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Monday, 3 December 2012

Times Gone by of a Norfolk Wedding Hotspot | Lynford Hall Hotel | James Neale Photogaphy

Lynford Hall Country House Hotel is a historic mansion house set in the heart of Thetford Forest. Surrounded by beautiful woodland and lakes, it undoubtedly is a very impressive venue. But what makes it so fascinating is that, as well as acres of magnificent grounds, Lynford Hall is also stooped with history and character and certainly has a story to tell.

The current Lynford Hall was built by Mr Lyne-Stephens between 1857 and 1862 to replace the former hall. Mr Lyne-Stephens Became a merchant banker after he made his fortune by inventing dolls eyes that opened and closed. Madame Lyne-Stephens took possession of it as a widow when Mr Lyne-Stephens passed away in 1860, at the age of sixty. At the time of his death he was considered to be the richest commoner in the reign of Queen Victoria and left one million pounds.

It was at Lynford Hall where Madame Lyne-Stephens spent the greatest part of her widowhood life devoting herself to the duties of a great landowner. She owned approximately eight thousand acres of land which was widely regarded as one of the finest sporting estates in East Anglia. This caught the eye of Queen Victoria’s advisers, who in 1861, had been instructed to acquire a suitable property for her son, Edward Prince of Wales. At that time, the ownership of Lynford Hall was being contested by many claimants and this is said to have put off the royals from purchasing the Hall. They subsequently decided to buy Sandringham Estate as their Norfolk retreat.

Lynford and its grounds changed hands a number of times around the turn of the century and in September 1924 under the ownership of Captain Fredrick James Osbaldeston Montague, 6,200 acres of grounds were sold to the Forestry Commission, which consequently became Thetford Forest Park.
In 1928 a fire in the east wing broke out and destroyed part of the Hall.  This was never replaced and only the basement still remains.

Lynford Hall became home to Sir James Calder in 1930. Sir James Calder, who was the United Kingdom ambassador to the United States, frequently entertained his great American friend Joseph Kennedy and his son John F Kennedy at Lynford Hall. They would regularly attend the chapel and hunt in the grounds. Ernest Hemingway is also said to have also propped up Lynford's Royal Wellingtonia bar in his day.

The government requisitioned the Hall during World War Two and used it as a Hospital for injured soldiers. Some carved names can still be found in trees on the grounds from this period. After the war Lynford Hall was bought by the forestry commission who used it as a training school until 1960. This saved Lynford Hall as after the war many stately homes were being pulled down.

Between 1960 and 1970 Lynford Hall was run as an apartment building, hotel, and a public house. In 1970 it was bought by Gerald F. Rand who converted the hall back into a private residence with some hotel and function facilities.

He also developed a mobile home park to the east of the house with around 40 plots.

It was during his ownership that the hall was used for several BBC programs including Dad’s Army, You Rang M’Lord and what many people do not realise is, it was the home for the great Rene’s Café in the BBC’s hit comedy Allo Allo. The café and market square now houses the hotels court yard rooms.

Today Lynford Hall is owned by Premier Wedding Venues, and is run as a hotel, wedding venue and conference centre. Its stunning location is perfect for wedding couples who want to astound their guests with the wow factor the hall has to offer. Whether it’s an intimate wedding with a select few, or a lavish celebration with many friends and family, Lynford is the ideal place for you, with three licenced ceremony rooms, each of which has its own character, whilst staying true to the heritage of the building.

With 2013 wedding packages starting from just £3500 why not contact Lynford today on 01842 878351 to arrange an appointment with their Wedding Co-ordinator and start planning your unique wedding day.

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