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Hidden history: 'Secret Jacobite' revealed amid £6m restoration of Oxburgh Hall

Oxburgh Hall and, right, Sir Henry Arundell Bedingfeld. Credit: ITV News Anglia

It's admired as a hidden gem with a rich history - but now a new chapter is being written in the story of Oxburgh Hall in West Norfolk.

The grand country house, owned by the Bedingfeld family for 500 years, is undergoing a £6m restoration, which will take two years to complete.

  • Click below for a full report from ITV News Anglia's Rob Setchell.

Two years ago, one of the 15th century building's windows collapsed.

What began as a repair project costing thousands turned into one of the biggest conservation projects launched by the National Trust.

It includes rebuilding the 27 ornate chimneys from the original Victorian brick moulds, replacing thousands of tiles and lifting up centuries-old floorboards.

The restoration project will take around two years to complete. Credit: Bluesky UAV

"No-one ever forgets their first sight of Oxburgh. You come through that first gate, it opens up and there's this incredible gem."

– Russell Clement, General Manager

The work will secure Oxburgh's future and offer a new way to reflect on its past.

The trust is offering what it calls a new "visitor experience", opening up the house to tell the story of the Bedingfeld family.

It will document the ups and downs of their 500 years here and their unshakeable Catholic faith which saw them fall in and out of royal favour.

House and Collections Manager Lynsey Coombs said it will be "Oxburgh as you've never really seen before".

"We're trying to tell some of those key stories that affected the Bedingfeld family but are kind of reflected in narratives of British history. We're hoping it will give people a chance to get to know the Bedingfelds a bit better."

– Lynsey Coombs, House and Collections Manager

New research commissioned by the National Trust has also uncovered the story of a secret Jacobite at Oxburgh Hall.

It reveals the owner of the house, Sir Henry Arundell Bedingfeld, was likely to have been part of a rebellion to overthrow the Hanoverian King George II.

Clues to his secret allegiance were engraved in a drinking glass, which has now returned to Oxburgh Hall and will go on display more than 100 years after it was last seen there.

Clues to the 'secret' Jacobite's allegiance were engraved in a drinking glass. Credit: ITV News Anglia