Norfolk architecture: Types of properties for sale
Published Feb 17th 2023
4 mins read
When discovering what Norfolk has to offer the home buyer, you’ll also be discovering an eclectic mix of Norfolk architecture.
The majority of Norfolk’s old towns and villages are full of quaint thatched cottages, flint houses and historic buildings.
But the more modern towns and cities are a mixture of older-style properties and modern, contemporary homes.
There are a variety of different historical eras that have influenced the style of properties in Norfolk, from Regency, Tudor, Georgian, Edwardian and Queen Anne architecture to Italianate and Gothic Revival; not forgetting the Victorian terraces that grace many of the towns and older parts of cities.
Many of the cottages display amazing flint work. Indeed, Norfolk has become well-known as the home of black flint tools dating back 60,000 years, discovered near Lynford.
There are many different styles of houses in Norfolk, which is one of the county’s attractions for people looking for new homes that are unique.
Whether it’s medieval flint and timbered walls, brick-built homes or even more modern building materials, there is a home for everyone’s taste.
History of Norfolk architecture
As with most places in the United Kingdom, Norfolk’s plethora of buildings were constructed predominantly using local materials – chalk, timber, red brick fired in Norfolk kilns and, of course, flint.
But some building materials, namely ‘ashlar’ (prepared blocks of stone), were transported to the county from as far as France.
It was the lightbulb moment of the 1300s when the true merits of building with brick were discovered that brought about building on a massive scale, with brick coming from the county’s plethora of kilns.
Caister Castle and Holkham hall are two historic buildings that show early examples of stunning brickwork of this era.
The survival of many of Norfolk’s fabulous examples of brick-built and flint properties is principally down to the county avoiding the impact of the Industrial Revolution.
This means that many of the buildings weren’t pulled down to be rebuilt or repurposed but stood the test of time and still stand today.
But that’s not to say the modern contemporary building hasn’t had an influence on many of today’s new builds; it has.
Indeed, around the cities and bigger towns, you will see the impact of more modern building methods in the form of new residential developments as well as apartments in blocks.
But even this is starting to turn full circle, as there is a major drive in that architects and construction companies adopt local materials, where possible.
Also creative designs may follow set guidelines in an effort to enhance, instead of detract, from Norfolk’s rich historical architecture.
Architectural styles in Norfolk
Whatever your architectural taste in property, Norfolk has something for everyone. These are the predominant styles in Norfolk.
Highly recognisable by the use of timber frames and clay, often with oriel windows and the defining Tudor arch; this style of property is synonymous with famous Elm Hill in Norwich, which is lined with Tudor properties.
Most commonly associated with the era 1714 to 1830, Georgian properties have a strong theme of symmetry, balance and proportion. This style saw a revival in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Probably the most common style of property throughout Norfolk is the Victorian home.
Heavily influenced by the Regency, Italianate and sometimes Gothic Revival styles, most Victorian-style properties will be found in the older parts of the towns and cities, like Norwich, particularly two-storey and three-storey terraced townhouses.
On the outskirts of towns and cities, you will find Victorian detached houses, as well as in the larger villages.
The Edwardian period followed the Victorian era and lasted a lot longer than its namesake Edward VII.
Mainly influenced by the Arts & Crafts movement, and although similar in ways to Victorian properties, they were often limited to just two floors and didn’t have the Victorian cellar or basement.
If you’re looking for a larger property with a big garden or plot, an Edwardian house is a better option as they are usually associated with grandeur, therefore commanding bigger houses on larger plots with good-sized gardens.
Cottages and houses of various shapes and sizes were often decorated with flint, which was a common local building material in the early days of Norfolk house building.
Today, most flint buildings are cottages, but they are common in towns and villages like Sheringham.
Cities don’t often have flint buildings, but that’s not to say you couldn’t find one on the outskirts.
What is becoming very popular in Norfolk are conversions of barns and substantial outbuildings into family homes.
In most cases, builders retain as much of the barn or outbuilding’s original character and particularly its features.
Floor-to-ceiling windows are common, which usually replace big barn doors, which allow light to flood into the home.
Generally, they occupy good-sized plots, and the interiors are a blend of old and modern, contemporary technology.
Very much geared toward young, up-and-coming individuals or couples, and even the downsizing older generation, modern apartments are usually found in city centres, although there are exceptions.
Indeed, Norwich has the tallest residential building, which incorporates apartments from the studio and one bedrooms up to three-bedroom penthouses.
Modern family homes
As the demand for housing grows, there has been a big increase in the number of small modern developments in towns and villages that are designed to create a community, as much as providing family homes or retirement properties.
Many are a mixture of houses and bungalows, which are rising in popularity, and include modern and environmentally-friendly technology.
Norfolk architecture has something to suit everyone
Norfolk is a multi-faceted county when it comes to its style of property. Which you choose really depends on where you want to live and what you are looking for, but there really is something for everyone.
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