"HAPPISBURGH, commonly Haisborough, is a considerable village, scattered on the summit and declivities of the sea-bank, 4 miles N. of Stalham, 7 miles E. of North Walsham, and 14 miles S.E. by E. of Cromer. Its parish has 631 souls and 1953A. of land. It has two herring and several small fishing-boats. . . . The Church (St. Mary,) is a lofty pile, with a fine embattled tower, 112 feet high, standing on an elevated point of land, within a short distance of the sea-cliff, which, rising perpendicularly, and having an under stratum of sand and gravel, is so continually wasted by the agitation of the tides and storms, that it is calculated the church will be engulphed in the ocean before the close of the ensuing century, the sea having encroached upwards of 170 yards during the last sixty years. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the King's Book at £6. 6s. 8d. The Rev. Charles Birch is the incumbent, and the Bishop of Norwich is the patron and appropriator of the rectorial tithes, which are held by G. Wilkinson, Esq., and two smaller lessees, and have been commuted for £687, and the vicarial tithes for £230 per annum." [William White, History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk (1845) - Transcription copyright © Peter Green]


Happisburgh is about 12 miles E. of Aylsham.
The name is pronounced as Haisborough or Haisbro.
These spellings (with many variations such as Hasebro, Hasburgh, etc) are often found in written records.



Not all memorials may be included, even when a transcription is marked as complete, for example when stones are not legible enough to be read or photographed.

Church of St Mary the Virgin
Transcriptions of gravestones in the churchyard.
The Monumental Inscriptions in the Hundred of Happing (Walter Rye).
The parishes covered include Happisburgh.
See Brumstead

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Cemeteries


Church Directories

  • In 1883 the parish was in the Deanery of Waxham, 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 the Virgin.

Church History

Church of St Mary the Virgin
Description, services, pictures, etc.
Church of St Mary the Virgin
Description and pictures.
Church of St Mary the Virgin
Description and pictures.
Church of St Mary the Virgin
Services, minister, pictures, etc.
Linnell, Charles Lawrence Scruton
Church of St Mary, Happisburgh.
[Ipswich, Home Words, 1960]
Trett, Mary H.
The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Happisburgh, Norfolk.
[Happisburgh, The Church, 1970s]
Southgate, William
The history of the Happisburgh Primitive Methodist Sunday School.
Southgate, William
The origin or introduction of the Primitive Methodists into this locality or neighbourhood with an outline of a few leading particulars that have transpired from that time to the present.
[Norwich, Jarrold and Sons, 1866]

Church Records

These are included in Boyd's Marriage Index.
They are not included in Phillimore's Marriage Registers.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Church Records


Civil Registration

For the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths between 1837 and 1869 (and for the censuses in 1851 and 1861), Happisburgh was in Tunstead and Happing Registration District.

This district was renamed on 1st January 1870 and, from then until 1930, Happisburgh was in Smallburgh Registration District for civil registration and for the censuses of 1871 to 1901.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Civil Registration


Description & Travel

Description, history, pictures, parish council, events, school, lifeboats, wartime, lighthouse, shipwrecks, etc.
Description, pictures, etc.
Pestell, R.E.
Happisburgh: the story of a coastal parish.
[Norwich, Harrison, 1972]
Trett, Mary; Hoggett, Richard; and the Happisburgh Heritage Group
The Book of Happisburgh.
[Halsgrove, 2011]
Happisburgh Mill Farm Early Post Mill
Description and history.
Happisburgh Mill Farm Post Mill
Description, history and pictures.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Happisburgh which are provided by:




Historical Geography

Happisburgh is in Happing Hundred.

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

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



A Chronology of Medieval Happisburgh
Description, history and pictures.
This is a link to an archived copy.

Land & Property

Kelly, Geoffrey Ian
Barron Lodge Farm Happisburgh: a history.
[Typescript in Norwich Local Studies Library, 2001]
Land Allotment and Drainage
See Hempstead near Stalham.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Land and Property



Maritime Records

There were many shipwrecks off the coast of Happisburgh, on the Hasbro sands. There is also a mass grave in the churchyard for 119 of the crew of HMS Invincible, which foundered offshore in March 1801.

Happisburgh Lifeboat Station
Description, history and pictures.
Leach, Nicholas
A history of Happisburgh lifeboat station.
[ISBN 0952279908, Norfolk and Suffolk Research Group, 1994]
Leach, Nicholas
The Happisburgh Lifeboats.
[ISBN 0952279932, Norfolk and Suffolk Research Group, 1999]
Hayes, Derek R.
His Majesty's late ship the Invincible: third rate 74 guns, 1765-1801.
The wreck off Happisburgh, March 1801.
[ISBN 0951083201, 1985]
Trett, Mary H.
The tragic shore: the loss of HMS Peggy and HMS Invincible.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference TG381308 (Lat/Lon: 52.822319, 1.531906), Happisburgh which are provided by:


Military Records

Roll of Honour
World Wars 1 and 2, and HMS Invincible.

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
1801  93114526
1811  89107487
1821  95118523
Year  Inhabited

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.

1861 Census
"TUNSTEAD. The decrease of population in most of the parishes comprised in the Tunstead District, which forms the "Tunstead and Happing Incorporation" for the support of the poor, is attributed to emigration and the migration of young persons to other parts."
1901 Census
"Including Happisburgh Common, and Whimpwell Green."


Happisburgh Heritage Group
Description, membership, etc.