Working life was centred around and controlled by the “Big House” as almost everyone in Beechamwell worked for the estate until the 1960’s when it was sold. At the turn of the century Beechamwell narrowly missed becoming a royal estate when King Edward VII decided against Beechamwell in favour of Sandringham.

Neither the number of houses nor the size of the population has changed much since the 1920’s with the latter about 326 people. Now however, there is little employment within the village and people travel to neighbouring towns, returning in the evening.

Set deep in the Brecklands, the land is poor, the climate drier than the rest of England and winds can whip up the soil into dust storms without warning. Footpaths and bridleways criss-cross the parish allowing ramblers to discover the delights of nightingales singing in thickets and nightjars chucking in forest glades, wild deer wandering across lanes and hares racing over the fields. Spring is heralded by snowdrops in the hedgerows, summer by wild raspberries in the forests and autumn by blackberries along the byways. Isolation still has so many attractions.

Taken from ‘The Norfolk Village Book’ and written by W. I. Members (Beechamwell old spelling for Beachamwell).

Photos supplied by David Mason

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