A genuine local treasure, Stradsett Hall is one of the most beautiful buildings in West Norfolk, but this family home is only part of the story of this thriving estate.
Eleven miles south of King’s Lynn you’ll find the small parish of Stradsett (the 2001 census recorded a population of only 60), which is dominated by the estate of Stradsett Park. It’s here you’ll find the perfectly-proportioned Stradsett Hall, the ancestral home of Sir Jeremy Bagge, 7th Baronet and former High Sheriff of Norfolk. Although the family continues to enjoy a degree of privacy in the historic house and its gardens, it does make a concerted effort to ensure this thriving country estate merges harmoniously with the life of the local community life, aiming for a sustainable existence that’s closely in touch with its natural environment.
The business of the Estate is farming, comprising an extensive amount of arable cultivation and cattle for beef – the cattle can be seen during the summer in the Park’s adjoining pastures, and extra grazing is sometimes made available for local herdsmen and equestrian owners. The jewel in Stradsett’s crown is undoubtedly its lake (home to many varieties of waterfowl) and it’s open to the public for fishing (permits are available from the Estate Office).
Stradsett Park can be booked for suitable events, and currently hosts the annual National Vintage Tractor & Engine Club Rally, and the East Anglian Country Music Festival.
One of the Estate’s centrepieces is the beautiful 700-year-old church of St. Mary’s, a charming building which is well worth a visit. The architecture of St. Mary’s is typical Early English, with a square unbuttressed tower (with lancet windows) and continuous walls for the nave and chancel.
Inside, the windows are the main attraction – particularly the imposing East window, the perfect setting for Stradsett’s famous glass, which was made in Augsberg (Germany) in 1540, and was bought by Thomas Philip Bagge specifically for St. Mary’s sometime around 1820. The style – which is quite distinct from anything else in England today – shows the three wise men in gorgeous robes, offering their gifts to the Madonna and Child. The rich gold colours in the clothing dominate this hugely impressive scene. The church also features two pieces by the major memorial artist Richard Westmacott – the most beautiful of which features two entwined female angels.
Once you’ve enjoyed everything St. Mary’s has to offer, there’s still plenty to discover – and you’ll find the 8 mile Conservation Walk that’s run in association with the Countryside Stewardship Scheme a fantastic way to exlpore Stradsett.
Even better, once you’ve completed the walk, you’ll find the Estate’s own pub (The Foldgate Inn) is the perfect place to take the weight off your feet and enjoy some refreshments.
Stradsett Hall is a real undiscovered gem of a property, and if you’ve never visited the Estate before, visit the website at http://www.stradsett.com/ for more information or to arrange a (small) group visit, send an e-mail with your details to email@example.com