"HEMSBY, or Hemesby parish, extends to the sea, and has a pleasant village, on a declivity, half a mile from the beach, and 6 miles N. by W. of Yarmouth. It has 608 inhabitants, and 1627 acres of land, belonging to a number of proprietors, among whom are Thomas Clowes, Esq., Mrs. Glasspoole, and Robert Copeman, Esq. The latter resides in the Hall, and is patron of the Church and lord of the manor, which anciently belonged to Norwich Cathedral; for we find that the prior, in the reign of Henry III., claimed homage of the tenants, and gave two palfreys to have a market; and in the 32nd of Edward I., he claimed here "wreck at sea, view of frankpledge, assize, free-warren, pillory, and tumbrel." The Church (St. Mary) is a vicarage, valued in the King's Book at £4. 6s. 8d., and in 1831, at £180; and now enjoyed by the Rev. Robt. Hales, M.A., of Herringswell, Suffolk." [William White, History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk (1845) - Transcription copyright © Pat Newby]



St Mary The Virgin Churchyard
Transcriptions of gravestones.
Congregational Church Cemetery
Transcriptions of gravestones.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Cemeteries


Church Directories

  • In 1883 the parish was in the Deanery of Flegg, in the archdeaconry of Norwich.
    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

Vincent, R.
Guide to the Parish Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Hemsby.
[Hemsby, The Church, 1986]
Methodist Church
Minister, services, picture, etc.
Follow the link to the home page, then search for the church.

Church Records

Hemsby Marriages 1556-1837.
See Phillimore's Marriage Registers, Volume 7.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Church Records


Civil Registration

For the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths between 1837 and 1923 (and for the censuses from 1851 to 1901), Hemsby was in Flegg Registration District. Between 1837 and 1850, the district was called East and West Flegg.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Civil Registration


Description & Travel

Simpson, Jack D.
Hemsby, pictures from the past.
[Norwich, Simpson Publications, 2002]
Simpson, Jack D.
Hemsby and District, from old picture postcards and photographs.
[Simpson Publications, 1997]

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Hemsby which are provided by:




Historical Geography

Hemsby is in West Flegg Hundred.

Parish outline and location.
See Parish Map for East Flegg and West Flegg Hundreds
Description of East Flegg and West Flegg Hundreds
1845: White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk

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



Beech, George
A history of Hemsby.
[Typescript in Norwich Local Studies Library, 1980s]
The story of Hemsby-on-sea, its history and evolution.
[Flegg, 1978]


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference TG490175 (Lat/Lon: 52.698026, 1.684084), Hemsby which are provided by:


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
Families Population
1801   62   74 367
1811   67   96 436
1821   79 121 498
1831   78 111 560
1841 129   -- 591
1851 157   -- 739
Year   Inhabited
Families Population
1861 150   -- 664
1871 173 173 725
1881 162 165 648
1891 174 174 692
1901 169 169 715
1911   -- 181 713

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.

1821 Census
"An inclosure of land has taken place at Hemsby."
1861 Census
"The decrease of population in Hemsby parish is attributed to the migration of beachmen and fishermen to Scratby parish."