The following is an extract from Burke's & Savills Guide to Country Houses; Volume III, East Anglia. By John Kenworthy-Browne (Essex), Peter Reid (Suffolk & Essex), Michael Sayer (Norfolk) and David Watkin (Camb.). Burke's Peerage 1981.
The estate came to the de Grey family by inheritance ca 1337 from the Baynards, who held it in Domesday Book. The house was built facing north on an "E"-plan 1613, with pinnacled gables above the recessed bays as well as the wings and porch. A detached gatehouse of 1 storey was built 1620, with 3 small shaped gables to north and south, and pairs of Tuscan columns flanking the arch. Subsequently a C19 neo-Jacobean service wing, modelled on the original house, was added Blore on the outside of the east wing, and a billiard room beyond the west wing. The entire house was gutted by fire 1956, except for the Blore wing - and, of course, the gatehouse. Merton was at the time a school and the family lived in a modern house nearby, but this too was gutted 1970 with all the contents of the original house. 9th Lord Walsingham subsequently moved into the Blore wing, into which he incorporated the front door from Woodbastwick Hall (qv). The lavatory contains the grouse-shooting record (1,070 birds in 14 hours 18 minutes) of the 6th Baron, a famous Edwardian figure who gambled on converting Walsingham House in Piccadilly into a club and hotel (now replaced by the Ritz). As the present Lord Walsingham observed, the 6th Baron's marital infidelities "were remarkable, in an age when infidelity was commonplace; though the scandal was for the most part confined to the locality since it seems he usually slept with his housemaids." The arch of the gatehouse has recently been glassed in. Attractive park with lake. Roger de Grey, the artist, is a member of the junior branch of the family.
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Last revised: 23 February 2002