Parish Summary B

This Parish Summary is an overview of the large amount of information held for the parish, and only selected examples of sites and finds in each period are given. It has been beyond the scope of the project to carry out detailed research into the historical background, documents, maps or other sources, but we hope that the Parish Summaries will encourage users to refer to the detailed records, and to consult the bibliographical sources referred to below. Feedback and any corrections are welcomed by email to

Belaugh is a small parish situated on a loop of the River Bure, close to Hoveton and Wroxham.

The earliest evidence for occupation in the parish is from the Neolithic period, including the site of a possible Neolithic mortuary enclosure visible on aerial photographs (NHER 36445) to the north of the parish, on higher ground overlooking the river. Belaugh comes from the Old English meaning ‘an enclosure where the dead are cremated’. Neolithic axeheads (NHER 2325523256 and 23257) have been found near to the site of the enclosure (NHER 36445), and other Neolithic flints have been found in the parish, closer to the river (NHER 23249). The sites of possible Bronze Age round barrows, now visible as ring ditches, are also close to the site of the enclosure, suggesting that the site continued to be associated with the dead throughout the prehistoric period. 

St Peter's Church, Belaugh. A Saxon church which was restored and renovated in the 14th and 15th century.

St Peter's Church, Belaugh. (©NCC)

A series of enclosures, ditches and trackways visible on aerial photographs (NHER 18239) may date from the Roman period, and Roman pottery and coins have been found there (NHER 20182). There is little other evidence from the Roman period, and Belaugh was recorded as a small settlement in the Domesday Book. St Peter’s Church (NHER 15422) contains some Late Saxon work, but again there is little other evidence for Saxon settlement in the parish.

Apart from the church (NHER 15422), which has an unusual Norman font from the 12th century, and a medieval painted rood screen, no medieval buildings survive in Belaugh; the most prominent legacy of the medieval period is Belaugh Broad (NHER 13519), the flooded remains of a medieval peat turbary.

During the post medieval period, Belaugh remained a small village, as it does today. John Betjeman, who visited the church as a boy remembered that, 'it was the first time I ever fell in love', the beginning of his lifelong interest in church architecture. High Meadow (NHER 41845) was built by the architect Lionel Smith in the 1950s. The house is a good example of a typical 1950s house built by a little known architect.

Sarah Spooner (NLA), 11 August 2005.


Further Reading

Brown, P. (ed.), 1984. Domesday Book: Norfolk (Chichester, Phillimore)

Mills, A.D., 1998. Dictionary of English Place-Names (Oxford, Oxford University Press)

Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B., 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North East (London, Penguin)

Rye, J., 1991. A Popular Guide to Norfolk Place-names (Dereham, Larks Press)


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