The development of the area now known as Catton Park was carried out over a period of a hundred years from the 1770s onwards and was the work of successive owners of the Catton Hall estate of which it formed a part. Although Catton Hall is no longer in the same ownership as Catton Park, the history of the two is inextricably linked as that of a mansion in a parkland setting.
The Catton Hall estate was not unusual in being formed as a place of occasional residence for the business elite of the city, and Norwich had, by the late 18th century, a ring of such residences.
Many of these were a ‘house in the country’ with up to ten acres of grounds, whilst others like Catton Hall had larger grounds which allowed for that most desirable of landscape features – a park. So important was the park to the owners of Catton Hall that it was enlarged twice, firstly in 1788 and again in 1856, by diverting public roads, a costly business not lightly undertaken. However the Catton Hall estate differed from most of the businessmen’s residences with parks, in that it also included a larger agricultural acreage than was usual for estates of this type. In 1835 it amounted in total to some 600 acres and extended into the adjoining parishes to the west and east of Catton. The ownership of this land enabled the second park enlargements to proceed without the problem of the acquisition of additional land.