History of Norfolk

History of Norfolk

This history of the County of Norfolk, England is broken into specific time periods. For the prehistory of Norfolk see Prehistoric Norfolk


In Roman times much of the region was farmed by Romanised locals and immigrants to the area. A number of Roman roads cross the region and Roman remains are known at Burnham Market, Caister-on-Sea, Burgh Castle, with evidence of Roman settlement quite widespread across the area. It is thought that the Romanised Britons used the area for farming, particularly cereals with some evidence of vineyards. "Mention Boadicea and the Iceni."

axon Norfolk

Mention :

1.) The coming of the Danes who sacked Norwich.2.) King Cnut and his control of the Norfolk area.3.) Saxon towns and villages.

Mention:Early Saxon villages of:Norwic/Norvic, Coslany, Westwic, & Conesford, all close to the river Wensum.

Mention: 870 The Danes defeat King Edmunds Army.

Mention: Local legend of Black Shuck may date to this period.

Mediæval Norfolk

The City of Norwich was founded in the 1100s though the settlement is much older. Construction of Norwich cathedral began.

The story of Julian of Norwich (1342 - c.1429) also dates to this period. She is noted as being the first woman to have written a book in English.

Another legend from Norfolk dating to this period is the Pedlar of Swaffham. The legacy of this tale can be seen to this day in the choir area of the church. Here stand two wooden pews. One has the carvings of a pedlar and his dog, the other of a woman looking over the door of a shop.

Tudor Norfolk (1485-1603)

Mention: Kett's Rebellion.

tuart Norfolk (1603-1714)

Mention: The puritans who left Norfolk for New England.

Norfolk and the English civil war.

18th Century Norfolk

1785 and 1786 saw the first Aviation Activity in the county of Norfolk when several manned gas balloon flights were made from Quantrell's Gardens in Norwich.

Mention: Thomas Paine one of the founding fathers of the US.

19th Century Norfolk

"The coming of the railway."

Mention: Admiral Nelson and the effects of the industrial revolution on the county.
Colmans mustard founded.

20th Century Norfolk

Norfolk from 1900 to World War I

"Don't know what to put here..."

Norfolk during World War I

"Needs expanding and generally sorting out."

The First World War was significant to the county of Norfolk in a number of ways. Large numbers of men of fighting age were called up to join local regiments that were sent to fight in France, virtually every Norfolk village has a war memorial that records the names of those who lost their lives.

The war was the first time that significant aviation activity spread throughout the county with a large number of aerodromes and landing grounds being built. Significantly Pulham Market in the south of the county was one of the few locations where airships were stationed. Boulton and Paul in Norwich and Savages of Kings Lynn were both involved in aircraft production each company producing many hundreds of aircraft for the war effort, Boulton and Paul exists to the present time as a joinery company and remained in aviation as late as the 1960s.

The county was one of the first places on earth bombed from the air when German Zeppelin airships raided the county a number of times. Late in the war Zeppelin L70 was shot down off the Norfolk Coast by Major Egbert Cadbury of the Royal Air Force, onboard the doomed Zeppelin was Fregatenkapitan Peter Strasser, commander of the German Naval Airship Service, all on board were killed, a number of the men being buried in churchyards along the coast.

Mention: Edith Cavell.

Norfolk 1919 to World War II

"Needs expanding and Wikification"

The interwar period saw the first sustained mechanisation of farms with horse drawn equipment gradually falling from use to be replaced with steam and petrol driven machinery. Many farms grew in size as smaller farms were swallowed up being uncompetitive.

Norfolk during World War II

"Talk about the Norfolk people that went to fight, the people that came to Norfolk from all over the world to fight and their impact on the community. Bombing of Norwich and the rest of the county, building of airfields, threat of invasion, impact of evacuees from London."

Postwar Norfolk

"Talk about the growth of North Sea Oil, the changes to agriculture as it fully mechanised and farm employment shrunk. The growth of Norwich as a centre for insurance. The impact of the cold wae and the impact of a large number of permanent US Service personnel."

21st Century Norfolk

"Talk about the growth of Norwich commercially, the strength of local tourism, the start of the decline in North Sea Oil and Gas. The struggle that agriculture is undergoing."


Clarke, J. G. D. & Fell, C. I., (1953) ‘The Early Iron Age Site at Micklemoor Hill West Harling, Norfolk, and its Pottery’ Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 19 part 1 pp 1-40

Clarke, J. D. G., (1936) ‘The Timber Monument at Arminghall, and its Affinities’ Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 2 part 1 pp 1-51

Healy, F. M., (1988) The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Spong Hill, North Elmham, Part VI: Occupation during the Seventh to Second Millennia BC, East Anglian Archaeology 39, Norfolk Museums Service

Lawson, A. J., (1983) The Archaeology of Witton, East Anglian Archaeology 18, Norfolk Museums Service

Sainty, J. E., (1924) ‘A flaking site on Kelling Heath, Norfolk’ PSEA 4 pp 165-176

Sainty, J. E., (1925) ‘The Kelling flaking site’ PSEA 5 pp 283-287

Sainty, J. E., (1947) ‘Mesolithic sites in Norfolk’ in Norfolk Archaeology 28 pp 234-237

Wade-Martins, P., Ed., (1993) An Historical Atlas of Norfolk, Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service

Wainwright, G. J., (1972) ‘The Excavation of a Neolithic Settlement on Broome Heath, Ditchingham, Norfolk’ PPS 38 pp 1-97

Wainwright, G. J., (1973) ‘The Excavation of Prehistoric and Romano-British Settlements at Eaton Heath, Norwich’ Arch J 130 pp 1-43

Williamson, T., (1993) The Origins of Norfolk, Manchester University Press

Wymer , J., (1991) Mesolithic Britain, Shire Archaeology

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