Hillington Parish, Norfolk

Interesting Buildings in the Village

Hillington Hall

This was first erected in 1624 but later pulled down and re-built in 1948. Some original buildings still remain. The main entrance lodge, built by the Ffolkes family, is a reconstruction of the East Gate of King’s Lynn which was pulled down in 1800. At the lodge entrance are the remains of the two (Grade II listed) medieval stone cross shafts with another two on the opposite side of the road. It is understood that three originally came from either King’s Lynn or a route to Walsingham. They were placed along the road for travellers to pray for safe travel from one cross to the next. The fourth cross is thought to be from Hillington.  From Hillington Hall, in the 1600s, came the water supply for the village. It was pumped from a clear spring in the park to a reservoir situated in the park near to the later site of Hillington Station. The reservoir, made of steel, has now gone but an older one remains behind the park wall near the Flitcham turning. During the 19th century an icehouse was built in the park and three pairs of estate cottages were built along Lynn Road.

The earlier hall is shown below:

Southgate House to Hillington Park

This grand gatehouse (Grade II listed) with a large central tower and four turrets has lodges each side of the arch. It was built between 1824 and 1830 by W.J.Donthorne and resembled in general appearance the original Hall, now demolished. The lodges, splay walls and forecourt walls are also all Grade II listed.  The East gatehouse (Grade II listed) was also built in the same years by W.J. Donthorne. It is early neo-tudor in style, important now that the original Hall is demolished. The Coat of Arms of the Ffolkes family is in stone above the archway.

Warren Farm House

This is a Grade II  listed building and can be found on the 1500s map of Hillington. There was also a laundry next to the farm employing local people.

Uphall

This is also a Grade II  listed building. The main part of the house was built in the 18th century with extensions in the 19th and 20th centuries. Uphall has seen some interesting residents including Lady Downe, Lady Fermoy and the Queen Mother who rented the house whilst Sandringham House was being modified.

The School House

This was built in 1855 by Sir W.J.K. Browne for about sixty children. The school bell still hangs in the bell tower (Grade II listed). When the station closed to regular traffic the station ticket office was incorporated into the school building. The school finally closed in 1971.

Station House

This was built in 1879 and finally closed as a working station in 1963. It was the main line from King’s Lynn through to Fakenham with a single track and a double track at the station. The station sign and tickets both read ‘Hillington for Sandringham’ as the station was used on occasions by members of the Royal Family and guests who, on one occasion, included the Empress of Russia. It was bought from British Rail, when it closed down, by the owners of Hillington Hall.

Village Store and Petrol Station

The present local shop and garage stands on a site that was once a small-shed like building where villagers would have had their radio accumulators charged for 6 old pence a week. On the opposite side of the road was the Buck Inn and next to this was the old village store which also ran a filling station with hand cranked petrol pumps. In the 1960s it ceased to operate and new premises were erected over the road.

There was a bowling green on a site next to the Buck Inn and The Old Smithy was adjacent to the old village store.

Ffolkes Arms

The Ffolkes Arms Hotel (Grade II listed) was constructed over three hundred years ago and was acquired, as part of the Hillington Hall Estate, by the Ffolkes family in the 18th century at a time when Martin Ffolkes, Attorney General to Queen Catherine, married into the Hovell family who were the owners of the Estate. The hotel was a popular Coaching Inn on the main route from the Midlands to Norwich. 

The main building of the Ffolkes Arms coaching inn hasn’t changed much over the years. The old stables and out-buildings on the land have been converted into motel accommodation. The old barn at the bottom of the land, once the village hall, has become a country club. A tennis court also existed on land behind the Ffolkes Arms.

The hotel is rumoured to be haunted by the ghost of a nanny who leapt to her death from one of the attic bedrooms during the 19th century. 

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