Old Hunstanton

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Old Hunstanton
UK Old Hunstanton.jpg
Signpost in Old Hunstanton
OS grid referenceTF683422
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtPE36
AmbulanceEast of England
List of places

Old Hunstanton is a village and civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. It covers an area of 5.35 km2 (2.07 sq mi) and had a population of 47 in 25 households at the 2001 census.[1] The population had risen to 628 at the 2011 Census.[2] For the purposes of local government, it falls within the district of King's Lynn and West Norfolk.

This small settlement adjoins to the north the larger resort of Hunstanton or 'New Hunstanton'. The quiet character of Old Hunstanton remains distinct from and complements that of its busy sibling, with clifftop walks past the disused Old Hunstanton Lighthouse and the ruins of St Edmund's Chapel, built in 1272. King Edmund of East Anglia supposedly built the village. The River Hun runs to the coast just to the east of Old Hunstanton.

The parish church of St Mary, situated in the grounds of Hunstanton Hall, is a Grade I listed building.[3] It was built by Sir Hamon le Strange in about 1300 and extensively rebuilt and restored during the 19th century by architect Frederick Preedy for Henry Le Strange (1815–1862), developer of New Hunstanton. In the parish, at the deserted medieval village of Barret Ringstead (or Ringstead Parva), is the ruined Chapel of St Andrew which is Grade II*.[4]

St Mary's churchyard contains the graves of a customs officer William Green and William Webb of the 15th Light Dragoons, both of whom were fatally wounded during a skirmish on the Hunstanton coast with smugglers. The clash occurred on the night of 25 September 1784, also claiming the life of another customs officer named Rennett. However, although the alleged perpetrators were tried at Thetford the following year it proved impossible to secure any convictions.[5][6] Both gravestones are Grade II listed; one has "Here be the mangled remains of poor William Green an Honest Officer of Government who/in the faithful discharge of his duty/was inhumanely murdered/by a gang of smugglers in this parish."

The Hunstanton Lifeboat Station at Old Hunstanton is a RNLI lifeboat station with a B class (Atlantic) boat and a hovercraft.

Parts of the beach are backed by sand dunes and are the location for beach huts.

Storms deposit items on the beach including marine life this may be strandings of cetaceans, mass strandings of starfish and shellfish or boats wrecked in storms.[7] In December 2011 a large whale washed ashore on the beach.[8]


The village of Old Hunstanton is recorded in the Domesday Book as ‘Hunestanestada’. Later it became part of the Le Strange family (or L'Estrange) estates.[9]


  1. ^ Census population and household counts for unparished urban areas and all parishes Archived 2017-02-11 at the Wayback Machine. Office for National Statistics & Norfolk County Council (2001). Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  2. ^ "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  3. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1077920)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  4. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1077919)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  5. ^ Records of the Norfolk Yeomanry Cavalry, to which is added the fencible and provisional Cavalry of the same county from 1780 to 1908. (Jarrold, 1908). p.30,31
  6. ^ Codd, Daniel (2013). Tales from the Gibbet Post (The Murder of Customs Officers). Amazon Media EU S.à r.l. Kindle Edition. ASIN: B00D2B8OWA
  7. ^ anonymous (2018). Hunstanton guide book. Hunstanton and District Civic Society.
  8. ^ "Call for action over whale body in Hunstanton after jaw bone hacked off - Latest News - Lynn News". www.lynnnews.co.uk. Archived from the original on 4 January 2012.
  9. ^ anonymous (2018). Hunstanton Guide Book. Hunstanton and District Civic Society.

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