Town’s 16th century landmark building bought prior to auction

Dolphin House in Diss is set to be sold at auction. Picture: Simon Parkin

Dolphin House in Diss is set to be sold at auction. Picture: Simon Parkin - Credit: Simon Parkin

A landmark former merchant house and pub that is one of the most iconic buildings in Diss has been sold prior to coming up at auction.

Dolphin House in Diss dates back to the 16th century and is one of the most important buildings in D

Dolphin House in Diss dates back to the 16th century and is one of the most important buildings in Diss. Picture: Simon Parkin - Credit: Simon Parkin

The Grade II listed timber framed Dolphin House next to the town market place has been one of the most prominent buildings in Diss since it was built in the early 16th century.

The building was due to go under the hammer at a property auction at Dunston Hall next week but a sale of building has now been agreed after the owners received an offer they accepted.

Robert Hurst, an auction surveyor with Auction House, which is holding the sale, said: "It has been owned by the same family since the late 1980s but they decided to sell. We had a number of inquiries about it."

Now and then: Dophin House as it looks today and when it was a pub in 1930. Picture: Norfolk County

Now and then: Dophin House as it looks today and when it was a pub in 1930. Picture: Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service - Credit: Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service

The ground floor of the building is typical of the 16th century with a three cell plan of services, hall and parlour. However its impressive dressed-oak beams denote it as an important building, possibly originally the house of a wool merchant.


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The first floor has an unusual raised aisled hall which was possibly once used by a rich merchant to display their wares, similar to the one at Dragon Hall in Norwich and at merchant houses in Kings Lynn.

Jettied rooms at the north end may have formed a private suite of family rooms. An attic floor is believed to have been at a later date.

Dolphin House was once a merchant house than later a pub. Now it is let to five small businesses. Pi

Dolphin House was once a merchant house than later a pub. Now it is let to five small businesses. Picture: Auction House - Credit: Auction House

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Origin of its name The Dolphin House is not clear but the building was a pub, The Dolphin, from the 1800s to the 1960s.

It now houses a number of small businesses in five separate units, four of which are currently let including to the Spice Cottage Indian restaurant.

Mr Hurst said: "This is not only an opportunity to own a bit of the town's history with a landmark building but would also make a good investment for someone. It is multi-let to a number of different occupiers and there is a really decent income stream of approaching £30,000 a year. The guide price was £240,000 so you are looking at a 10pc return."

Dolphin House has a prominent betwene Diss church and the town market place. This picture shows it w

Dolphin House has a prominent betwene Diss church and the town market place. This picture shows it with the timber frame covered. Picture: Diss Museum - Credit: Diss Museum

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