"STIFFKEY, 3 miles E. of Wells, is a fine rural village, seated in a deep, romantic, and well wooded dale, on the banks of a small river, which discharges itself into the ocean, about 1½ mile to the north-east, and formerly had a quay and harbour. The parish contains 487 inhabitants, and about 2,235 acres, of which, about 600 are salt marsh, . . . Lord Charles Townshend owns a great part of the soil, and is lord of the manor, and patron of the rectory, which is valued in the King's Book at £25, and now enjoyed by the Rev. Randall Barwick Brereton, A.B., together with Morston, the livings being consolidated, and having 69 acres of glebe. A new Rectory House has lately been erected, and the joint rectories are now worth about £800 per annum. The tithes of Stiffkey have been commuted for £423, and those of Morston for £280 per annum. Here were formerly two CHURCHES, (both rectorial,) in one enclosure, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and St. Mary; but the latter is gone, and the other is a venerable pile, . . . standing on an acclivity near the Hall, which was built by Sir Nicholas Bacon,   . . . The New Hall is a neat cemented mansion, erected by James Buck, Esq., its present occupant, about 12 years ago. To the west of the village, ... is a promontory, called Warborough Hill, . . . and one mile to the east of it, is a green knowl, called Camping Hill, supposed to have been also entrenched. . . . The common was enclosed in 1793. A National School was built here, in 1845, at the cost of £200." [William White History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk (1845) - Transcription copyright © Pat Newby]


The name is sometimes pronounced as Stewkey.


Church Directories

  • In 1883 the parish was in the Deanery of Walsingham, 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 John the Baptist. There was formerly another church dedicated to St Mary.

Church History

Church of St John the Baptist
Description and pictures.

Church Records

Parish Register Transcriptss
Baptisms, Banns, Marriages and Burials.
These are not included in Boyd's Marriage Index or 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 1930 (and for the censuses from 1851 to 1901), Stiffkey was in Walsingham Registration District.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Civil Registration


Description & Travel

Stiffkey Water Mill
Description and pictures.
Sternberg, Joan
Don't tread on the Butterflies: memoirs of a childhood in Heacham and Stiffkey, 1912-1932.
[ISBN 0948400943, Dereham, Larks Press, 2000]

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Stiffkey which are provided by:




Historical Geography

Stiffkey is in North Greenhoe Hundred.

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

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



Bradfer-Lawrence, Harry Lawrence
Stiffkey alias Stewkey.
[Norwich, Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, in "Norfolk Archaeology, vol.23, 1929]
Campbell, Linda
The women of Stiffkey.
[Norwich, University of East Anglia Thesis, 1985]
Jones, Mrs Herbert
Stiffkey, a sketch.
[Norwich, Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, in "Norfolk Archaeology, vol.8, 1879]


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference TF973432 (Lat/Lon: 52.950241, 0.935296), Stiffkey which are provided by:


Military Records


Names, Personal


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  4343334
1811  4670305
1821  7878350
1831  9393460
Year  Inhabited
1861109  --513
1891  99118450
1901  99100429
1911  --  98381

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.