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Hill House

This building stood on the rising ground opposite Church Farm and was pulled down when the main road past the Station Road crossroads was straightened in 1969. There are no architectural details available. The sketch is by Frances Norgate in 1825.

John Browne of Hill House took an active part in civic affairs in the city of Norwich. He was an ironmonger, iron founder and dealer in paints in the city, but had a country house in Hethersett where "his mode of life was different". He was a country gentleman and county magistrate and was mayor of Norwich in 1798. He probably moved with his family to Hethersett in 1786 at the age of 39 and took an interest in gardening matters. Not only did he grow apples in his orchard but also grew interesting trees, according to James Grigor, the writer of The Eastern Arboretum of 1841. John had died by the time Grigor visited the house but the writer notes that "the gardens of the Miss Brownes are especially worthy of notice, as a beautifully kept place, abounding in sylvan ornaments which have gained for it a name throughout England. "Here is the original willow, Salix alba caerulea, from which all the others in the county have been propagated". This particular tree was planted by John Browne in 1786 and was, after just fifty five years, 70 feet tall. Today this willow is known as the cricket-bat willow and it is interesting to speculate that this planting by John Browne may have been the start of the cultivation of the species for cricket bat manufacture.

Hill House, the Browne family home for many years, was occupied from 1924 until 1933 by the Backs, and was an hotel in the late 1930's.

The Eastern Arboretum was first issued in shilling bi-monthly parts from 1 June 1840 and was described as "a new botanical work on the trees of Norfolk" written by James Grigor and illustrated by T. Ninham, an artist of the Norwich School.