All across Norfolk, there lies the remnants of long-forgotten settlements just beneath the soil.

There are more than 150 deserted villages, more than almost any other county in England and more are still waiting to be discovered.

Some have vanished so completely that they are simply a name in an ancient chronicle, while others leave behind a mound in a field or fragments of a long-forgotten church.

And around the coast you will find the drowned villages engulfed by sea and sand - a stark warning to communities impacted by rising sea levels and eroding coastlines today. 

Here are seven to discover across the county.

Thetford & Brandon Times: The remains of the Eccles church tower, now swamped by the seaThe remains of the Eccles church tower, now swamped by the sea (Image: Archant © 2012)


The last remnants of this ancient fishing village can be found in north east Norfolk, close to Sea Palling and Happisburgh.

Its name indicates it was an early British Christian site, with Eccles coming from the Latin ecclesia, meaning church.

When the village was documented in the Domesday Book in 1086, it was a thriving community of around 2,000 acres.

But over the centuries ferocious storms battered the coastline, with 14 houses and only 300 acres left in 1605.

It has now virtually all been swept to sea bar a few properties nestled behind concrete sea defences.

Thetford & Brandon Times: The lost village of GodwickThe lost village of Godwick (Image: Archant)


Just six miles south of Fakenham is one of Norfolk’s most well-known lost villages. The All Saints Church Tower of Godwick still stands in a field surrounded by earthworks and sunken ways.

What was always a small village, Godwick declined between the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1428, there were only 10 households and by 1508, 11 of its 18 properties were empty.

The land in Godwick could at one point no longer be used for agriculture due to the high clay content and poor draining.

By 1585, the village had essentially disappeared. Since then it has been combined with Tittleshall.

Thetford & Brandon Times: Tottington was knocked down to make way for Second World War shooting rangesTottington was knocked down to make way for Second World War shooting ranges (Image: Archant)


Tottington was once a thriving village with its earliest record in the Domesday book in 1086.

But the outbreak of the Second World War led to its death knell, as it was taken over by the British Army to make way for military ranges.

Named the Stanford Battle Area, the site was used by allied infantry to prepare for Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy in 1944.

The residents of Tottington were told they would be able to return home after the army was finished. None of those residents were allowed to re-enter the village as it remained part of the Ministry of Defence’s Thetford infantry training area.

The last surviving resident of Tottington died in 2019 at the age of 98.

Thetford & Brandon Times: The church at Pudding Norton, NorfolkThe church at Pudding Norton, Norfolk (Image: Martin Loader/Wikimedia Commons)

Pudding Norton

Pudding Norton is one mile south of Fakenham. All that remains there today is the tower of St Margaret’s church and Pudding Norton Hall as the medieval village was cleared to make way for grazing in the late 16th and early 17th century.

The abandoned village is on a slope which spreads towards a stream that flows into the River Wensum.

In 1329 this village had only 15 households paying the Lay Subsidy tax. By 1602 the church had been decaying for a long time and in 1845 there were records of a population of 25 living in Pudding Norton.

Thetford & Brandon Times: The church at Great Hautbois, NorfolkThe church at Great Hautbois, Norfolk (Image: Newsquest)

Great Hautbois

Great Hautbois is eight miles north east of Norwich and is alongside the River Bure which is north of Coltishall. You may know the deserted village for St Theobald’s, the ruined church with a scenic graveyard but no roof.

Great Hautbois was once joined to Little Hautbois but in 1664 there were only eight people listed as living in this village.

There used to be a hospital in the village for travellers and the poor which was founded by Sir Peter de Alto Bosco. Great Hautbois was combined with the parish of Lammas.

Thetford & Brandon Times: The village has disappeared but Heckingham church remainsThe village has disappeared but Heckingham church remains (Image: Newsquest)


The village of Heckingham is two miles east of Loddon. It had a range of settlement sites including from the Roman and medieval periods and the church of St Gregory still stands on a small hill.

Previous studies of this village suggest that its settlements have shifted over time. It is indicated that an early Saxon settlement to the south of the church moved north towards the valley of the Chet.

The population of the lost village reduced by 18pc between 1334 and 1449 and it then continued to decline in the late medieval period.

Thetford & Brandon Times: The village of Wolterton has vanished but the 18th century hall remainsThe village of Wolterton has vanished but the 18th century hall remains (Image: Archant)


The village of Wolterton was famous for its 18th century hall. The original hall was burnt down and work to rebuild the house began in 1727. The parkland of the hall was landscaped including the lake and a stretch of oak and beech trees.

Those living in the village, who lived just to the north of St Margaret’s church, were relocated as part of the redesign. Those who rebuilt the hall removed the majority of the stonework from the church and left just the tower.

Wolterton’s Lay Subsidy records for 1332 and 1334 reflected how small the community was. Eventually, it was deserted and its parish was incorporated into Wickmere.

Wolterton Hall has been restored in recent years and is part of a private estate that offers holiday accommodation.