Blennerhassett Family Tree
Genealogy one-name study - by Bill Jehan
   Introduction      Property      Hassett's Hall, Norfolk
 
"Hassett's Hall" or "Hassett's House
Pockthorpe, Norwich, Co.Norfolk 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
"Hassett's House circa 1750"
Drawing: courtesy of Ivan Bunn
[“Lantern: The Magazine of East Anglian Mysteries” No.27 p.9, Autumn 1979] 
 
 
From 1551 William Blennerhassett (d.1598) of Horsford, Co.Norfolk took residence at “The Laythes” (a.k.a. “Laythes Hall” or “The Laythes Yard”), part of a former monastic property known as "Monks Grange", at "Pockthorpe Gates". Pockthorpe is now a district of Norwich but then was outside the city, a hamlet just across the River Wensum, directly opposite Hassett's Tower (still standing, today known as “Cow Tower”).
 
William had inherited “The Laythes” c1547 from his aunt, Jane Calthorp (nee Blennerhassett), who obtained it following the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII. [BIFR p.134] tells us William Blennerhassett leased “The Laythes” from the  from the Dean & Chapter of Norwich Cathedral.
As the Blennerhassett seat, “The Laythes” became known as “Hassett's Hall” or “Hassett's House”, these names remaining long after the family left the house. Hassett's Hall was built on raised ground, with stone steps leading up to the door and a high stone wall enclosing house and yards.
 
 
 
 
 
 
"Hassett's House - Viewed from the River"
Drawing: courtesy of Ivan Bunn
[“Lantern: The Magazine of East Anglian Mysteries” No.27 p.5, Autumn 1979] 
 
 
 
 
“Hassett's Hall” was demolished in 1792, a Cavalry Barracks built on the site, the barracks hospital occupying the site of the house. The barracks was itself demolished in 1963 and a housing estate built, among the new streets being “Hassett Close” and “Cavalry Ride”.
 
The site of the house may be recognised as an open raised area, landscaped and planted with trees. The only remaining fragment is a part of the stone wall that enclosed Hassett's Hall and yards, incorporated into the barrack wall when that was built, and still standing. It may be seen on Barrack Road below the site of the house, close to where the wall turns a corner along Gurney Road.
A sign says “Site of Cavalry Barracks, later Nelson Barracks, 1792-1963”. 
 
 
 

 
 
 
"Hassett's Tower" or "Cow Tower"
Norwich, Co.Norfolk
 
 
 
“Hassett's Tower” at Norwich stands directly opposite the site of "Hassett's Hall”, Pockthorpe, on the opposite bank of the River Wensum. Usually known as "Cow Tower", it was built in the 14th century, of flint with a facing of redbrick. Standing on the Norwich bank of the River Wensum, the tower was originally part of the defences of Norwich and later used as a prison.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

"English Heritage" Sign Outside Cow Tower (a.k.a. Hassett's Tower)
 
 
 
Tales of Hassett's Hall...
 
Davd Gurney in 1858 recorded a ghostly tale of Hassett's Hall that has strong similarities to a legend of "Old Blunderhazard" of Barsham Hall at Barsham, Co.Suffolk.
 
“...a strange tale ran that old 'Hassett' often 'rode' in his coach and four over Bishop Gate, and when his whip cracked, flashes of fire came out which illuminated the whole city...”

He also recorded other tales, told by local people about Hassett's Hall:

“...a old man told that, when he was young, in Hassett's Hall he saw an apparition of a dead body roll across the room...”

“...there was a closet in the mansion that had never been opened, and no-one knew what was there, and the doors of the two rooms had been plastered up, in attempting to open which, two people had been struck blind...” 
 
“…that soldiers working in the [cavalry] barracks hospital, built on the site of Hassetts Hall, often complained of strange spiritual manifestations…”
 
References:
[“Record of the House of Gournay” by David Gurney 1858]
[ "Old Blunderhazard" by Ivan A. W. Bunn “Lantern: The Magazine of East Anglian Mysteries” No.26 Summer 1979, pp.2,3,9 & No.27 Autumn 1979, pp.5-9]
 
 
 
 
 
 
Map of Norwich showing Hassett's House, Pockthorpe, Hassett's Tower & Bishop's Gate Bridge.
Drawing: courtesy of Ivan Bunn
[“Lantern: The Magazine of East Anglian Mysteries” No.27, Autumn 1979, p.6]  
 
 
 
  
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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