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Published: 21 November 2020

By Andy Ross

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The rats who did a good turn

A moated brick hall in Norfolk is currently being restored with some surprising finds along the way. 

Oxburgh Hall was built in 1482 and was saved from demolition in the 1950s. It is now owned by the National Trust. During the restoration and the first national lockdown, the attics were excavated and some exciting items were discovered: a Kynges Psalmes from 1569, and a piece of a late 15th-century illuminated manuscript. As the family who built and lived in the hall were Catholic, it is supposed that the pieces were secreted away for use in the Mass. Silk, velvet, leather and satin were recovered from a rat's nest, along with tiny fragments with musical notation on them. These have provided a unique and valuable insight into the history of this fascinating property.