Facts about Costessey
Costessey features in the legend of St Walstan, the little-known patron saint of farm labourers, who is remembered in villages across Norfolk and north Suffolk. According to legend, Walstan was born into the nobility at neighbouring Bawburgh – then part of the Costessey estate – circa 970, but relinquished his privileges, choosing instead to spend most of his life working as a farm labourer in Taverham. It is said that his initial route took him on foot from Bawburgh to Taverham through Costessey Park, where he donated his fine garments to some passing peasants. Following his death and the return of his body by cart to Bawburgh, springs of holy water are said to have arisen at three sites in Taverham, Costessey and Bawburgh.
Costessey lies in the valleys of the Rivers Wensum and Tud. Archaeological records indicate that there was a strong farming community on this site during the late Bronze Age and Roman times. Anglo-Saxon settlers established a community at some point after 600 AD, and it is generally believed that the name Costessey, meaning Kost’s Island, dates from this time. Furthermore, records from 1648 recount that Oliver Cromwell referred to the village and estate as Cossey, indicating that the current pronunciation of the name has long existed. There is also evidence to suggest that the spelling was changed from Cossey to Costessey in the 19th century.