A Rural English Manor Immortalized by Virginia Woolf as a Place Where ‘No Sound Whatever Reaches Your Ear’ Is on the Market for $3.1 Million


Blo’ Norton Hall, a grand English manor that featured prominently in a Virginia Woolf short story, has hit the market for £2.6 million ($3.1 million). The 72-acre plot in rural Norfolk dates back to the year 1280, and some of its Elizabethan structure, built in the 16th century, remains intact.

“When you are set down at the Hall,” wrote Woolf in 1906, “no sound whatever reaches your ear; the very light seems to filter through deep layers; & the air circulates slowly, as though it had but to make the circuit of the Hall, & its duties were complete.” 

Living area of Blo' Norton Hall. Courtesy of Savills Realty.

One living room in Blo’ Norton Hall. Courtesy of Savills Realty.

That summer, Woolf stayed at Blo’ Norton Hall, which provided the setting for her short story The Journal of Miss Joan Martyn. In the story, the protagonist is a historian researching England’s medieval land-tenure system. During her stay, Woolf used to bicycle around Norfolk.

According to the Savills listing, the nine-bedroom home has undergone some renovations but is still loaded with period details, including mullion windows, octagonal chimneys, stained glass, large open fireplaces, and sections with original flooring. But the pièce de résistance is a dining hall lined with original 16th-century paneling.

One of nine bedrooms in Blo' Norton Hall. Courtesy of Savills Realty.

The dining area of Blo’ Norton Hall. Courtesy of Savills Realty.

Described by Tatler, the estate consists of arable land, parks, and meadows. It’s surrounded by a former moat and nestled among topiary, thick hornbeam hedging, beds of lavender, and an orchard. It also features a tennis court and cottages.

Later in 1906, Prince Frederick Duleep Singh—son of the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire, who lived nearby—rented Blo’ Norton Hall and lived there for the last 20 years of his life. Prince Frederick, who claimed that Blo’ Norton Hall was the oldest inhabited house in Norfolk, is buried in its churchyard; there is a memorial to him inside the church.

One of nine bedrooms in the Elizabethan estate. Courtesy of Savills Realty.

One of nine bedrooms in the Elizabethan estate. Courtesy of Savills Realty.

The property takes its name from the nearby village of Blo’ Norton, which likely derives from the Olde English for ‘bleak or cold north enclosure.’ “The Hall exudes history, from the moment you arrive to every room in the house,” said Savills agent Ben Rivett. “It’s a real gem.”


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