Mysterious Heydon – Norfolk’s Privately-owned Village

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, 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!

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.


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