The village of Old Hunstanton is recorded in the Domesday Book as ‘Hunestanestada’. Later it became part of the Le Strange family estates, King Edmund of East Anglia supposedly built the village. The River Hun runs to the coast just to the east of Old Hunstanton.
The parish church of St Mary, situated in the grounds of Hunstanton Hall, is a Grade I listed building. It was built by Sir Hamon le Strange in about 1300 and extensively rebuilt and restored during the 19th century by architect Frederick Preedy for Henry Le Strange (1815–1862), developer of New Hunstanton. In the parish, at the deserted medieval village of Barret Ringstead (or Ringstead Parva), is the ruined Chapel of St Andrew which is Grade II*.
St Mary’s churchyard contains the graves of a customs officer William Green and William Webb of the 15th Light Dragoons, both of whom were fatally wounded during a skirmish on the Hunstanton coast with smugglers. The clash occurred on the night of 25 September 1784, also claiming the life of another customs officer named Rennett. However, although the alleged perpetrators were tried at Thetford the following year it proved impossible to secure any convictions. Both gravestones are Grade II listed; one has “Here be the mangled remains of poor William Green an Honest Officer of Government who/in the faithful discharge of his duty/was inhumanely murdered/by a gang of smugglers in this parish.”