Great Bircham


"BIRCHAM, (GREAT) a village and parish, on the Burnham road, 14 miles N.E. of Lynn, has 511 inhabitants, and 3,542 acres of land, of which a part is sheep walk, and 246A. are in woods and plantations. The Marquis of Cholmondeley is owner of the soil and lord of the manor. The CHURCH (St. Mary,) on an eminence, has a fine tower at the west end, containing five bells. It is a handsome structure, very indifferently pewed; and during the progress of some recent repairs, three piscinas were discovered. The rectory, valued in the King's Book at £22, and in 1831 at £527, has about 70 acres of glebe. Anthony Hamond, Esq., is the patron, and the Rev. Wm. Pratt, B.A., of Harpley, incumbent. . . . A Free School, for the poor children of the three Bircham parishes, was built in 1842, by the Marquis Cholmondeley, who also supports two small preparatory schools, and partly clothes the scholars, of whom, about 80 attend the principal school." [William White, History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk (1845) - Transcription copyright © Ian Wegg]


Great Bircham is about 10 miles W. of Fakenham.
It is sometimes known as Bircham St Mary.
See also Bircham Newton and Bircham Tofts.


Church Directories

  • In 1883 the parish was in the Deanery of Heacham, in the archdeaconry of Norfolk.
    It could have been in a different deanery or archdeaconry both before and after this date.
  • The parish church is dedicated to St Mary.

Church History

Church of St Mary the Virgin
Description, pictures, bells, etc.
Church of St Mary the Virgin
Picture of the church.
Yaxley, David
The Old Rectory, Great Bircham.
[Norwich, Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, in "Norfolk Archaeology" vol.37, 1980]

Church Records

Marriages 1669-1837
See Phillimore's Marriage Registers, Volume 12.
These are included in Boyd's Marriage Index.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Church Records


Civil Registration

For the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths between 1837 and 1930 (and for the censuses from 1851 to 1901), Great Bircham was in Docking Registration District.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Civil Registration


Description & Travel

Great Bircham Post Mill
Description and history.
Great Bircham Tower Mill
Description, history and picture.
Great Bircham Windmill
Pictures and short history.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Great Bircham which are provided by:




Historical Geography

Great Bircham is in Smithdon Hundred.

Parish outline and location.
See Parish Map for Smithdon Hundred
Description of Smithdon Hundred
1845: White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk

You can see the administrative areas in which Great Bircham has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


Land & Property

Great Britain: Statute
Great Bircham Land Exchanges and Inclosure Act, 1739.
An act for confirming and establishing an exchange, agreed upon by the lord of the manor and the rector of the parish church of Great Bircham in the county of Norfolk; and for promoting and facilitating an inclosure, intended to be made of divers commons, common pasture and waste grounds, lying in the said parish of Great Bircham.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Land and Property



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference TF768326 (Lat/Lon: 52.861876, 0.625025), Great Bircham which are provided by:


Military Records

Roll of Honour
World Wars 1 and 2.
Roll of Honour - War Graves in the Churchyard
World Wars 1 and 2.
War Graves at Great Bircham
Some of the people were from Bircham Newton airfield.
Names, details, pictures, plan of graves, etc.
This is a link to an archived copy.
Hillman, Brian and Beynon, John
The British, Commonwealth and German War Graves in St Mary's Churchyard, Great Bircham.
[King's Lynn, 2002]

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Military Records


Poor Houses, Poor Law



These figures are from the population tables which were produced after the 10-yearly national censuses. The "Families" heading includes families and single occupiers.

Year  Inhabited
Year  Inhabited
1861  86  --489
1881  99112460
1891  94  96392
1901  96  98368
1911  --  93366

There may be more people living in detached parts of the parish (if there were any) and, if so, the number may or may not be included in the figures above. It is quite difficult to be sure from the population tables.