- Watton, Norfolk
infobox UK place
country = England
population= 6,800 (2001)
region= East of England
constituency_westminster= South West Norfolk
postcode_district = IP25
Watton is a
market townin the district of Breckland within the English county of Norfolk. It is situated on the crossroads of the A1075 Dereham- Thetfordroad and the B1108 Brandon- NorwichRoad, about 25 miles west of Norwich.The civil parish covers an area of 7.2 km² with about 6,800 inhabitants in 3,000 households.Office for National Statistics & Norfolk County Council (2001). " [http://www.norfolk.gov.uk/consumption/groups/public/documents/general_resources/ncc017867.xls Census population and household counts for unparished urban areas and all parishes] ".] The Domesday Bookrecords that Watton (or "Wadetuna") featured a church, manor house and Anglo-Saxon settlement.
In 1984 Watton was twinned with the
Lower Rhine( Niederrhein) town of Weeze, Germany, with the subsequent twinning charter being formally signed in 1987A History of Watton. "http://www.watton-norfolk.org.uk/ahistoryofwatton.html".]
marketis currently held every Wednesday. Between 1200and 1204the Lord of Watton Hall, John de Vaux, obtained a charterfor a market to be held on Fridays, however the people of nearby Saham Toneycomplained to the King that the market was harming their own held on the same day. Their complaints were upheld and the charter was withdrawn. John de Vaux conveyed the manor to his brother Oliver, who was evidently on better terms with the King since he immediately obtained a new charter for a Wednesday market. The market centred on Market Square in front of Wayland Hall, and as it grew it spread westwards along the high street. A Market Cross stood in the square supported by eight oak pillars. This Cross was demolished in 1820 and replaced by a milestoneshowing the distances to neighbouring towns [http://historyofwatton.org.uk/wattonttages/004.htm Watton through the Ages by George Jessop - The History of Watton, Norfolk ] ] .
.The nearby Wayland Wood is the setting of the old English
ballad"The Babes in the Wood". First published in 1595, it tells the tale of two Norfolk children abandoned and left to die in the woods by their uncle. The legend is depicted on the town sign, which occupies a prominent position in the High Street in front of the Clock Tower.
The Clock Tower of Watton was built in 1679 by Christopher Hey, a wealthy mercer. The tower was built to hold a fire warning bell following the 'Great Fire of Watton' that destroyed more than sixty properties in 1674 [ [http://www.wattonandswaffhamtimes.co.uk/content/wstimes/content/community/history.aspx The Watton & Swaffham Times ] ] . This early warning bell, known as 'Ting-Tang' sits in an ornate cupola on top of the tower. The brick tower was rendered with cement and a new clock, donated by a local citizen, was installed in 1827. To commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary in 1935, a new clock face was installed.
The clock is still working today and the building is now home to a Tourist and Local Information Centre.
Watton hosted a large RAF base for many years namely
RAF Watton, and this had a major effect on the town. The RAF station ended its days as a transport command base and as a radar station, as well as providing housing for many RAF personnel and their families [http://www.rafwatton.info/ RAF Watton History] . It is now only used for gliders. Part of the old military land became the location for Wayland Prison.
It is also used by USAF from RAF Mildenhall for training, using C130's for refuelling exercises and parachute training. It is also part of the Stanford Training Area (STANTA) and used for army training purposes.
The annual Wayland Show is one of Norfolk's oldest agricultural events having been held for over 130 years. The show attracts crowds of more than 5,000 people [ [http://www.wattonandswaffhamtimes.co.uk/content/wstimes/textonly/story.aspx?brand=WSOnline&category=news&tBrand=WSOnline&tCategory=TextOnly&itemid=NOED09%20Aug%202007%2010%3A35%3A14%3A010 Watton and Swaffham Times - Text Only ] ] to see displays of livestock, fur & feathers. The event also features displays of classic cars, vintage tractors, gundogs, falconry, and horse and carriage rides amongst others, and is held at The Meadows in Watton. In recent years the show has been affected by the 2001 and 2007 foot-and-mouth incidents resulting in the cancellation of the livestock sections of the show, and in 2005 the event was cancelled over fire safety concerns at the site.
ports & Social Club
Watton's Sports Centre was built in three separate stages between 1973 and 1984. The first stage was officially opened by Sir Edmund Bacon,
Lord Lieutenant of Norfolkin 1974, and consisted of a main games hall, bar area, committee rooms, changing rooms and a car park. The second stage contained two squash courts and a meeting room and was opened by the chairman of the National Playing Fields Associationin 1976. The third phase was completed in 1983 using profits generated from stages one and two and provided facilities for five-a-side football, cricket nets, badminton and basketball. The centre is home to Watton United F.C..
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/norfolk/voices/360_clocktower.shtml/ 360° view from Watton Clock Tower]
* [http://www.wattontowncouncil.org.uk/ Watton town council]
* [http://www.wayland.org.uk/site/site/Watton/ Wayland Partnership Watton Page]
* [http://www.watton.org/ Watton Pentecostal Church]
* [http://www.wattonsports.org.uk Watton Sports & Social Club]
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