HISTORY - The Patteson Family


A brief history, and an I-Spy walk around the estate to spot various things of interest
compiled for us by Bridget Eade 

Hautbois appears in the Doomsday Book as HOBUIST. It had the assets of: one plough team, half a mill, 4 acres of meadow

history4.jpgAfter 1066 a Freeman called HERMAN held the land from the Abbot of St Benedicts - his son William took the name of "de Alto Bosco" - a grand interpretation of the name HAUTBOIS meaning TUSSOCKY GRASS. William was able to obtain half of Gt Hautbois from the monastery (payment was ½ of a knight's fee) as well as owning Little Hautbois to the west.

One-upmanship meant that William's descendant Peter paid another ½ a Knight's fee and in 1235 founded a hospital at the head of the river causeway in Coltishall.

Under Edward 1, Walter de Alto Bosco died childless so his 2 sisters released all his land to the Abbot of St Benedicts. As the same time (about 1313) Sir Robert Bayard convertedhistory5.jpg his Manor House at Hautbois into a castle.

Go to the ruined church in Hautbois, stand at the south door and look towards the river and slightly to the right and you may be able to make out the earthbanks forming the castle yard, and a few remaining small mounds of the castle. Depending on the weather, the grass can be a different shade in the shape of the castle walls.



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This is now in ruins but was dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

There must have been an earlier Church as the font (now in the newer Hautbois church) would indicate Saxon or early Norman. The most famous feature of the church was an image of St Theobald who was alleged to work miracles and drew pilgrims from all over the east of England.

history9.jpg In the 1860s the ruinous state of the church was so bad that only the remains of the nave walls, the West tower and chancel remained, so it was abandoned as a place of worship.

A simple headstone commemorating Miss Beth and Miss Philippa Patteson mark their graves in the ruined nave.

After Hautbois House had been passed to Anglia Region of Guides a tradition was begun - that of putting spring flowers - snowdrops, primroses, etc on the sisters' graves on Thinking Day (February 22nd) each year. Sadly the tradition has lapsed.

- Could it be revived despite the rush of the 21st century?


In 1839 Hautbois church was joined with that of Coltishall.

In 1859 the Revd John Girling became Rector of both parishes. He held a meeting to discuss whether to rebuild the old church or build a new one. It was decided to build a new one on glebe land close to the road, at a cost of £1,230 - a large sum of money mostly provided by the Rector. The church was dedicated to The Holy Trinity in 1864.

On the north wall of the nave, on beautiful wood, is a memorial to Miss Beth. It was dedicated in 1987 when many Guiding friends joined in Thanksgiving for the life of the Patteson sisters. There is also a memorial tablet to Mrs Dorothy Patteson on the north side of the choir - the organ having been restored in her memory.

John Patteson (Beth and Philippa's brother) has a memorial on the south wall of the choir - the roof was restored in his memory.

At the Thanksgiving Service a considerable number of Brownie, Guide, Ranger, Young Leader and Anglia Region kneelers were presented to the church and dedicated. They are a unique collection and much appreciated by all who attend the church.


This house began life as a dignified Victoria Rectory set in over 20 acres of garden, meadows and woodland.

patteson2.jpg The original building was ordered by the Revd Girling in the late 1880s. An arrival at Hautbois, Girling was a wealthy young man of 28 who had married Francia Wright, daughter of a silk manufacturer and a Director of Norwich Union in 1852. Girling's wife was quite unlike her very active, evangelical husband. He was enthusiastic about visiting all his parishioners and having a "mardle". Frances was aloof and withdrawn and although bearing 13 children and living until she was 98, she considered herself an invalid! One of her daughter's became a member of 1st Coltishall Guides and lived until her nineties - she was buried in 2004.

Girling was very conscious of the severe unemployment in the 1860s rural Norfolk, due to agricultural depression. He tried to educate the villagers to read and write and opened a school in a room now found between Gardeners Cottage (home of the neighbours) and Lodge Cottage (home of GHH Manager). The room was for many years the meeting place for 1st Coltishall Guides.

patteson3.jpg Close to The Rectory were deposits of marl, so gangs of men were employed by Girling to dig this out, whilst others constructed "The Cut" leading from the river towards the marl workings. Lime kilns were built on the meadow and the finished lime was taken by barges to the River Bure and via the Broads to all parts of Norfolk. Some reached Gt Yarmouth where it was used to make bricks. This type of work was of great benefit as it gave help to the many unemployed villagers who were no longer able to work in the 7 breweries in the village - so many had closed.

The result of all these excavations is today's Lime Pits site where the tunnels can still be found although the entrance is blocked and all is covered in ivy.

The tunnels go across the Red Land at the back of Patteson Lodge and across to the Railway Tavern on the North Walsham Road. This pub now has a concave area around the tunnel exits which forms a nice amphitheatre for bands and singing.

Early in the 1900s Revd Girling sold Great Hautbois House to Frank Patteson. This was done without the authority of the church authorities and since it was built on glebe land, Girling was ordered to build another Rectory to replace the one he had sold. This is in Rectory Road, Coltishall.


history10.jpg The history of the Pattesons can be traced to before 1660. Many family members had interest in brewing although later generations had connections with Norwich and became Sheriff, Mayors and Aldermen.
Many commemorative plaques are in St Peter Mancroft Church in the city. When it was fashionable to make a "grand tour" of Europe, John Patteson acquired a superb collection of paintings - many by Dutch and Flemish painters. Some of them were hung in Gt Hautbois House. When Beth and Philippa died the valuable collection was given to the City of Norwich.

A portrait of John Patteson is in St Andrews Hall and one of John Staniforth Patteson commanding part of the Norfolk Regiment on Mousehold Hill, can be found in the Regimental Museum in Norwich.

Frank Patteson, who bought Gt Hautbois House was son of Canon Patteson of Thorpe who had also spent some time in Suffolk where Philippa and John were born.

Frank had pursued various business interests in India and before moving home to England in 1901 had acquired many treasures from that country.

While Gt Hautbois House was being altered to his specification, the family lived in The Old School House - opposite the church in Coltishall.

You are able to see the improvements before too much of today's building changes it all - the large kitchen and stone shelved pantry and the laundry. The photographic dark room is by the toilets and showers at the back end of the 1st floor.

In the cellar are the remains of the wine store and accessed to a fair sized well which was pumped daily to provide water for the kitchen. The pump connects from the cellar to the laundry.

petteson1.jpg In the main part of the house is the night nursery with a doorway (now blocked) and steps leading to the day nursery which later became the schoolroom - look for the large hooks on the ceiling which may have held a swing for the children

Look also at the frieze around the wall - now quite rare. It is either Dutch or Belgian and shows flocks of geese and cattle and carts of food going to market being sold, and a different trail of animals bearing goods walking back home.

As Frank Patteson was frequently away from home on business, Mrs Patteson became the driving force. The children were attended by housemaids, serving maids, parlour maid and nanny.

Beth was educated at St Felix School, Southoold and would liked to have been a teacher. But Mother said ‘No'.

Before John became a teacher he taught Beth and Phillippa how to row and sail on the Cut and the River Bure.

Philippa had been unwell and had developed a great loss of vision at the age of 9. However, she was able to see light and dark but all else was a blur. This did not deter her from joining in as many activities as possible.

Mrs Patteson taught the children botany and horticulture in a garden filled with many rare plants and shrubs. Many came from Asia.

Can you find the Judas tree on the right of the main field? What about the lilies at the road end of Patteson Lodge drive? How about the many strains of cyclamen? Many of the plants and flowers are immortalised on sets of chinaware and finger plates on doors. After Mrs Patteson's death these were given to distant family and friends.

As a lady of good social standing in the village, Dorothy Patteson was approached by "the powers that be" to be a District Commissioner. She agreed as an interest for Philippa she started the Coltishall Guide Company.

Beth was allowed to join the Guides at a much earlier age so that she could help Philippa. Both the girls looked smart in their light neckerchiefs, large hats and staves. Whistle signals were the usual method of giving instructions to Scouts and Guides and soon the girls were very proficient. They had a whistle between them so Philippa never became separated from the group and could maintain her independence. The whistle was given to a well known Guide in the 1980s and remains carefully labelled and preserved.

When the 2nd World War came, John was away teaching - Beth and Philippa felt that they should make their contribution to the war effort. Philippa coped with Coltishall Guides as they met in the school room in the grounds - She also started the Coltishall Brownies. Going further afield, Philippa took over Wroxham Guides. She was possibly driven by pony and trap and later the Handyman George Humm may have driven her to the weekly meetings.

As often as possible the Guides and Brownies met out of doors and learned much of the ever popular nature study as well as sewing and knitting and how to write letters. Many of these skills were not too familiar with the poorer local girls who thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Beth joined the Services as a V.A.D. during the war but on her return in 1945 resumed Guiding activities.

history8.jpg At the top of Gt Hautbois House (near Suffolk bedroom) there is a small window that opens on to the roof top. Here Beth would climb out and use semaphore flags to signal to the Guides down at the Cut. Woe betide them if they could not reply correctly!

To ensure that Guides were of a sufficiently high calibre to warrant a 1st Class Badge, they were "interviewed" by their Commissioner and Guider and various tasks were set. By now Beth was the local Commissioner and terrified the life out of these potential 1st Class girls. Not only had they to excel in nature, firelighting and semaphore. They also had to use their initiative to get a casualty out of a supposedly burning room! Surreptitiously Beth would lock the Guide in the bedroom (Suffolk room) and then yell loudly ‘FIRE' The terrified Guide could not escape so pulled the sheets off the beds. She would knot them to the leg of a bed before making as long a ‘rope' as possible which was knotted at intervals. The rope was slung out of the window and the now more than terrified Guide climbed onto the windowsill before letting herself down to the ground - Good job Health and Safety Rules were not around then - or fussy parents!

If a Guide could pass muster with Beth and Philippa they went on to become Leaders and Trainers. Several of the Guides concerned are still in the Trefoil Guild or live in the village and have fond memories of days gone by.

Several times, Olave Baden-Powell was a visitor to Hautbois House so no doubt the ladies discussed Guiding tests and procedures and sometimes felt that Guides were not what they used to be!

Philippa was a very experienced Guide but her forte was First Aid. During the war she worked closely with the Red Cross. Again the room at the top of the house was utilized - this time as a Training room for Guides and Red Cross ladies. The ladies learned bed-making and bandaging all parts of the body, tying up slings, and making "invalid diets" of calf's foot jelly and blancmange. They made collections for "medical comforts" and helped teach the Guides how to care for young children whose fathers and brothers were away at war and whose mother was probably working as part of the war effort too. Its amazing what you can do with scraps of paper and cardboard to amuse young children.

Mrs Patteson died in 1954 and John died of leukaemia in 1960. This left Beth and Philippa alone in the house with just daily help and the ever vigilant George Humm. George lived in Gardener's Cottage at the end of the drive. He was chauffeur, gardener and handyman, chicken keeper, decorator and helper of all the Guides who camped at Hautbois. He would ensure that over the winter he would collect enough fallen tree branches and sticks to keep the campsite wood piles stacked high. He maintained the trekcart and helped load it with tents and other equipment and push it to whichever campsite. In windy weather he would help pitch the tents - often bell tents and would always encourage the Guides to "do their best". George was a great character - he always had a will of his own and would frequently take the family dogs for a walk at lunchtime. Fondly it was thought that they all went on a healthy brisk walk - which they did - but only as far as the local pub for a swift pint before coming slowly back home and nobody was any the wiser.

Beth and Philippa did not see the need to marry and lived happily in Hautbois House. Each had a sitting room and bedroom. Philippa's bedroom was in the current Norfolk room and her sitting room was next door. If you look out of the window you will find a healthy Bankson Rose growing up to the windowsill. In bloom it's a beautiful shade of pale yellow and has no thorns - ideal for someone who is blind.

In 1957 when 4 World Camps were organised, Beth was a Commonwealth Camp Adviser and became Assistant Director of the camp held in Windsor Great Park. This huge international camp was very ably hosted by Beth who did a marvellous job welcoming visitors and fostering international goodwill.

From her travels - especially to the Philippines, Beth brought back many gifts of local crafts made by the Guides - these are now in the Norfolk Guide Archives.

Beth and Philippa are often referred to by their camp names - BADGER and BEAVER - their names live on in the village and Guiding circles and they are remembered with gratitude for the gift of Gt Hautbois House to Anglia Region Guides as a Training Centre and to Norfolk Guides the large field opposite on which was built Patteson Lodge in 1981 and opened in 1982. Badger and Beaver are the names given to the two large dormitories.

Although you may disappear, the Patteson family spirit lives on - in the autumn and winter afternoons as the sun sets, the two sisters walk along the verandah at Patteson Lodge - their long skirts rustling as they go. Their aunt still comes across the shrubbery and field as she goes from her work as a governess to the local doctor's children - to visit her sister Dorothy at Hautbois House. She, too, is still in a long black silk dress and button boots.

They bring with them a sense of peace and happiness - all is well - safely rest.

For a shorter history of the house see http://www.greathautboishouse.org.uk/PottedHistory.htm