Parish of Heigham St. Barnabas with St. Bartholomew, Norwich
Evidence of the Roman and Saxon periods have been found in the western part of Heigham (“village by the water ”).
The near 45 feet square tower remains of the largely 15th century mother church, dedicated to St. Bartholomew, now stands in parkland at the junction of Heigham Street with Northumberland Street.
The population of the original parish of Heigham grew by over 13,000 in 60 years from 1801. Hence , it became both necessary to enlarge the church and provide 4 additional churches during the latter part of the 19th century , including a small 1866 Mission Church in Derby Street at the opposite end. This , in turn, led to the building and consecration of St. Barnabas Church in nearby Russell Street by the then Bishop of Norwich, John Sheepshanks, on 25th January 1906 (The Foundation Stone was laid on 11th June 1903).
The mother church was extensively damaged during the 2nd World War and , following temporary alternative arrangements, a disused primitive Methodist chapel at the corner of Nelson Street and Armes Street was consecrated in 1960. However, in 1975, the parish of St. Bartholomew was finally united with St. Barnabas.
Some retrieved items from St. Bartholomew’s Church can be found in St. Barnabas Church or in the care of the Castle Museum and Norfolk Records Office. St. Barnabas Church itself has several notable items of historic interest including a large framed painting of Bishop John Sheepshanks ( given in 1911) , the high water mark of the Great Flood ( August 1912) , a carved wooden pulpit figure of St. Barnabas (1916), a War Memorial ( inscribed with the names of some 200 servicemen from the 1st & 2nd World Wars) and several stained glass windows, including a seven light East Window ( 1st World War).
A Memorial Garden for the burial of ashes was blessed in 1978.
The oldest part of the adjoining Hall buildings to the south-east was originally a Victorian Cloth Works.
Many of the original terraced houses and other buildings were demolished during the redevelopment which took place in the 1960’s and 1970’s although the street names have mostly been retained in the replacement housing schemes or the now light industrial estate on the northern side of the parish. The eastern part of the latter site also contained the former Midland and Great Northern Railway City Station (closed for passengers in 1959 and goods in 1969). The western part of the site marks the spot of a USA AF bomber crash ( 24th November 1944).
The Church has produced seven guide booklets which cover in greater detail various aspects of the history of the Church and its Parish.