Weird Norfolk: The mysterious mermaid of Sheringham

The Legend of the Mermaid at All Saints Church, Upper Sheringham.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Legend of the Mermaid at All Saints Church, Upper Sheringham. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

It's a whole new take on the concept of a siren call that saw the tables turned on a mermaid lured to shore by the sweet singing of a Sheringham congregation.

The 15th century pews in the 900-year-old church of All Saints in Upper Sheringham tell the fishy tale of an unusual visitor to the village who has left her mark on this corner of north Norfolk for all to see.

There, on the bench end of the pew closest to the north door is a not-so-little mermaid, a formidable-looking siren of the sea immortalised in carved wood.


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Legend has it that the mermaid was drawn to the church from more than a mile away by the sound of heavenly singing and, despite the encumbrance of a tail, dragged herself laboriously from beach to churchyard.

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With the service still in full swing, the church Beadle unceremoniously slammed the door in the face of the sea princess, leaving her floundering outside.

'Git yew arn out, we carn't have noo marmeards in 'are,' the Beadle hissed.

But mermaids are made of stern stuff and a mile and a half is too far to slither without a sit-down - as soon as she was able, she crept into the back of the church and can still be found there today.

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