Clippesby is believed to have Viking origins (indicated by the “by” ending to its name). At that time the settlement was bordered by a saltwater lagoon that existed before the ‘sandspit’, where Great Yarmouth now stands, formed, to block the entrance to the North Sea. Subsequent drainage by windpumps created rich agricultural land upon which the settlement was largely dependent until recent years. There is an entry for Clippesby in the 1086 Domesday Book where it is recorded as Clepesbei.
Clippesby Hall has had two incarnations over its history. The first Hall appears to date from 1585 (although it is recorded in the reign of Henry II – as far back as 1154–1189). It was most notably occupied by Sir Clipesby Crewe, Chief Justice of England and first Recorder of Great Yarmouth. The Old Hall subsequently became a farm and is today known as “Old Hall Farm”.
The current Hall, on this site today, was formerly known as Clippesby House. This second Hall and estate was first owned by the Muskett family, and it is that family’s coat of arms and crest which adorns the current entrance and is part of our logo today.
The Muskett family lineage is recorded in ‘A Genealogical and Heraldic History of The Commoners of Great Britain & Ireland’, by John Burke Esq. published in 1835.
Henry Muskett, of Henry & Emily referred to above, was the local parish Rector of St Peter’s Church, Clippesby, between 1860 and 1897 and is pictured on the Church’s excellent website.
The church of Clippesby St Peter is one of 124 existing round-tower churches in Norfolk. St. Peter’s is adjacent to Clippesby Hall. In an artistic link the church was the subject of a painting by John Sell Cotman. Another distinction is a fine Arts and Crafts style stained glass window “Suffer little children”, the first professional commission by M. E. Aldrich Rope.
The building is thought to date from Saxon times. Curiously, however, there is no mention of it in the Domesday Book although the round tower is certainly of Saxon construction as is a small (now sealed) window, whereas the North doorway with its characteristic zig-zag moulding is Norman. The tower was augmented with an octagonal bell tower in the early 1900s. A tiny mass dial (2″ across) is located in the porch and dates from c.1400.
The Last Century…
In 1909 the hall was purchased from the Muskett’s by the artist Peregrine Feeney and his wife Emily. She was the sister-in-law of the noted pre-raphaelite painter John William Waterhouse who became a regular visitor and painted the hall on at least one occasion.
Originally the Hall had two storeys but following its use by the army in World War II the upper floor fell into disrepair and was demolished after severe storms shortly thereafter.
The hall was then purchased by the McCarthy family, owners of East Anglia’s leading supplier of quality seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables from local farms and around the world.Founded by Thomas McCarthy, the company began as a fruit and vegetable stall on London’s Drury Lane in 1877. The family took their summer holidays in Great Yarmouth and in 1903 Thomas’ son Daniel opened a stall in its bustling market place before joining the Navy during the First World War, leaving his son Dan to run the stall with his mother. The pair continued to grow the business and formed McCarthy’s as a limited company on 5th May 1939.
McCarthy’s began supplying the Royal Household in the late 60s, granted the Royal Warrant for HM The Queen in 1970, and overseeing the quality of every item delivered when the Royal Family visited Norfolk, including HM The Queen’s annual residencies at Sandringham House.
McCarthys continues to supply the Royal Households to this day, at one point in time holding three separate warrants to HM The Queen, HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and HRH The Prince of Wales (the latter two both granted in 1990).
Since the war the estate has been used as a market garden and a garden centre, prior to becoming the holiday park it is today. Around the park you will see a number of large flower pots purchased from that time which bear the crest of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, with three lions adjoined to three herrings.
The Hall itself is still the family home of a descendant of the McCarthy family, John Lindsay, a keen gardener, and his wife Sue, a keen baker.