Sprowston Court

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Sprowston Court (Wroxham Road)

On any given day hundreds of people pass by Sprowston Court unaware of its existence. It is in fact situated between Cannerby Lane and Rosemary Road on Wroxham Road down an unmade road that is surrounded by tall trees. Now a grade 2 listed building, the house was designed by a prominent architect of his day namely Oswald Partridge Milne 1881-1968 for William Thomas Hartcup Esq. 1848-1911, the contractor for the build was Thomas Gill and Son of 25 Rupert Street Norwich. The site of the grounds and house were originally just a field of some 15 acres bordered by a spinney known as Cannerby`s Plantation that faced onto Wroxham Road, there were none of the houses now found on that road in existence then, they came at a later date after the plantation was cleared. Cost did not appear to be an issue as nothing was spared in the way of materials and finish to the property which was to be built in a classic Georgian style. Perhaps locally made bricks were deemed to be inferior by Mr. Milne the architect so had had bricks of his liking imported from Antwerp in Belgium. It is not known exactly what year the house was constructed, Mr. Hartcup the original owner was listed as living in Old Catton in 1908 and was certainly residing at Sprowston Court in 1911, so the building was completed sometime between those two dates. The house itself comprised of some 21 rooms consisting of outer and inner halls, three reception rooms, a billiard room, 13 bed and dressing rooms, three bathrooms plus box rooms and domestic rooms. There were ornate fireplaces as well as intricate covings and mouldings. A moulding featuring the family crest is also displayed over the main entrance to the house. Other benefits were modern drainage and water supply, acetylene gas and central heating. Five staff were employed within the house for the needs of the owners. Outside were a tennis court, lawns, sunken gardens, an orchard and kitchen garden, paddocks and woodland. There were also two flint cottages to house the gardener and coachman, these are now number 6 and 8 Cannerby Lane. There was also a U shaped stable block that has since been converted into a house, this is now number 10 Cannerby Lane, there is a gated entrance to the current property that was most likely the main entry point to the estate in the past.

Mr. William Thomas Hartcup Esq.1848-1911 for whom the house was built was a solicitor following in the family tradition of that profession he was born at Ditchingham Lodge on 30 March 1848. He married Florence M Coles 1853-1934 in 1877 together they had seven children. Mr. Hartcup did not spend very long in his new home as he passed away on 27 Nov 1911 at the age of 63 years, he was buried at St. Mary and Margaret Sprowston. His distinctive grave consisting of a large stone cross surrounded by metal railings can be found in the old part of the churchyard there. His widow Florence remained living in the house for several more years, the last record found of her being there was in 1929 after which she returned to Somerset the county of her birth where she passed away in 1934.

Sprowston Court and its estate then appears to have been sold to Mr. Percy Crotch a builder. Rosemary Road was then created and developed around the edge of the grounds, it is suggested the road was named after his daughter Rosemary born in 1926. At some time Sprowston Court was sub divided to become three separate dwellings namely numbers 88, 90 and 92 Wroxham Road which is the way it remains to this day.