Heckingham lies 2 miles east of Loddon. The name derives from the homestead of Heca's people - hence Heca + ingas (the people of) + ham (homestead).

St Gregory's Church Heckingham

Today, Heckingham consists of a few farms and houses scattered over a wide area of land above the River Chet. However, the Domesday Book records a substantial population here.

Studies of Heckingham indicate that its settlements have shifted over time. There is evidence of an early Saxon settlement to the south of the church and then a movement northwards during the middle Saxon period towards the valley of the Chet. Then during the late Saxon period there was a shift back towards the south - but not as far as the early Saxon settlement.

Alan Davison has suggested that sea level rises in the 13th Century may have prompted a movement away from the River Chet to higher ground.

The population of Heckingham was small in 1334, had reduced by at least 18% by 1449 and continued to decline in the late medieval period.

The church of St Gregory, which is cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust, sits on its own on a small hill. It has a round tower at the base with an octagonal top and a magnificent Norman south door. It is very similar in design to St Margaret's Church at Hales - Hales being another deserted (or shifted) village.






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