Ringland Lane, Costessey

POST CARD dated1907. At that time it was still called Beehive Cottage.

POST CARD dated1907. At that time it was still called Beehive Cottage.

Beehive Lodgeis the last house in Costessey before the parish boundary on the Ringland Lane. It is an octagonal building of a type that was popular two hundred years ago, with ‘Gothick’ windows. The first reference I am aware of to the building, then known as Beehive Cottage, is from 1850 when the residents were called as witnesses in a court case. The house is just across the road from the Wensum, the river level of which they maintained had been consistently higher since Taverham mill had been producing paper for The Times.

At some time it changed its name to Beehive Lodge, which is how it is known today. There is an interesting story that I heard from Fred Barnes who I have mentioned in connection with Old Costessey Post Office. It involves Alfred Munnings from the days when he frequented the area, painting his gypsy friends who lived (on and off, being of course travelling people) in Costessey. One of these was Jimmy Drake. A later member of the family was “Bluey” Drake, of whom I have some tales from Barney Welch, the Sub-postmaster, who was a friend and companion of his. Perhaps I will return to these later, but my subject today is Beehive Lodge.

Anyway, the story as related to me by Fred concerns Alfred Munnings walking down Ringland Lane on his way to paint Ringland Hills. On the way he passed the gateposts of Beehive Lodge, which in those days were octagonal white painted ones to match the octagonal cottage. Seeing a tempting surface he quickly sketched a view on the gatepost. What was it of? Who knows? It has been irretrievably lost, painted over, pulled up and burnt. The gatepost is certainly not there any more; but it makes a good story.

Here is a postscript to the history of Beehive Lodge. About twenty years ago it became a prize in a competition run by a national newspaper. It was for sale at the time and became a commodity in the circulation wars of the Daily Mail and Daily Express. It appears as “Little Snowdrop” Cottage in the Lilliput Lane Series of 2005 as this caption makes clear:” Little Snowdrop, Norfolk, East Anglia Height: 5.5cm. Situated in a lane shared with another estate cottage, this beehive lodge with gothic windows was built very early in the nineteenth century and marks the western edge of Costessey’s village boundary”.




5 responses

  1. Roger & Joy Booth | Reply

    Hi there
    We currently live @ Beehive Lodge and have some other interesting stories
    Like ” Ringland Lane used to be known as Black Lane and the Woodland behind the house is known as Blackhill woods. The rumour as told by Fred Barns was that the woods were the burial site for the city of Norwich for the Black death. I also have a different understanding ref Alfred Munnings in that he painted one of the gypsy horses on the gate post to say a thank you for using the river bank opposite i one of his paintings!
    I should like to discuss this and other stories with you
    Roger Booth
    01603 742054


  2. I think my great great great grandfather lived here in the 1820s ?
    His name was Charles Spaul and he was a woodman.


    1. Hi Anne
      Thanks for posting your comments. I am writing the history of the House and very interested in finding out anything about people who lived here.
      I have some Photo’s but theearliest is the one with the Donkey that it on Joe Mason’s blog.
      Do you have further information about your Charles Spaul and his relatives and next generations that you can share with me
      Looking forward to hearing from you
      Kindest Regards
      Roger Booth


    2. Hi Anne
      I have a copy of the 1841 Census which shows Charles Spaul living on Cossey Park
      I will send you a copy if you let me have your e-mail address
      Kindest Regards
      Roger Booth
      01603 742054


  3. 1861 Census: RG9/1221 fol. 25 p. 10

    Address: Bee-Hive Lodge, Costessey

    Charles Spaul, Head, married, 61, Labourer or Woodman [sic], born Norfolk, Cossey
    Hannah Spaul, wife, married, 63,, born Norfolk, Norwich St Juliam [sic]

    This is all that I have Roger – hope it helps.


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