Today Gresham Hall Estate is a small, family-run business offering a selection of luxury self-catering accommodation in addition to the glampsite. You’ll meet Edward and Georgy during your holiday – along with their young children and Slipper, their super-friendly Border Terrier. She usually heads up the welcome party, often with a ball in her mouth which she’d be delighted for you to throw! The 1200 acre estate boasts woodlands thriving with wildlife, bountiful walks to discover and beautiful gardens to admire. It is still a working farm where the family grow wheat, barley, sugarbeet (which goes to British Sugar) and peas (field to Birds Eye factory in just 90 minutes). They also provide grazing for horses, sheep and farrowing pigs.

But life on the estate wasn’t always like this.

The origins

Gresham Hall was built by Colonel Batt between October 1907 and April 1908. His family crest remains over the front door at Gresham Hall, in the form of a bat! See if you can spot it. Local materials and labour was used from Gresham Estate and the bricks were all baked in a kiln on the estate.

Colonel Batt generated his own electricity, a very impressive feat at the time! This served the property for many years, until it was replaced by an eco-friendly biomass boiler to ensure oodles of hot water and heating for our guests.

Edward’s family bought the estate in the 1980s and went on to piece it back together bit by bit. Between 2017 and 2018, they completed extensive renovations. So today the luxurious holiday accommodation has the best of both worlds – Edwardian architecture, with all the mod cons! It’s been a happy family home where Edward spent a fabulous childhood, and now his and Georgy’s own children are enjoying life on the estate too. 

Gresham Hall, large luxury holiday accommodation with hot tub in Norfolk | Gresham Hall Estate
Gresham Hall, large luxury holiday accommodation with hot tub in Norfolk | Gresham Hall Estate

Daily life in 1910

Upstairs and Downstairs

From 6am to long after 10pm, the hall would have been abuzz with activity as a staff of maids, house-maids, hall-boys, gardeners and chefs, kept the family in style. A typical day would start with getting the range hot enough to boil that all important first cup of tea!

The butler ruled below stairs, and liaised between the family and servants, but there were strict etiquette rules in place, well, for pretty much everyone.  For example, the butler would be addressed by his surname, but the housekeeper would be Missus ~, and the Chef de Cuisine was, of course, “Monsieur ~”.

Quite extraordinary to hear it now, but it was the custom when entering in to service, that you were given a new name that suited the family. Common names for matching footmen being James and John!