The most expensive places to live in Norfolk – Overstrand

07:00 8 October 2022

As you explore this wonderful part of our county, you can see why the rich and famous once flocked to us…and still do.

Overstrand is a gem in the crown of Norfolk, located between Cromer and Mundesley.

And what a story it has to tell.

There was a time when residents included tobacco tycoon Sir William Player and pharmaceutical company founder Sir Jessie Boot.

Henry Royce of Rolls Royce loved the village and lived there for a time. Then there was Lord Frederick Macmillan, chairman of the publishing house, and uncle of Lord Stockton, former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.

Another resident was the brilliant Norwich architect Edward Boardman, responsible for transforming Norwich Castle from a prison to a museum and much more.

The Countess of Yarborough lived in the village with her husband John Maunsell Richardson who was considered the finest ‘gentleman’ rider in the country having won the Grand National in 1873/4.

The footbridge and the beautiful beach of Overstrand
– Credit: Mike Adcock Collection in care of Norwich Heritage Projects

Speaking of sports heroes, Canon Edward Lyttelton, Principal of Eton College, was a sportsman of some repute who lived in Overstrand. Captain of Cambridge Cricket X1, he played at Lords and in 1878 played football for England as well as being the author of numerous books.

This information and more comes from a fascinating Overstand Village History Trail, telling the extraordinary story of the coastal village, and published by the Parish Council with research by Terence Richards. It is sponsored by Ivy Farm Holiday Park.

It seems that at every turn there is a building with a story to tell, and then there is the sports field where many community events take place.

It was originally the private cricket ground owned by Lord Battersea. The lord and his lady lived at The Pleasurance designed by the famous Sir Edward Lutyens in 1879.

He also built houses for his guests and staff. Then in 1936 it was brought by the village and placed in a trust so that cricket and other games could be played there “in perpetuity”.

As you walk through Overstrand you will come across the Church Hall, one of the few surviving pre-fabricated buildings made by one of the largest companies to ever operate in Norwich and Norfolk…Boulton & Paul.

This was provided by Lord Battersea as a convalescent home for the Metropolitan Hospital and was used as a military hospital during the First World War.

The Boulton & Paul Overstrand Bomber was an aircraft that first flew in 1933 and was finally retired from service in 1941.

The approach to Overstrand beach a century or more ago

The approach to Overstrand beach a century or more ago
– Credit: Mike Adcock Collection in care of Norwich Heritage Projects

It was the writer Clement Scott who wrote an article in the Daily Telegraph in 1893 titled Poppyland. The name stuck.

A few years later Lord Suffield of Gunton Hall began building a number of houses in Harbord Road (Harbord being the surname).

In 1903 a court circular reported that “Overstrand was peopled with a large section of distinctly superior people” and it became known as the “millionaire’s village”.

Today it remains a wonderful place to live and visit.

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