Bawburgh Conservation Area

Consultation 2017:

South Norfolk Council are reviewing the Conservation Area for several villages and Bawburgh is one of them. They have created a document called the Bawburgh Character Appraisal, which considers the historical, architectural and natural features of the village and is a comprehensive snapshot.

The document proposes making a few changes to the size and shape of the conservation area, removing a couple of pieces of land from it but adding some others. The consultation ran from 3rd July to 14th August, with an exhibition in the Village Hall on 1st August.

If you would like to see the full document, it is available on the South Norfolk Website at:


Situation 2003:

Briefly, man has been around here since before 800 BC – late and early bronze age artefacts testify to this. It had a glorious heyday from the early 11th century (c.1016 – the death and burial of St Walstan) until the Reformation. St Walstan’s burial site was an important shrine on a par with Walsingham in its day, and the constant stream of visitors kept a vicar and six chantry priests busy. There has been a mill here since before Domesday (1087):

“Forehoe Hundred: Gyrth held Costessey before 1066, 4 caracutes [1 caracute = c.120 acres] of land. Always 8 villagers; 8 smallholders. Then 4 slaves, now 1. Always 2 ploughs in lordship; 5 men’s ploughs; woodland, 10 pigs; meadow, 6 acres; always 2 mills. Always 14 head of cattle; a park for beasts of chse; 27 pigs; 13 goats. 1 outlier, BAWBURGH, appertains to the manor, 2 caracutes of land, always 6 villagers; 6 smallholers; 2 slaves. Then 1 plough in lordship, now 2. Always 1 men’s plough; meadow, 4 acres, always 1 mill.”

Anglo-Saxon lord of the manor, Gyrth, Earl of East Anglia from 1057, brother of King Harold, died at the Battle of Hastings, and his place taken by Norman Count Alan, County of Brittany, son-in-law of William the Conqueror.

All very interesting however, but moving swiftly on to the present day, Bawburgh was one of the first villages in Norfolk to take advantage of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971, which allowed the County Council to select areas of historical or architectural importance and create Conservation Areas, and this became fact as reported in The London Gazette, 30th January 1973. Some years before that (1968) the Parish Council had created the Village Greens.

There are 17 listed buildings in the village: Grade 1 – 1 (the Church of St Mary & St Walstan), Grade 2* - 4, and 12 Grade 2 (13 if you count the Bridge). Two of the Grade 2* buildings (the so-called Slipper House and Dovecote) are also designated Ancient Monuments, as is the Bridge.

Because of the development restrictions as a result of its changed status, the population has barely changed since 1951 (450), which, bearing in mind its proximity to Norwich would have been extremely unlikely under the pressure of urban sprawl.

The map (which opens on a separate page) shows the compact area of Conservation, allowing only limited infill, which restricts population growth or natural settlement development.


How does the Conservation Area status affect those who live within it? Well, as far as trees are concerned, all mature trees are assumed to have a Tree Preservation Order, and may not be felled without permission. Any building alterations or planning applications are closely scrutinised to maintain the integrity of the area. This doesn’t mean you can’t have new windows or double glazing, or a conservatory, but for many these have to be of wood. The new fashion for solar power might become an issue if in a prominent position. The restrictions are many and complex, but are all in support of maintaining the centre of the village in more or less the same condition, - one might say ‘set in aspic’. Some may think things should always stay the same, others may consider things should move and develop, albeit in a controlled way in an area such as the one we are fortunate enough to live in. However, the sensitivity of any change has to be very carefully considered.

The overall beauty of the upper Yare valley has been protected by a number of planning measures and restrictions, especially since the building of the Southern By-pass, and rightly so. The beauty, tranquillity and attraction of the village centre and the Greens are evident every summer when people visit us seeking refuge from urban streets. But we should not over-romanticise , we still have to live and work here and the avoidance of ‘pretty’ is important for authenticity of what is still, for the moment, a working village.


View Map of Conservation Area

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