Manor Farm, Colby is a particularly fine late 17th century farmhouse with a classic symmetrical front elevation incorporating a castellated central bay. The rear elevation is in brick and flint and forms two sides of a quadrangle; the remaining sides include a stunning Dutch gabled thatched barn and a range of mellow red brick farm buildings.
The current owners acquired the house in 1998 and have undertaken a programme of systematic restoration which has been carried out to the highest standard. The same is true of the extensive range of outbuildings which have also been carefully restored and in particular, the main barn which was re-roofed with locally sourced 'Horsey' sedge and reed from Ranworth.
The house is entered through the central castellated porch to the hall with its Georgian staircase rising to the first floor. The two formal reception rooms lie either side of the hall, both with distinctive chimney pieces, hardwood floors and shuttered sash windows. To the rear of these two rooms is the farmhouse kitchen with its hand made cupboards and four oven AGA. A hallway flanked by the boot room and laundry room, leads into the morning room, a delightful library and a study. Beyond is the music/garden room with its Tudor style fireplace and exposed roof timbers, and a ground floor bedroom suite. On the first floor there are five additional bedrooms, two of which command charming views across the grazing meadows. The master bedroom includes a dressing room and there are two family bathrooms. A seventh bedroom suite is approached by a staircase from the hallway next to the library.
Manor Farm was surveyed and documented by Susannah Wade Martins from the University of East Anglia. Her results showed that at one time the farm was in the possession of the Gunton Estate but its origins are much earlier than this ownership. The barn is believed to date from around 1690 and the latest additions to the farm constructed in 1836.
The dutch gable end of the barn has a 'high status' brick wall which consists of glazed black bricks interspersed among the red. The stables were built in about 1800 and the horse pond is thought to also date from the 17th century.
Manor Farm is approached from the west by a long drive lined by an avenue of trees including lime, oak and poplar. The drive finishes in a large gravelled sweep to the front and east of the house.
The house sits in an elevated position overlooking meadows and woodland. Immediately surrounding the house there are extensive formal gardens largely laid to lawn with mature hedges and topiary of yew, box hornbeam and beech.
To the south of the house there is a further extensive area of formal garden with yew and box hedging and well stocked mixed herbaceous beds. A mixed orchard and nut walk is under planted with spring bulbs. To the northeast there is an area of potager or kitchen garden with box edged beds all enclosed or sheltered by mature hedging of beech, hornbeam and holly.
To the west of the house there is a large area of courtyard garden with a central paved terrace for bordered by lawns and box hedging and situated between the farmhouse and the main barn. To the south of the main barn there is a large mixed orchard fringed by flowering cherries.
These are situated to the west of the house and comprise substantial main Dutch gabled barn and stables divided into three loose boxes with a tack and feed room and three cart bays providing open fronted garaging. There are also some purpose-built kennels and a run. A separate drive leads off the main drive giving access to the farm buildings to the west. The original horse pond is situated to the north of the barn fringed by mature trees including horse chestnut and weeping willow and there is a fenced paddock situated to the west of the main barn.
The house overlooks grazing meadows which extend from the house to the east. These lead onto further grazing meadows and woodland and a lake surrounded by mixed broad leafed woodland. In all the land extends to 25 acres (est).