Heacham History

Heacham – a History

Heacham is a popular Norfolk coastal holiday resort situated three miles from Hunstanton and eight miles from Sandringham on the A149 in Norfolk, England.  Heacham has existed as a settlement since before the Romans.  Indeed, evidence has been found here of passing centuries as far back as the stone age.

Today, Heacham is very much a thriving village community, lit by fabulously unique east coast sunsets and encircled by fragrant purple lavender and scarlet poppy fields.  Visitors and residents alike enjoy the sloping beaches and the soft undulating West Norfolk countryside, which has remained unchanged over time.  In recent years, the village has slowly evolved and changed but in doing so has successfully avoided the modern commercialisation of many seaside resorts retaining its very own natural quaintness.

Beverley-Eele Heacham Poppy Fields summer 2006

Beverley-Eele Heacham Poppy Fields summer 2006

Heacham’s poppyfields are a spectacular sight to see in season and is a huge hit with photographers from all over.  You cannot fail to be wowed by the sea of red spread across the fields as you drive past.  In addition, the wide expanse of the famous Lavender fields in full bloom are also a sight not to be missed.

The village once had its own brick yard but the coming of the railway in 1862 brought in a much cheaper, though poorer, brick. This form of transport opened the door to a positive flood of visitors who came for the sea and to enjoy the beauty of the village.  Many of these holidaymakers have decided to relocate to Heacham to enjoy their later years.

Heacham is home of the Rolfe family, who for generations farmed the land and traded on the shores of the Wash. The Rolfe’s benign influence has helped shaped the village over the centuries.  Sadly, Heacham Hall (the family home of the Rolfes) was burnt down in 1943, although the parklands remain and and a new building stands in its stead.   Heacham’s John Rolfe was born and baptised in the village in 1585.  John Rolfe left England in search of adventure in the New World, and played a major part in ensuring the survival of the first English speaking settlement; Jamestown in Virginia. Rolfe also married the legendary Native American Red Indian Princess “Pocahontas” (Matoaka Rebucka Pocahontas), whose image is featured on the village sign.

In the Church of St Mary the Virgin at Heacham you will find a memorial to Pocahontas carved by Otillea Wallace, a pupil of Rodin.  She is dressed in a stylish Jacobean trilby hat and a great neck ruff, which was the fashion of the period (taken from a real image of her carved when she visited London).

Heacham village derives its name from its 12th century overlord Geoffrey de Hecham, and its river, the Hitch. Over the years the word and spelling have become Heacham meaning “The Home in the Thicket”. Heacham has existed as a settlement since before the Romans. Indeed, evidence has been found here of passing centuries as far back as the stone age.