LOCAL HISTORY GROUP – Happisburgh Visit

Happisburgh Visit Local History July 2021 medium

On July 8th eighteen members of the local history group made a trip to Happisburgh, originally planned as a tour of the Lighthouse, early plans spoiled by Covid. Instead, we did a walking tour of this fascinating village, taking us past many of the important sites. The lovely beach, the submerged Doggerland originally linking Britain to mainland Europe, which has seen hundreds of shipwrecks and lives lost over the centuries. The impressive Lighthouse, now the only privately funded and volunteer operated Lighthouse in the country, warning of the dramatic dangers of this part of the coast.

The 20th century Grade 2 listed Happisburgh Manor House known as St Mary’s, the lovely village primary school, Church Farm, once the holiday hideaway of Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and the likes, all make up more of the interesting history. The magnificent 15th century St Mary’s the Virgin Church is well worth a visit offering a climb of 132 steps for a stunning view as far as Norwich Cathedral (on a clear day) from the top of its lofty tower. The churchyard, the burial place of many victims of the sea, vessels such as HMS Invincible where over 400 sailors sadly perished.

We passed the village sign telling a tale of legend on our way to the 16th century Hill House Inn’, where Conan Doyle gained his inspiration for ‘The Dancing Men’, for a tasty lunch. Clive, the landlord, then told the group, with real passion, the very worrying news that much of Happisburgh and its history could be lost to the sea in the next 30 years, his hostelry included.

Many of our group had no idea of the story of this lovely and interesting village.