South Elmham St. Nicholas was one of "The Saints" (see below), a group of parishes in Suffolk near the border with Norfolk. The current hamlet is in the civil parish of South Elmham All Saints and St. Nicholas in the Waveney District. South Elmham St. Nicholas was merged with South Elmham All Saints in 1737.
The "Saints" are a group of parishes (usually with a village) in Suffolk, England, between the rivers Blyth and Waveney near to the border with Norfolk. The parishes are all named after their general area of South Elmham (to the west) or Ilketstall (to the east) plus the saint to which their parish church is dedicated. Known by locals as 'up the Parishes' the area is found between the small towns of Halesworth, Harleston, Bungay and Beccles.
During World War II signposts were removed which resulted in many US Airman having difficulty finding the way back to RAF Bungay at Flixton and other local airfields including Metfield. Ilketshall is named after the 'hall of Alfkethill'. South Elmham comes from the Anglo-Saxon "hamlet where elms grew" and is first mentioned in Domesday Book of 1086 as "Almeham". North Elmham is in Norfolk, thirty miles away.
The formal names of each of "the Saints" parishes are as follows:
Each of the villages were ancient or ecclesiastical parishes and to the present also constitutes a civil parish, apart from South Elmham All Saints and South Elmham St. Nicholas, which are now joined together in the South Elmham All Saints and St Nicholas parish within Waveney District.