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10 Oct: Does the entrance to Narnia lie within a wardrobe at a Norfolk manor house…?

At Bessingham Manor, bedroom six is known as ‘the Narnia Room’ and boasts a small double bed, a fireplace and a wardrobe for guests to store their clothes.

Bessingham Manor before its restoration. CREDIT: Adrian S Pye/Geograph

But when the owners of the Hall investigated, they discovered that this wardrobe had a secret door in the back where the servants could take a short cut.


There has been a house on this site in the north of the county for centuries and it has been owned by many families, including the Reptons, who counted landscape architect Humphrey Repton as a member.


The current house was built in 1869 by Daniel Spurrell and boasts another curious story: Daniel’s youngest son Edmund inherited the manor in 1906 and returned from his travels in India with a dancing bear, which he kept in the cellar and brought out to entertain guests.


“Some of the more elderly residents in the area remember it rattling on the bars of its cage from across the fields,” it reads on bessinghammanor.uk.


Lovingly restored by the current owners and saved from demolition, Bessingham Manor is now self-catering accommodation.

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