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Bawsey Ruins

Bawsey Ruins. Photo: Tracey Robinson

Just east of Kings Lynn, lie the stark remains of Bawsey Old Church.

The silhouette of the old church on top of a small hill can be clearly seen from the King’s Lynn A149 By Pass, between the Queen Elizabeth and Knights Hill roundabouts.

Although thousands of visitors travelling to Hunstanton every year can see these remains, very few actually visit the isolated hill top location.

The village of Bawsey St James was still thriving in the 16th century, until the then landowner decided to depopulate the village and hand the whole area over to farmland. Fortunately for us, he decided not to demolish the old church of St James, and just leave it to decay.

In March 1999 Channel 4’s Time Team excavated the surrounding area and found a 14th-century tile with the lettering of THOMAS printed mysteriously backwards. The ‘THOMAS’ on the tile is thought to refer to Thomas de Wigginhall, whose term of office as prior at Castle Acre ended in 1376.

Other excavations on the hillside around the church, revealed a skeleton of which the skull had sustained a powerful blow from a swordsman. Bawsey Old Church may well be on the site of a much earlier settlement that pre dated the Normans, and one that was raided by Viking Norsemen.

This reconstruction by Steve Breeze shows how Bawsey may have looked centuries ago, surrounded by a lake …

Bawsey: How it was

Top Photo: Courtesy of Tracey Robinson Redfish Collection
Channel 4 Time Team