As a civil parish, Costessey is four miles west of Norwich in Norfolk, England. The parish comprises two settlements. It is the long-established village of Costessey, known as Old Costessey, and New Costessey, which developed during the first half of the 20th century. These two settlements are separated by the River Tud as well as by fertile land.
Costessey is nested between the valleys of the Rivers Wensum and Tud. From the Archaeological records we have available, it has been shown that there was a strong farming community on this site during the late Bronze Age and also during Roman times.
It is more than likely that the Anglo-Saxon settlers established this community at some point after 600 AD, and it is generally believed that the name Costessey, meaning Kost’s Island, dates from this time. We have, records from 1648 which recount that Oliver Cromwell referred to the village and estate as Cossey, which may indicate that the current pronunciation of the name has existed for a very long time. We also have evidence that suggests that the spelling was changed from Cossey to Costessey during the 19th century.
Then And Now
The Costessey of today has a range of local shops and services. There are four pubs, these are The Bush, The Harte, The Crown and The Copper Beech, which was built in 2011 near Longwater Retail Park. There is also a new doctors surgery, the Roundwell Medical Centre, was recently built on the site of the old Roundwell Pub, situated near the Dereham Road/Longwater Lane junction, replacing the old surgery at the opposite end of Longwater Lane. In early summer of 2010, the Costessey Centre, a new community centre, opened at the Longwater Lane recreation grounds.
The entire town, while small, is charming, and provides ample opportunity to enjoy vaping. So, be sure to take your favourite e-liquids from Medusa Juice with you while visiting. If you do forget something or just want to go on a little outing to the bigger communities nearby, why not visit the Medusa Juice Vape Shops located in King’s Lynn, Norwich and Peterborough? You won’t find better prices on the best products.
The town of Costessey features in the legend of St Walstan, the little-known patron saint of farm labourers, who is remembered in villages across Norfolk and north Suffolk. According to legend, Walstan was born into the nobility at neighbouring Bawburgh, which was then part of the Costessey estate at that time. Sometime around 970, he relinquished his privileges, choosing instead to spend most of his life working as a farm labourer in Taverham. Supposedly, his initial route took him on foot from Bawburgh to Taverham by way of Costessey Park, where he donated his fine garments to some passing peasants. After his death and the return of his body by cart to Bawburgh, it’s said that springs of holy water have arisen at three sites in Taverham, Costessey and Bawburgh.
If you have a chance, you might enjoy looking further into this legend. If nothing else, it should provide you a nice drive in some lovely countryside.
Buildings And Bigwigs
According to the Domesday records, the village of Costesela appears, with mention of a mill, and of a manor on a large estate including the only listed hunting park in Norfolk. All of this had belonged to Earl Gyrth Godwinson formerly, but was later awarded by William the Conqueror to his Breton relative, Count Alan Rufus. This began a 500-year period in which ownership of the manor passed through a variety of families, and regularly being reverted to the Crown and reallocated.
Then, in 1546, Henry VIII granted the manor to Anne of Cleves, although evidence suggests that she never actually physically occupied Costessey Hall. The surviving early Tudor building sited in what remains of Costessey Park is commonly thought to be the hall granted by Henry to Anne.
In 1555, Queen Mary granted Costessey Manor to Sir Henry Jerningham, heralding a long period of occupancy by the their family. Sir Henry commissioned the building of a new Tudor Hall on Costessey Park, at the beginning of his residency there in 1565. So as you can see, this manor got around a bit.
However, 1827, Sir George William Jerningham commissioned large-scale grand and elaborate expansions of Sir Henry’s Hall. The plans included many towers and mock-Tudor windows. The project continued over several decades, even being continued by the 9th Baron Stafford from 1851, and although many features of the new design were realised, completion was ultimately prevented by dwindling funds. Isn’t that too often the case? I guess builders have always been expensive.
In 1884, the 10th Baron Stafford, inherited the title, and was certified as a lunatic during his ownership. Which meant that the estate was held by the Lunacy Commission. Finally, ownership passed to the generous and reclusive Sir Fitz Osbert Stafford Jerningham, 11th Baron Stafford. He resided at Costessey Hall until his death in 1913, upon which the Hall’s contents were auctioned at a high-profile sale. Man, that’s one estate sale, I’d have loved to have been at.
Costessey Hall was gradually worn and weathered, plundered by builders, and carefully demolished over a period of several decades. In fact, during the training for World War II, one of the towers was struck by a fully armed Blenheim Bomber from a nearby airfield. The accident caused the death of the unfortunate pilot, but inflicted remarkably little damage upon the tower. I guess we should be grateful for small mercies.
Today, all that remains of the building is the ivy-clad belfry tower, and a small adjoining block, which stand prominently in what is now Costessey Park Golf Course. A Costessey village sign depicts the hall in its former splendour.
So, stop in at some of the smalls shops and pubs in Costessey, play a round of golf, stroll the town centre and don’t forget to enjoy your great tasting Medusa Juice e-liquids while you’re there. The parish also contains out-of-town superstores and a Park and Ride site, which serve communities to the west of Norwich. Take advantage of this service and have a great time in Costessey.