Godwick is located six miles south of Fakenham - half way between Tittleshall and Whissonsett and is one of the county's most iconic lost villages. The famous ruined tower of All Saint's Church tower stands alone in a field surrounded by pronounced earthworks and sunken ways.

All Saints Church Tower

Aerial Photograph by John Fielding (Click for larger version)

It appears that Godwick was always a small (but stable) settlement until it began to decline in the 15th-century. In 1428 it had only 10 households and by 1508 11 of its 18 properties were empty. By 1585 it had virtually disappeared. Since then it has been incorporated into the parish of Tittleshall (Tittleshall-cum-Godwick).

The soil in this part of Norfolk has a high clay content and is poorly drained (see top photograph) - making it generally unproductive for agriculture. This, more than anything, may have caused the decline of Godwick - although Alan Davison has suggested that engrossment may have exascerbated the problem. There are a high number of deserted villages in this part of Norfolk including: Oxwick, Tattersett, Testerton, Greynston and Pudding Norton.

Today, there is a clearly visible sunk way which runs east to west and two further roads running off to the south. In addition there are the remains of ten sets of banks and ditches which separated the individual house plots and the foundations of Godwick Hall. Ian Groves from the UEA has recently used a radio controlled Hexcam to take aerial photographs of the site and has produced some astonishingly detailed shots of the earthworks and foundations.

Godwick was once owned by the Coke family - who later moved to Holkham on the North Norfolk coast where they contructed Holkham Hall (1730-44). In building the hall, they created another deserted community when they moved the existing village of Holkham. The new village, which was shifted closer to the sea,  sat outside of the six-mile long estate wall. St Withburga's church, however, remained inside the wall and became the Coke family chapel and mausoleum.

Sir Edward Coke, who built Godwick Hall, has a splendid memorial inside St Mary's Church at Tittleshall.

There is public access to Godwick by means of an agreement between English Heritage and the land owner.

More photographs of Godwick





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