SEE Present-day pictures of the St Nicholas Church

during filming 'Glorious 39'
Stephen Poliakoff
click here for links from News page

photograph ©Andrew Wigley 2009

  The North Norfolk village with the Fascinating History



from an old painting c 19thcentury

Sunday Services for 2016 at St Nicholas Salthouse click here  or go to: Weybourne Group Parish site
St Nicholas Salthouse photographed May 2009

taken by Muriel Olin of Salthouse

The latest picture of the Church from the heath showing 'Little Eye' so clearly beyond it

Sir Henry Heydon
There was great life and bustle in Salthouse when the year 1500 dawned, for masons and builders were hard at work on a new church which Sir Henry Heydon was erecting. It is probable that these masons and carpenters came over from Baconsthorpe as soon as they had completed the Hall there—after six years’ continuous work.

The keep of Baconsthorpe Hall
is pictured here in its ruined state of today.

St Nicholas Salthouse from the East 2009

read about the screen   
 see interior pics of the past
An early view of the church c.1912
Salthouse St Nicholas, 1908 from the East
note the east window half blocked up
it was restored to its full size in 1932
see it from south c 1950 clicka 1948 old view of the church

We now have a wonderful New Church Guide 2009 revised completely
by Birkin Haward. It is available at the Church for £2

but since this is a History Site -below is an example of a much earlier one

The following is from the original church guide (left) written by Commander F N Stagg, who researched his history of Salthouse in the 1930s.

This early guide is itself a piece of history. The inclusion of the rather unprofessional illustrations is explained by the fact that they are the work of a spinster of the village who also paid for the printing of it!
But the nice, down-to-earth writing of Frank Stagg makes it very worth while indeed:

has some very good pix of the church today, and interesting comments on the screen click on the picture

click here to visit a very good site


"There is no record of a church at Salthouse in Domesday Book. This is not to say that one did not then exist, since out of the 4,000 churches which are known to have been in existence when the great survey was taken, only 1,700 are mentioned in Domesday. In fact, in that book, out of the 28 churches now existing in the Hundred of Holt only 6 are mentioned. At the Norman conquest Salthouse would have been in the Diocese of Thetford; the see was not transferred to Norwich till 1094.     

"It seems most likely that a church was erected about 1250, as about that date the list of rectors begins. In all probability the existing church tower dates from then. Whatever the previous church was like it did not come up to the ideals of lovers of church architecture at the beginning of the English Rennaissance, for we do know definitely that the present building was completed in the year 1503. It is useless to speculate when the rebuilding commenced though it probably did not take more than six years to erect. One guesses this because although its builder, Sir Henry Heydon, possessed the advowson and also one of the manors in Salthouse prior to 1497, it was not till that date that he acquired by exchange the other manor which gave him complete control over the whole parish. Surely until he had obtained entire possession he would not have begun such so vast and expensive a work.
At all events the following entry occurs in the Register under 1636:

Mem. The Church of Salthouse was built in ye year of our Lord God One thousand Five hundred and Three. For so it appeareth in one of ye windows of the same Church."
Ita testatur Thos. Dawney rector de Salthouse 12 mo Decembris 1636.

This window no longer exists: no doubt a sacrifice to the fanaticism of the Puritans of Cromwell's time."

Frank Stagg 1930

Charles Linnell's church guide 1953-1969

In 1953, just after the terrible flood of that year, the rev C. L. S. Linnell of Letheringsett was asked to revise Salthouse's church guide. In this revision he had a little more to say about the inscription mentioned in 1636 by rev Thomas Dawney:
The inscription has disappeared, but it was in existence at the time of 'A Description of Salthouse in Holt Hundred' dated 16th August, 1748, which stated that it appeared in the glass of "the East Chancel window" and again "in the east window of the south aisle" with the words Rector Ecclesiae", which suggests that these fragments were remains of a window given to the church by its first rector, Robert Fevyr, who died in 1519 and is buried in the chancel beneath a brass in the shape of a Chalice and Host.
The inscription beneath the engraving of the chalice is as follows:

I Syr Rob'te Fevyr was sometime as thou arte and thou shalbe as I am whatsoever you be pray for the soule of Sir Rob'te Fevyr for charite qui obiit viii die Octobr' Ao d'ni M V XIX.

The title "Sir" accorded to the clergy was the mediaeval equivalent of 'Reverend'.


Birkin Haward's 2009 revised Church Guide
This will be featured here soon. It is now readibly available and on sale in the Church

The Rev. Francis Blomefield
In a footnote he added to the page in his revised church guide (quoted from above), Charles Linnell says that this Description of Salthouse was made as a result of the queries sent out by the Rev. Francis Blomefield for his History of Norfolk. His assistants in the Holt Hundred were Dr Briggs, Rector of Holt, and Mr John Holmes headmaster of Gresham's School, Holt. Linnell adds the dry comment:
'It is a pity that Blomefield's continuator, the Rev Charles Parkin, did not have access to these collections of Blomefield's when completing the section on Holt Hundred.

Frank Stagg, it seems, did have access to it and quoted from it in his manuscript:

In the year 1748 Salthouse was visited by a reporter for the History of Norfolk which is now known as ‘Blomefield’. He has given us a description of the church and its churchyard: [the remarks in brackets are those of Commander Stagg]
"The Church here is a most lightsome uniform building built on the site of the old Church but much less; for the Charnel House that was under part of the old building is now in the Churchyard on the N. side of the present Church. The Cemetery is very large [as all adjoining the sea coast generally are, I suppose laid out so at first on the supposition that the many bodies washed up by the sea might find sufficient room for sepulcher without incommoding the parishioners.] . . . . Within the steeple under the belfry is a very strong room with two doors called ‘Hell’, which probably was made use of as a dungeon, Hereticks prison or a Purgatory, it is now only a lumber room. Within it is a strong press in which is kept the Communion Plate—'Ye TOWNE. OF. SAVLTHOVS. 1567.' " click here to see reference to this 'hell' in church restoration . . .

Commander Stagg (writing in the 30s) says:Frank Stagg who researched a history of Salthouse which was published in the Salthouse book

" The names of the 42 rectors of Salthouse from 1250 till 1930 are known but nothing of their lives or activities can be traced, with the exception of Thomas Bainbrigg who, whilst Rector of Salthouse, from 1682-1714, was also Head master of the Gresham School at Holt from 1667-1692, in the records of which school he is described as Thomas Bainbridge. In 1787 the Salthouse living was consolidated with that of Kelling."

The complete list of rectors from 1250 till 2004, are listed on another page, to see them click here



In the Public Records Office there is a paper which gives one last peep at pre-Reformation conditions in Salthouse. It is called ‘Augmentations Office: Miscellaneous Book No 466—for Muster Roll and Clergy List in Hundred of Holt’, circa 1523, in which Sir Robert Fever, rector of Salthouse is mentioned. His benefice is valued at £20 0s 0d and his goods at £23 13s 4d, and Sir John Rede’s ‘stypend’ is £5 6s 8d.


Sir John Rede was probably a chantry priest saying masses for the dead either in the old building in the churchyard, now in ruins, or else in one of the two chapels in the east ends of the side aisles.
In pre-Reformation days the office of churchwarden was solely ecclesiastical. The ‘custodes ecclesiae’ were wardens of the goods of the church. In the reign of Henry VIII civil functions were added to their duties: they were made relieving officers to deal with the widespread poverty caused by the suppression of the monasteries and chantries, and they also had to provide arms for the soldiers. By the year 1600 much of the burden of local government rested on their shoulders: for instance, they had to see to the upkeep of roads, appoint local officials, and keep the parish free from vermin. (The early accounts of Salthouse are lost, but from 1742 they are full of interesting details of parish life.)

You can read an article written specially for the Salthouse book by Derek Schofield who was one of the ones to be captivated by the registers discovered in the summer of 2000. He wrote two articles: one on the Relief of the Poor 1792 - 1810 and another on the Churchwardens Accounts in the 18th century.

(Both are now available on this site - click the title)



I found a detailed article on BLOMEFIELD'S HISTORY OF NORFOLK at the address below:

There were probably two earlier churches on the present church's site. click here for an excerpt from Edwin Rose's report made in the year 2000.  

The current time is: