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heydon (towns and villages)

Located some 14 miles north-west of Norwich, Heydon is a small estate village of charming houses and pretty cottages which has remained almost unchanged for many years. Heydon, known by that name in the Domesday Book means 'Hay Hill'.

a privately owned village

Heydon is one of only 12 privately owned villages to be found in the UK. The entire village including Heydon Manor belongs to the Bulwer family who have lived in the village since 1640.

As no new buildings have been built in the village since 1887, when an ornamental pleasant Gothic revival brick pump-house was erected to celebrate Queen Victoria's jubilee, the village remains a small community of just over 100 inhabitants.

To visit Heydon is to step back in time. The village has been a conservation area since 1971 and has twice won the Best Kept Village Award. It has been used as a location for many film and television productions including 'Up Rising', 'The Go Between', 'The Mill on the Floss', 'The Moonstone', 'Love on a Branch Line' and 'The Grotesque' thanks to its unspoilt historic character.

The recorded history of the parish dates back to the early 15th century when it is thought that John Dynne purchased the manor from the Heydon family when they moved to Baconsthorpe six miles north of Heydon.

The village is set in a 'cul-de-sac' with three shops and a traditional blacksmith's workshop, outside which you will find a life-size sculpture of a mare and foal made entirely of horseshoes. The Earle Arms, the only pub in the village has a ship figurehead on one wall.

heydon hall

Through the village the road runs up to the impressive gates of Heydon Hall and the parish church of St Peter and St Paul.

The building of the Hall began in 1581 by Henry Dynne who was auditor to the Queen's Exchequer. When he died in 1586 the house and manor were brought by the Colfer family and later by the Kemp family.

In 1640 Sir Robert Kemp sold it to the roundhead Erasmus Earle, a Parliamentary lawyer who became Sergeant-at-Law to Oliver Cromwell. An additional servant's house was added in 1797. It was Erasmus Earle that the pub was named after.

Recently the hall has been renovated and, to return it to its original Elizabethan form, all later extensions were removed.

A wonderful stone boar can be found in the Hall's gardens, which are open to the public when advertised. The surrounding parkland however is open to walkers to enjoy throughout the year and the Hall can be seen from some of the paths.

st peter and st paul's church

The village church of St Peter and St Paul dates from the 13th century although it was virtually rebuilt in about 1470 in a perpendicular style. Of particular note are the recently uncovered and rare 14th to 15th century wall paintings including: the adoration of the Magi and Herod's feast with Salome.

Most of the visible paintings in the church were found in 1970. Unfortunately the Bulwer-Lytton family and their ancestors the Earles installed several memorial tablets thus partially obscuring the medieval wall paintings. Of the memorials the most notable is dedicated to the memory of Erasmus Earle.

related pages

broadland's towns and villages

where is broadland?

external links

heydon hall

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Economic Development
Broadland District Council
Thorpe Lodge
1 Yarmouth Road
Thorpe St Andrew
Norwich NR7 0DU
tel: 01603 430496
fax: 01603 430561