Bawsey Saint James Church Ruin.

Bawsey Saint James Church Ruin.


Bawsey lies near a part of King's Lynn called Mintlyn.

It's silhouette standing 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. In years gone by, maybe one, two or even three of these churches would have been visible, in a line across that horizon.

Although thousands of visitors travelling to Hunstanton every year can see these remains, very few can actually now visit the isolated hill top location, I for one cannot, being disabled and with walking being a problem, and though road access runs past, tractors and other farm implements have made access in places inaccessible.

Once 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, with its central tower, but just left 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, possibly a rider on horse back. A possible Bell casting pit, a bread oven, Ipswich ware, dating 650-850 periods and 14th century green pottery.

Bawsey Old Church may well be on the site of a much earlier settlement that pre-dated the Normans too, and one that was raided by Viking Norsemen. 

Photos supplied by a friend Cheryl Howlett.

Bawsey Saint James Church Ruin.

Bawsey Saint James Church Ruin.
Bawsey Saint James Church Ruin.
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