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Oulton Chapel and Heydon

On the 8th August 2013 we enjoyed a lovely day out with a visit to little known Oulton Chapel followed by a walk in Heydon Park with Esme Bagnall-Oakeley and tea!

Oulton and Heydon Oulton and Heydon

This nonconformist chapel was constructed in 1727. For the modern visitor the fascination of the place lies in its solemn simplicity set in fine Norfolk countryside. But this is a long way from the intentions of its founders; for them being out of the way meant they would not be bothered by those who disapproved of their puritan religion.

At first glance, with its Dutch gable ends it looks more like a substantial house rather than a chapel. Inside, its raised gallery still contains the original box pews and the original panelling is also still in place along with large Tuscan-style pillars.

Oulton and Heydon Oulton and Heydon

By the 1960s it was in disrepair - the congregation had moved away from chapel worship and water intrusion was rotting the building. In the late 1980s it was bought by Norfolk Historical Buildings Trust and a programme of restoration was carried out, culminating in 1991 with a service of thanksgiving. It is still possible to visit this out of the way gem - each 2nd Sunday in the month between 2.00pm and 4.00pm, April through October.

Oulton and Heydon Oulton and Heydon

Afterwards we travelled on to Heydon - one of only a dozen privately owned English villages. Esme Bagnall-Oakeley introduced us to the history of the Bulwer family during a walk in the park grounds where we discovered ancient oak trees and boars standing proud like sentinels at the house gates. A quick stop at the late-medieval church of St Peter and St Paul was followed by a delicious tea at Heydon Village Tea Shop.