Bergh Apton occupies 805 hectres - just under 2,000 acres - of the South Norfolk district in the county of Norfolk. Its population of 428 (2001 Census) lives in 210 dwellings (recent parish survey). Originally it was two separate settlements; Berg (or Berc) in the south and a place named in Little Domesday as Appletuna (possibly a corruption of Appis Farm) that was to the north of what is now Church Road. The historian Francis Blomefield (1705-1752) records that the villages had been amalgamated in the reign of Edward I (1272-1307) but that the abandoned Apton church of St Martin was still visible, if in a decayed state, in the 15th Century. Later reports tell us that it had entirely disappeared by the 1830s no doubt as a result of it being a convenient source of building material for local houses including Church Farm and Street Farm.
The population is, as mentioned above, widespread and there is no defined centre (no village green, no pub and no village shop) but it is a remarkably lively community in which thriving voluntary organisations look after many aspects of its life.
Bergh Apton Conservation Trust (BACT) owns and actively cares for Church Plantation and Valley Marsh, two areas of land nestled between the parish church and the river Chet. Bergh Apton Local History Group (BALHG) fosters interest in and has done a great deal of research into life in the village over many centuries and has a significant archive of written and photographic material that it makes available to all interested parties including a "Bergh Apton Diaspora" spread around the world. One of its rather quirky but highly-entertaining annual events is the re-opening, "for one night only", The Hare, a pub that, until the late 1790s, occupied a buildng on a field off Threadneedle Street before it moved along the road to The Street for a few final years. History Group members and their friends celebrate the part it played in village life by meeting on a night in late summer at one of the other of its old venues to sup good ale and set the problems of the world to rights - as happens in every good pub.
Bergh Apton Community Arts Trust (BACAT) is best known for the Bergh Apton Sculpture Trails that, to date since 1997, have brought sculptors and the public together in private gardens, the village hall and the parish church in numbers that have grown in each of the six Trails to date (1997, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2011). An accurate count of attendance is difficult to assess but estimates of over 10,000 over the three weekends of the Trails of both 2008 and 2011 are not unreasonable. Bergh Apton and District Society (BADSoc) invites speakes to its monthly meeting in the village hall or, in the summer months, travels to interesting places around the country that combine interest with what the Society's organisers term "retail therapy".
The village hall, opened on Coronation Day in 1953 after an eighteen-year struggle raise money, provided a focus for public and private events for fifty-nine years with modest alterations and extensions along the way. In its sixtieth year it was the subject of a major refurbishment at a cost close to £150,000 that gave it modern facilities in a well-insulated and attractive public space that is now in great demand for public events and private functions. The parish church and the village hall run an annual Fete together in the grounds of The Manor of which the proceeds are shared equally. This joint operation has run since the 1960s and is a good example of how the village works together.
For the time being we have no shop and no post office. The shop and Post Office run by the Cushing family for two generation, that was part shop, part post office and part village news exchange, closed on the last day of 2012. The role of news exchange (aka gossip shop!) has been met in part by a monthly get-together in the village hall on the third Wednesday of every month in the village hall between 10.00 and 12.30 and, as 2014 approaches its end we are watching the construction of a new post office at Green Pastures on Hellington Corner that will open in mid 2015 and fill a much-needed gap.
Bergh Apton Newsletter
Tel: 01508 550473
For Genealogical Enquiries the local Diocesan Record Office is:
Norfolk Record Office
The Archive Centre
Telephone: 01603 222599
For Parish enquiries please contact:
Bergh Apton Parish Council
Contact the Parish Clerk, Philippa Fuller
Bergh Apton Village Hall
Contact: Hilary Ling
Bergh Apton Conservation Trust
Contact: Stephanie Crome
Bergh Apton Local History Group
Contact: John Ling
Bergh Apton Community Arts Trust
Contact: Steve Mitchell
Bergh Apton & District Society
Contact: Lynton Johnson
Churches in our Parish