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Then and Now

File 7 - Thickthorn Hall

Thickthorn was once a significant ancient hamlet of Hethersett dominated by an early medieval moated hall which has long gone. 

This was replaced on a nearby site by a Georgian mansion in 1812; now in multi-tenure. The photograph above was taken sometime between 1900 and 1920.

Ownership over the last 200 years includes well known local names in  banking , mustard and chocolate.

Around 1860 during the  Gurney family ownership of Thickthorn Hall,  Mary, a rich wife of John Henry Gurney, ran off with her footman.

The great scandal which followed became the subject of a broardsheet ballad entitled  The Blooming Lady and the Lucky Footman! The chorus in the extract below sets the scene.


She has five hundred thousand pounds

One of the richest in the land,

And she from her husband bolted,

With her fancy servant man.


The history shows that Richard Hanbury Gurney, of Thickthorn Hall, married Mary Muskett in 1830. Their daughter, Mary Jary, married her cousin, John Henry Gurney, but subsequently ran off with their footman. 

A divorce followed and she married this footman, William Taylor in 1862.

For a full history of Thickthorn Hall click here.

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