It would be easy to dismiss Overstrand as little more than a suburb of Cromer, but it has a long and, at times, interesting history.
Founded probably sometime in the 5th century by invading Angles, Overstrand was a well established settlement by the time of the Domesday survey.
Little happened from then until 1883 when the Daily Telegraph sent Clement Scott, its literary and drama critic to Cromer to investigate the new resort. As he could not find anywhere to stay, he walked along the cliffs to what was then the tiny fishing village of Overstrand. He found lodging with with the local miller, and immediately fell in love with the area (not to mention the miller's daughter).
He christened the area "Poppyland", and wrote extensively about it. As a result many rich and famous people visited Overstrand,
some of whom chose to build summer residences.
Chief among these was Cyril Flowers Liberal MP (later to become Lord Battersea and Overstrand) who built The Pleasaunce, along with Lord and Lady Hillingdon (Overstrand Hall), Sir George Lewis (The Danish Pavilion), Lord Wolverhampton (Carrwood House), Sir Edgar Speyer (Sea Marge), Sir Frederick MacMillan (Meadow Cottage) and many others. At one time there were six millionaires in the village.
All these properties still stand, with the exception of the Danish Pavilion, which burnt down in 1953. Only the Sea Marge is easily accessible to the general public as it is now a hotel which does a fine line in Bar Meals.
Modern-day Overstrand is a quiet place, the beach, the cliff-top cafe, and the fine walk into Cromer being the only things to attract the visitor.
There is some crab fishing. The boats are stored on the cliff-top in front of the cafe.
The cliffs at the east end of the village are particularly subject to erosion, and the High Street now comes to and abrupt halt where the grand Overstrand Hotel once stood.
St Martin's Church
The Parish Church of St Martins, Overstrand has had chequered history.
The original church fell into the sea in the late 14th century, and was rebuilt on the current site in the early 15th.
By the 18th century it had fallen into disrepair, and was replaced in 1867 by a new church in the churchyard. This proved to be too small, so in 1911 the the decision was taken to restore the old church which was rededicated in 1914.
External Links and References
St Martin, Overstrand
More on the church and lots of photos from the Norfolk Churches site. http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk/overstrand/overstrand.htm
The Clock Tower
This extraordinary building, part of the stable block of The Pleasaunce, can best be seen from The Londs. It is called the Clock Tower, although from the road there is no sign of a clock.
There is one; it faces into the stable yard and can be seen in this photo on Flickr.
Presumably, like most of The Pleasaunce, the tower was designed by Edwin Lutyens.
The Methodist Church
An odd little building; Overstrand Methodist Church was designed in 1898 by Edwin Lutyens, presumably on an off day, although the doorway is handsome enough.
A surprisingly modern building, given its date. The set of buttresses which run beneath the clerestory presage the brutal functionalist architecture of our modern times.
External Links and References
Methodist Church, Overstrand
More on the church from the Norfolk Churches site. http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk/overstrandmeth/overstrandmeth.htm