The Marsham family estate

Stratton Hall
One of the oldest families in Norfolk, the Marshams held substantial estates in and round Stratton Strawless for about four centuries.

Stratton Strawless Church contains some outstanding tombs and memorials to the Marshams. The most notable are to be found in the Marsham chapel, but others are found elsewhere both inside and outside the church, including Robert’s own tomb located left of the entrance porch.

The current Stratton Strawless Hall (just off the A140 Norwich to Cromer Road) was completed early in the 19th Century and had extensive landscaped grounds which attracted more attention than the house. A local account suggested, “but for the accompaniment of a park and good timber, [the Hall] might be taken for an Hospital or an Union House”. Other accounts were no less complimentary about the estate: “it is impossible for an individual at all given to natural pursuits to set his foot upon this estate, without feeling that he is treading a sort of consecrated ground”.

Stratton Strawless HallHumphry Repton, the famous landscape gardener and great admirer of Robert Marsham’s tree planting work, described Stratton Strawless as: “a gem made out of a common by Robert Marsham”.

When sold in 1899 the Hall was described as a house of 32 bedrooms with stables for 30 horses. The 2,530 acres of the estate were divided into 15 ‘convenient’ farms.

Families then were often large, but death in infancy and early adulthood would take its toll. One Marsham nephew was reported as having ‘23 children by two wives, but has only 12 living’.

It is astonishing that several members of the family managed to live so long, including Robert (born 1708) who lived until he was 89 and his sister Lucy (born 1710) who died aged 92.

Marsham ArmsOne of the few lasting legacies to the Marsham family is the Marsham Arms Pub at Hevingham: it was founded by Robert’s grandson, also named Robert, in 1832 as a hostel for homeless farm labourers.