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Exploring Norfolk: Heydon: a privately owned village

September 28, 2012

In the 21st century, it is hard to comprehend that there are still English villages that are completely privately owned. There are about a dozen such villages in total.

Heydon, Norfolk

Heydon, in north Norfolk, is just such a village.You may well have seen Heydon even if you have never been there, for it has often been used as a location in film and television productions. Joseph Losey used it for a number of scenes in his film of L.P. Hartley‘s Norfolk novel The Go Between. It has featured in Love on a Branch Line, The Moonstone, the Woman in White, Vanity Fair and A Cock and Bull Story.

When you get there you can see why. There is no through road through the village and there has been no new building there since 1887, when a well was built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s jubilee.

The buildings are a delight, making Heydon a highlight even in a county of very beautiful villages.

Heydon Hall, which owns the village, is the home of the Bulwer Long family (the writer Edward Bulwer Lytton was a member of the family). In the grounds is Cromwell’s Oak, where the Lord Protector once – according to legend – sought refuge from a rampaging bull!

The Entrance to Heydon Park

We walked in the park to see the house, before exploring the church, which is another of the delights of Norfolk. It has the remnants of wall paintings, uncovered in recent years.

A lovely village, a strange survival from earlier times.

Heydon Hall, Norfolk


7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 4, 2013 10:09 am

    Good blog post. I absolutely appreciate this website. Thanks!

  2. February 22, 2014 11:00 am

    Reblogged this on Over The Hills and commented:

    Interestingly, this was the most read blog on my site in 2013.

  3. February 22, 2014 5:19 pm

    Is there a significance in “private” villages? How have they come about or is this how everything was before public accessible footpaths & so on. Where can I learn more?

  4. February 22, 2014 6:26 pm

    Just an accident of history in that the estate never sold off their properties. This is how it would all have been once.

  5. Poul permalink
    May 12, 2016 11:41 pm

    Randy Merry Widow of Heydon.. ‘This pity….

  6. Tracey roberts permalink
    January 13, 2018 10:30 am

    My Aunt & Uncle lived in this village all of their married life.. Sadly my uncle Nevvy passed away and my aunt no longer lives there 😦 I have so many beautiful childhood memories staying here and also as an adult, staying with my aunt & uncle. I miss this terribly, ‘so sad’. I miss the peace and quite and walks through the park, i miss the tug of war and fetes on the village green.. Such happy times….

    • January 13, 2018 3:39 pm

      How wonderful to hear from someone with personal experiences of Heydon. I can’t imagine it’s changed a great deal down the years, still a peaceful place, John.

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