Arms of Heydon of Heydon, Co. Norfolk

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"An ancient family, belonging to the Order of Knights", the Haydens (also spelled Haydon or Heydon) take their name from the village of Heydon, Norfolk, England, where they were first seated. The village name of Heydon comes from "high down" meaning a "plain on the hill". The village was taken by William the Conqueror from a Saxon family named Whither, and given to the Earl of Warren, William de Warren. The early Haydens intermarried with the Warrens and other prominent Norman families and held the manor of Hayden Hall. The original Heydon Hall is now gone, but was replaced in the 1500's by a magnificent Heydon Hall which still stands today.

Left: Ivy-covered archway to the stables at Hayden Hall.

The property was sold by the Haydens to the Dynnes in 1567, and Henry Dynne built the current Heydon Hall in 1582. The Dynnes in turn sold it to the Earles in 1640. In 1756, William Wiggett Bulwer married Mary Earle and united their estates. Heydon Hall is still in the Bulwer family today. The estate includes a clocktower and a two-acre walled garden on the property.

Above: Heydon Hall today. It was restored in the 1970's by the Bulwers who live there today. The two story "Old Laundry" behind the manor has been turned into a charming B&B, which serves as a great home base while conducting Hayden family research at the nearby Norfolk Records Office in Norwich. (Reservations at 01144 1263 587343 from USA or 01263 587343 from Great Britain.)

The earliest Heydon of record is Samuel de Heydon. His son, Thomas de Hayden, was born c. 1185 and died about 1250. He was a justice itinerant in Norfolk in 1221 during the reign of Henry III, a position that was created by the Magna Carta. (The Hayden genealogy is included in the gedcom file.) Included in the Hayden estate is the village of Hayden itself; today it is still the only privately owned village in Norfolk, England.

Although there is no visible trace of the original Hayden Hall today, Jazeb Haskell Hayden wrote in his 1888 book, Connecticut Line of the Hayden Family: "On visiting the town of Hayden, we found a beautiful district of country, and were very kindly received at the rectory by the Rev. Mr. Shand, who showed us the fine old church, built in what is known as the "perpendicular" or early English style, and introduced us also at Hayden Hall, the residence of Mr. Bulwer. On the way over through the park, he pointed out the site of the ancient Hall, which existed before the present one was built. This one, erected in 1581, is a fine specimen of its kind, filled with paintings, books, and the other usual indications of wealth and refinement."

St. Peter and St. Paul Church in Hayden was "modernized" in 1470 but still retains several features which were present at the time of the Haydens, who left Hayden in 1447. The oldest feature in the church is the 700 year old font, probably used to baptize some of the Haydens. It also still has the pulpit from 1470, in a very rare "wine glass" design, historic 14th century wall paintings discovered in 1970 beneath the whitewash, and a side entryway from the 1300's. The "perpendicular" style tower was added in about 1470.

Right: The Hayden shield, hanging in Hayden Church, was probably used in a procession for one of the early Haydens who had taken part in a crusade.

Simeon Hayden, the fourth generation at Heydon Hall, had a son Sir Richard Heydon who went to war in the time of King Edward III and the Black Prince and was killed in France in 1370. His son, John, is the first of the Haydens recorded at "The Grove" of Cassiobury. They held The Grove along with other property there, including Watford Place. The original Hayden Manor at the Grove no longer exists but its replacement is currently being renovated and will open as a hotel in 2003. An archeological dig was conducted recently on the grounds of The Grove. This branch of the Haydens eventually settled in St. Mary's County, Maryland and became a prominent family of that area, including the Robert Hayden family of St. Mary's County.

The Main line of the Haydens settled in village of Baconsthorpe near Hayden, where they flourished for many generations. They accumulated several manors in the area and married into a number of prominent families, most notably the marriage of Sir Henry Hayden who died in 1503 and married Ann Boleyn, aunt of Anne Boleyn, the second Queen of Henry VIII. Sir Henry Hayden would have been a frequent visitor at the Boleyn family seat, Hever Castle in Kent. The Haydens built Baconsthorpe Castle in c. 1450 and have several monuments and windows dedicated to the Haydens at Baconsthorpe Church. Although in ruins, there are still current occupants of Baconsthorpe Castle living there today.

Baconsthorpe Castle today, surrounded by a moat. It was largely destroyed in 1650 after a long seige by roundhead troops. Its stained glass windows were moved to the church.

The ruins of baconsthorpe Hall, today known as Baconsthorpe Castle, include one remaining octogon gatehouse tower. The castle was equipped with narrow keyhole slots for firearms. The Haydens had to get special permission from the king to crenalate, or fortify, the manor.


Left: Baconsthorpe Castle, looking across the moat through the main gateway entrance to the ruins.


Right: The Baconsthorpe Castle ruins in October, 1883. This is the same structure as seen through the opening of the gateway arch above, but ivy-covered in 1883.


Right: Windows in St. Mary's Church at Baconsthorpe, showing arms of the Haydens.


Left: Stained glass window at Baconsthorpe Church showing the Hayden arms,


Right: Hayden monuments in the Baconsthorpe church. The kneeling figures are of Sir William Hayden, who died 1523 and his wife, Ann Woodhouse. To the left of the large monument are several small brasses, moved from burial monuments within the church. They are various arms and brasses of the Haydens. The small one, third from top, is enlarged below.


Left: Brass monument moved from the tomb of Sir Christopher Hayden and Lady Ann Hayden to the wall (above). She is wearing a Mary Stuart cap and ruff and a heraldic mantle, including the arms of her father, Sir William Drury (Two pierced stars, or mullets, and a Tau Cross or "T"). The inscription for the tomb (now on a windowsill) reads, "Here under this tomb lieth ingraved bodies of Ladie Ann Hayden, daughter of Sir William Drury, knyght, sometime wyfe of Syr Christoper Hayden, of Baconsthorpe in the county of Norfolk, knight, which Ladie Ann deceased the Vth day of Sept Ao 1561, and the said Christopher the tenth day of Dec, 1579, and also the Ladie Temperance Heydon, second wife of the said Sir Chr., daughter of Sir Wymunde Carew, Kt. which Ladie Temperance deceased the nynth day of Oct., in Ao Dni 1577."


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Arms of Haydon of Bowood, Co. Devon

Arms of Hayden of Watford, Co. Kent

Arms of Hayden, Gurney, and Boleyn

Hayden Hall of Saxlingham, built c. 1550

Cadhay Hall, reign of Henry VIII

History of The Grove (by the AOC Archeolgy Group)

Search the GEDCOM file

John Hayden of Westminister, Maryland - Clifford McCarthy's page

Edward Hayden's Genealogy Page

Helena Hayden's Genealogy Page

Hayden email list

Hayden board at Genforum

Haydon board at Genforum



The GIDEON Family Page

The DRURY Family Page

The CARON Family Page

The McCAULEY Family Page

The GIDLEY Family Page

The POLLOCK Family Page

The LagacÚ Family Page


To correspond with other Hayden researchers, please sign the Hayden guestbook below. Be sure to name your early ancestors so others sharing common ancestors can find you. Stevenson, Drury, Caron, Gidley, Gideon, McCauley, LagacÚ and Pollock guestbooks are on those family pages.