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Bilney News


MARCH 2018.



see here for more information.


(Campaign against Silica Extraction)
Sibelco are expected, shortly, to submit a planning application for the extension of the Grandcourt Quarry at East Winch.

More information will be shown here as it becomes available.

A group of concerned residents from West Bilney and East Winch have come together to run a campaign that will actively contest the plans to extract silica sand from the woodlands of West Bilney.
October 2016
Read more about this here

December 2016

Norfolk County Council formally submitted the Single Issue Silica Sand Review of the Minerals Site Specific Allocations DPD to the Planning Inspectorate (on behalf of the Secretary of State), on 8 December 2016, for independent examination

Learn more here

Concerns the Bilney Woods proposals


County Council CONSULTATION EXERCISE 2015/2016

(The Consultation exercise is now CLOSED to further representations).

Norfolk County Council are currently conducting a consultation about the future of sand quarrying in the area of West Bilney. Representations about this may be made to NCC, though note that the consultation is due to end on 27 October 2016. (It has been running since 14 September)
There is a nominated 'Area of Search' (AOS) which includes part of West Bilney woods.
The AOS has recently been altered  - to move the original southern boundary of the designated area further north - slightly reducing the total area.

Click to see much more about this; The complete County Council revised documents may be seen/downloaded from the linked page and a map of the AOS is also shown.

At a Parish Council meeting on Monday 10 October 2016, a number of parishoners expressed concern about the possible effects there might be on the area should mineral extraction take place in the future. A Councillor drew attention to the fact that at this stage there are no plans in place to effect extraction. The Area of Search is exactly that - an area in which a search may be made. Unless sand is found in sufficient quantities and of suitable quality there would be no further action.
The Parish Council agreed to write to the County Council to make known the concerns of Parishoners and urged individuals to make their own personal representations.

A copy of the Parish Council's letter to the County may be seen here (go to 5.1 in the contents box)


A Flower festival and Open weekend was held at St Cecilia's, West Bilney,

on Saturday & Sunday 20th & 21st June 2015.
On show were some of the historic books  belonging to the church, together with a mini flower festival with the theme of music

see more here

The Open Weekend at St. Cecilia's church on 27th -28th July 2013 turned out to be  really interesting. Lottery funding had been obtained to celebrate the life of Elizabeth Freke (d. 1714) and her relationship with "her" church, and to involve the community in the history of their village.

The graveyard had been mown, the church cleaned, and the sun shone through the clear glass windows onto window boxes of petunias and lavender. Wonderful things were on show, and two enormous 18th and 19th century maps of the parish attracted even more interest than the chalice and ewer which Elizabeth had given to the church. Old photos, old press reports, stone age tools and the amazing early 18th century bier drew and kept the crowds. Some people stayed all day, sharing memories with old friends and enjoying the delicious refreshments.

The County archeologist, who had arrived to lecture on medieval West Bilney, nearly fainted with astonishment as, looking through a box of oddments found with a metal detector, he identified a Saxon girdle hanger showing evidence of being only part finished - thus suggesting that in the 6th century there might have been a local workshop. There were also fascinating lectures about the way in which Percy Freke's funeral would have been conducted and the enormous cost of it, and about the exciting discoveries Nadfas church recorders make. 

At the morning Sunday service we sang the hymns that Elizabeth might have known, and the Reader spoke of her vision that the gathering of the community, past and present, round the ancient, small, and much altered church might keep alive both a community and a holy spirit. In the afternoon the Baroque Belles - Sylvia and Clare - performed  music contemporary with Elizabeth's life.

The discoveries of the weekend hinted at many things that need further investigation. Where was the old moated manor? Did the Roundheads bombard Pentney Abbey from Bilney woods? How old is the carved head in the tower?  And, of course, How can we build on this success? So the weekend is only a beginning; a starting point for further discoveries.  Many thanks to the people who made it so special.

Many people have contributed a large amount of  useful information, documents and photographs. In due course it is intended to post a good deal of this information on this website. Eventually it is hoped to bring as much as possible together into an album.

In the meantime we continue to research the history of the church and of West Bilney. If you have anything that you  think might be of interest please let us know - we should very much like to hear from you.

Some may remember that at the open event at the church, there were two large scale maps of Bilney on display. These maps have now been photographed with the intention that they will be posted on this web site and hopefully that a large print will be made.
 The maps were kindly loaned by Mr Velzeboer.
The photographs here show the maps being prepared for the photo shoot at the village hall.


NADFAS have now completed a survey of the church and a first copy of their report is in the hands of the PCC. This is a very comprehensive survey of the whole of the interior of the church. The survey includes details about memorials, stonework, paintings, fabrics, and so on and is certain to be the most comprehensive survey ever made of the church.

A number of photographs which form part of the NADFAS survey report are now posted on this web site - see here.

A brief guide to the church may be seen here

A similar survey has been completed at All Saints, East Winch.



See the results here

The photographing, subsequent processing and final printing of the maps has now been completed.
Examples of the maps may now be seen here, with details of how to obtain copies if you so wish.

A VERY PLEASANT EVENING WAS HELD AT THE VILLAGE HALL ON NOVEMBER 23rd; it was attended by many of the people who had had a hand in making the OPEN WEEKEND in July such a success.
The photograph shows the winning team of a light hearted quiz about West Bilney -
left to right :- Nick Velzeboer - David Turner - Dorothy Curl