The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Great Yarmouth; The Tolhouse

In the civil parish of Great Yarmouth.
In the historic county of Norfolk.
Modern Authority of Norfolk.
1974 county of Norfolk.
Medieval County of Norfolk.

OS Map Grid Reference: TG52490725
Latitude 52.60435° Longitude 1.72757°

Great Yarmouth; The Tolhouse has been described as a probable Fortified Town House.

There are major building remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


A merchant's fortified house. Begun c1150 and altered c1250. Hired to the Borough in the C14 and purchased by them in 1552. Used for a variety of civic functions: prison (1261-1875), town hall (to 1882), police station, court house and toll office. Restored in 1883, when the rear wing was demolished, bombed April 1941 and restored 1960-1. Used as a museum and library from the 1880s. Fortified first-floor hall house illustrating early adaptation of military architecture to domestic purpose. Flint with some ashlar and ashlar dressings. Plain tiled roof. The north gable wall has been rebuilt C20, and the south gable wall largely rebuilt. EXTERIOR: the east front is of 2 storeys. 3-window range in all. To the left is a 4-light transomed casement of 1960 copying one inserted in 1622. To its right is a flat buttress with a statue of Justice on the top and a cartouche with Yarmouth's coat of arms (3 Royal lions dimidiated with herring tails) and the name of the Mayor in 1781, William Fisher. Right again is a forebuilding added c1250 in front of a blocked arch of c1150. The forebuilding has a staircase rising to the entrance door of the first-floor hall. It has a pointed arched grille opened in 1883 and a corbel table of trefoiled machicolations beneath a pair of arched unglazed cinquefoiled windows. The main hall is lit through two 2-light Geometric windows with encircled quatrefoils. They are of 1883 replacing 2 wide transomed casements. To the extreme right is an added C14 or C15 bay lit through 2 slit vents and a C20 2-light leaded casement. INTERIOR: the first-floor hall is entered through a pointed arched doorway with 2 orders of colonnettes with dog-tooth decoration in the jambs. The hall has a further doorway leading to the former south-west wing and 2 window embrasures. Crown-post roof of 1960. The basement is divided into 2 rooms. The north room has 4 detention cells protected by an iron screen of circular-section verticals. 4 oak cell doors with heavy gate latches. The cells are oak-lined and each has an air vent in its barrel vault. The cells were proposed in 1796 and erected soon after. The added north bay has the remains of a winder staircase. (Listed Building report)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER       Listing   I. O. E.
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:06

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact