The front main entrance has Ionic columns topped with a pediment protruding from the front triple-bay building line. The roof is clad in black glazed Norfolk pantiles. The west-facing façade has a latter addition of a full-height bowed extension with windows which overlook the gardens on this side of the hall. This extension is attributed to the architect John Soane and was part of the alterations carried out under his instruction in 1788 and completed in 1790. Around the building at the first floor Humphry Repton added a platband embellishment in his alterations of 1792. In 1868 a new service wing was added to the north elevation under the instruction of architect Richard Phipson. He also moved the original 1748 staircase into the new wing.
Other estate buildings
130 metres to the north of the hall is the coach house and stable block which is also Grade II listed. The stable is a single-storey Norfolk red brick built building with a pantile roof and has a U-shaped plan. In the centre of the building there is a crow-stepped gable above which there is a clock tower topped with a cupola. Below this is an archway.
150 metres south west of the house there is a three-sided walled garden with the south elevation open. Each of the three walls have a gothic arched entrance through. The originally there were lean-to greenhouses along the north wall but these have been demolished. It is believed that it was Repton who had the south wall removed as part of his instruction to shorten the depth of the enclosed garden to open up the view of his landscape scheme when viewed from the hall.
Park and gardens
The landscaped gardens around Honing Hall were designed by Humphry Repton in 1792. He produced one of his striking red book of designs showing his ideas before and after. Much of the design work from the book was taken up. The grounds take up 35 hectares most of which is to the south of the hall. Much of the boundary is planted with small plantations of trees with open space in the middle which has scattered clumps of oak trees.
The present hall stands on land which was once occupied by a much earlier settlement or house which stood a short distance from where the stable block is. The remnants of this house were thought to have been finally removed just before the construction of the hall in 1748. This previous dwelling itself had replaced an earlier enclosed medieval moated dwelling which stood just inside the northern boundary of the property. This area is now an overgrown plantation but vestiges of three arms of the moat can be found and still retain water. In the centre is a raised area where once stood the medieval building. In the 1740s the property had been purchased by Andrew Chamber who was a prosperous Norwich, Worsted weaver. He wanted to build a country house for his family and it was completed in 1748 by an unknown architect and builder. It appears that at some time Chamber got into financial difficulties and as a consequence sold the house and property to Thomas Cubitt in 1784. He was a Captain in the East Norfolk Militia. His son also called Thomas inherited the hall and following his marriage in 1784 moved into the hall. It was Thomas Henry Cubitt who instructed the prominent architect John Soane to prepare plans for alterations to the Hall. Some of Soane's recommendation were taken up by Cubitt in particular the full-height semicircular bowed extension on the west façade. In 1792 the Landscape designer and architect Humphry Repton was commissioned by Thomas to re-design the grounds. He was also responsible for work on the house including alteration to the aesthetics of the exterior of the house. In the Gazetteer and Directory of Norfolk 1836 the owner of the house and lord of the manor was Edward Cubitt, Esq. The house and estate are still owned by the Cubitt Family.
The Cubitt family
The Cubitts of Honing have a distinguished history of serving their country in the military. As already mentioned, the first owner, Thomas Cubitt was a captain in the East Norfolk Militia; he was also a justice of the peace and a deputy lieutenant of the county of Norfolk. Edward George Cubitt (1795 – 1865) served with the 4th Dragoons in the Peninsular War where he was at the Burgos and was decorated for actions at Battle of Vitoria, Pamplona and Battle of Toulouse (1814). There is a tablet dedicated to Edward's memory in the parish church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the village of Honing.
First World War
The family's military service continued in the First World War. The 5th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment included some men employed by the Royal Family on the Sandringham Estate in the north-west of Norfolk. The officer commanding was Colonel Sir Horace Beauchamp C.B. and amongst his officers were three sons of Edward G. Cubitt and his wife Christabel of Honing Hall: Captain Edward Randall Cubitt, Lieutenant Victor Murray Cubitt and Captain Eustace Henry Cubitt. Also in the battalion was the Cubitt's cousin, Second Lieutenant Randall Burroughes. On 29 July 1915 the brothers along with their cousin as part of the 5th Battalion boarded the RMS Aquitania in Liverpool bound for the Dardanelles. On 12 August 1915 the battalion went into action on the battlefield of Suvla. Colonel Beauchamp, 17 of his officers, which included the Cubitt brothers and their cousin and 250 men advanced toward the enemy and suffered heavy losses. A myth grew up around the battalion long after the War that they had advanced into a mist and simply disappeared. According to accounts of 50 years later, three observers from the New Zealand Army claimed that on an almost cloudless, breezy day, a loaf-shaped cloud stayed stationary over Hill 60 partly obscuring it. They watched the battalion march into the cloud. The observers waited for almost an hour, and then the mist seemed to rise, almost vertically, and joined the rest of the clouds in the sky. The soldiers who entered were gone, leaving no trace of their presence. However, the truth is more prosaic. The 5 battalion that took Hill 60 did not vanish into a cloud, but went on to attack the Turkish positions in the woods beyond Hill 60. They were cut off, and those that were not killed died later as prisoners of war. The fate of the soldiers was ascertained in 1919, when the Graves Registration Unit searched the battle site. The remains of 115 men of the battalion were found and buried in Azmak Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery. Captain Edward Randall Cubitt, Lieutenant Victor Murray Cubitt and Second Lieutenant Randall Burroughes were all killed in action. Victor and Edward have no known grave and are commemorated on the Helles Memorial near Sedd el Bahr, Turkey and on the parish church war memorial in Honing. Captain Eustace Henry Cubitt survived the attack of the 12 August but was killed in action on 19 April 1917 and his grave is in Gaza War Cemetery. A BBC TV drama, All the King's Men (1999), starring David Jason as Captain Frank Beck, was based upon the story.
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- Wilson, Richard (18 November 2000). Creating Paradise: The Building of the English Country House, 1660-1880. Reference to Worstead Weaver Andrew Chamber in the reference note 62. Continnuum-3PL. p. 243. ISBN 9781852852528.
- "Honing Hall– Honing – Norfolk – England". Grade II listing details for Honing Hall. British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
- OS Explorer Map 252 - Norfolk Coast East. Ordnance Survey detailed Explorer Map (A3 ed.). Ordnance Survey. 21 July 2008. p. 1. ISBN 9780319240380.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus (1976). Norfolk: Norwich and North-east v. 1 (Pevsner Architectural Guides: Buildings of England). Details and description of Honing hall. Penguin Books Ltd. p. 170. ISBN 9780300096071. ISBN No. for a later edition.
- "Norfolk Heritage Explorere – Honing Hall". Details and description of Honing Hall, Honing, Norfolk. Norfolk County Council. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- "Stable Block– Honing – Norfolk – England". Grade II listing details for the Stable Block at Honing Hall. British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
- Mee, Arthur (1972). The King’s England – Norfolk. Reference to the tablet to Edward Cubitt and his participation in the Peninsular War. Hodder and Stoughton. p. 130. ISBN 9781445642185.
- "The Regimental History of the 1/5th Norfolks - The Vanished Battalion". Reference to the three Cubitt brothers in the list of the 5th battalion officers. Archived from the original on 2 December 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900..