The hall and downstairs room

The Hall

The Hall was the main room of the house and used for dining and entertaining. Here you can see beautiful carved ceiling timbers and a decorated fireplace and carved brackets. You can also see clues showing how the house was built, for example pegs at joints and builders’ marks on the beams. The display model shows the house when first constructed.

The room is displayed as it might have looked in about 1595. The red and yellow wall hanging reflects typical Tudor style. A table is laid out for a feast of roast meats, fish, pie and Norfolk Biffing apples. The portraits on the walls date from the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Collectors’ Room

This front room was originally divided in two, with the end facing the street serving as a small shop. You can still see where the shop doorway would have been on the left-hand side of the wall. The back of the room may have been a workshop. The slanting window is original, and would have looked out onto the garden.

By the door into the Collectors’ room, on the right-hand side of the doorframe, you can see a ‘VV’ sign, known as a ‘viva mark’. This was often scratched onto walls and doors to ward off evil spirits. The candle burn marks on the outside of the doorframe were probably made to protect the house from fire.

The room is full of treasures from the Museum collections with more on show in the pull out drawers.

1901 Kitchen

This room is displayed to reflect life at the Ancient House in 1901 when the population census tells us Thomas Newton, a rabbit warrener, was living here with his wife Emily, their family and four lodgers.

The busy kitchen included a coal fired range for cooking, a copper with a wooden lid for heating water and a mangle for wringing out the washing. On the table, rabbit pie is being prepared.