Glo­ri­ous guildhall

We take a peek inside a mag­nif­i­cent home in Dereham


WHEN I ar­rived at Jo­ce­lyn and Philip’s home in the cen­tre of Dereham I was struck by how quiet it was; there was not a sound. Equally stun­ning were the walled court­yard en­trance, en­tered through a door in a wall from its sur­round­ings and the ex­ten­sive rear garden, bor­dered by ma­ture trees. The feel was far more coun­try house than town cen­tre en­vi­ron­ment, a hid­den gem.

“Our orig­i­nal in­ten­tion,” re­calls Jo­ce­lyn, “in mov­ing to Norfolk was to find a place in Nor­wich. I had known the county for years as my god­son and par­ents have a sec­ond home in Thorn­ham. I thought when I re­tire this is the place for me. We chose Nor­wich as I am used to town liv­ing – call it my Lon­don genes – so we viewed seven prop­er­ties. It was our fi­nal view­ing, which we did one morn­ing at 7.30am, know­ing noth­ing about the town. Im­me­di­ately on walk­ing in and see­ing the beau­ti­ful kitchen with be­spoke units over­look­ing the court­yard to the par­ish church that to­tally clinched it, but there was more.”

“Yes,” adds Phil, “as Mathew Green, the de­vel­oper, led us through to the rear of the house where there are three very siz­able re­cep­tion rooms. As we looked out we could not be­lieve the won­der­ful gar­dens and trees, right here in cen­tre of town. So we made a cash of­fer that day. We could move quickly, so deal done and now we have

lived here for five years. We were blown away by the fan­tas­tic space, the lay­out, the modern in­te­rior in a pe­riod build­ing.”

Their home forms a ma­jor sec­tion of the old Guildhall, which is Grade II listed. Built in 1829 for the Barton fam­ily as their home, it later was bought by lo­cal gov­ern­ment and be­came Dereham Guildhall and used, among other things, for wed­dings. In 2001 Greens De­vel­op­ments bought it. Sub­se­quently Mr Green se­nior died and it was his son Mathew who fi­nally de­vel­oped the build­ing into four town­houses, of which Jo­ce­lyn and Phil’s is the big­gest at 4,500 square feet. It in­cludes the sec­tion which was once the Or­angery.

Jo­ce­lyn, born in Min­ster in Kent to a Dutch mum and English fa­ther, lived her early years at Ni­jmegen in Hol­land, be­fore re­turn­ing to the UK age 11 to live at Goffs Oak in Hert­ford­shire, her fa­ther be­ing a di­rec­tor at Tesco.

“He re­tired early,” ex­plains Jo­ce­lyn, “en­abling him to be­come an an­tique dealer spe­cial­is­ing in English and Dutch clocks. He has had a shop in the Por­to­bello Road for years, hence my Lon­don genes! Af­ter school, I had the op­por­tu­nity to en­roll as an Eurobond trader and be­came fully fledged, one of the youngest at 22, work­ing for the In­dus­trial Bank of Ja­pan.

“I was ac­tu­ally trad­ing through Black

Oc­to­ber. I was later in­vited to work for Can­tor Fitzger­ald both in Lon­don and Am­s­ter­dam.

“How­ever in my early 30s, I be­came burnt out, due to too much trav­el­ing and stress. I think we needed the 90s and the noughties as a time to re­assess our­selves.”

Af­ter a pe­riod recharg­ing her bat­ter­ies, Jo­ce­lyn opened an up-mar­ket clothes shop in Hitchin, helped by her dad. Due to the orig­i­nal stress, she had been very in­ter­ested in al­ter­na­tive medicine, aro­mather­apy and holis­tic prac­tices, so af­ter four years with the clothes shop, she changed di­rec­tion, man­ag­ing an aro­mather­apy clinic for a friend, be­fore be­com­ing a rep for Lam­berts Health Care, based in Tun­bridge Wells, spe­cial­is­ing in nutri­tion and health sup­ple­ments. She now cov­ers, Suffolk, Norfolk, Es­sex and bits of north west Lon­don.

Phil and Jo­ce­lyn had known each other when she was 22 for a short time. How­ever, years later and both sin­gle, he got in touch with her out of the blue and the rest is his­tory. Phil, who was brought up in Chelms­ford, be­came an in­sur­ance bro­ker for five years af­ter leav­ing school, but for most of his life he has been in the mo­tor trade in sales.

When they both moved in 2011, he joined the Mercedes com­mer­cials deal­er­ship at Nor­wich air­port as a sales ex­ec­u­tive. His dad, Robert Hut­son, is an ar­chi­tect who has de­signed sev­eral pieces of fur­ni­ture for the house in­clud­ing the cof­fee ta­bles in the TV room and the din­ing ta­ble in the garden room. Phil has al­ways loved modern; Jo­ce­lyn, like her par­ents, likes pe­riod style, but this prop­erty com­bines the best of both worlds.

“With­out doubt,” ex­plains Jo­ce­lyn, “I love the kitchen best. It’s so so­cia­ble and I en­joy do­ing din­ner par­ties for friends and fam­ily; love it when all my girl­friends come up to stay. We go to Nor­wich shop­ping in the day, on the Num­ber 8 bus – two favourites are Scar­let ladies wear and Ber­rys & Grey In­te­ri­ors.

“Then cock­tails in the even­ing in the garden room and a good meal, which I cook. I have al­ways en­joyed cook­ing and host­ing. Fab­u­lous!

“I have two cats, Billy Bob who is four, a Sa­van­nah, and Wil­low, a res­cue mog­gie who is two, who are both very dear to me and I adore them. When we can we get up to the beach at Holkham; so beau­ti­ful, and dif­fer­ent – you can­not be­lieve you are there.”

So what about walks, I ask? “As I get lots of ex­er­cise on the golf course ev­ery Sun­day morn­ing,” replies Phil, “play­ing at both Dereham and Sprow­ston, we are not nat­u­ral ram­blers. So as Jo­ce­lyn men­tioned, Holkham Beach and then lunch at the Vic­to­ria, an­other favourite be­ing The Duck at Stan­hoe.

“We love the Norfolk beaches, both north and east, but other than that, my walk­ing is around Waitrose at Swaffham!” adds Jo­ce­lyn, gig­gling.

“Mak­ing the de­ci­sion to move to Norfolk has been a breath of fresh air. Look­ing back the de­ci­sion to come to Dereham, to this lovely prop­erty, was so much bet­ter than even ex­pected. As we are based more or less in the cen­tre of Norfolk, ev­ery­thing is to hand; city, coast, coun­try­side, plus the con­ve­nience of the town. Fan­tas­tic choice all round!”

Draw­ing Room: Sofa by Mul­berry, 0207 2259166. Greek icons bought in Mykonos, clock from fa­ther’s shop

Mas­ter bed­room: Bed from Hyp­nos from Bak­ers & Larn­ers in Holt, 01263 712244. Chest of draw­ers and side ta­bles from Ikea, rug from Raven­ing­ham Car­pets, lamps from John Lewis

Guest bed­room: Bed, all fur­ni­ture and chan­de­lier from Laura Ash­ley

TV room: Cof­fee ta­bles de­signed by Robert Hut­son; so­fas from Next, 0333 0055006. Glass bowls from Lang­ham Glass, 01328 863500. Clock on win­dow sill from Snape Malt­ings’ home shop, 01728 688303

Below: At­tic bed­room

Kitchen: Sim­i­lar units from Kitchens Etc. 01328 823111. Ta­ble and chairs from Heath­field An­tiques, Holt, 01263 711609. Tiles from Eastern Glazed Ce­ram­ics, 01603 775300. Dutch farm­house clock from Jo­ce­lyn’s fa­ther’s shop in the Por­to­bello Road

EX­TE­RIOR: The court­yard ex­te­rior was con­verted by Green De­vel­op­ments 2009/10

As it was, built for the Barton fam­ily in 1829

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