North Walsham

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North Walsham
North Walsham - - 311284.jpg
North Walsham market cross
Grid reference: TG282302
Location: 52°49’16"N, 1°23’13"E
Population: 11,988
Post town: North Walsham
Postcode: NR28
Dialling code: 01692
Local Government
Council: North Norfolk
North Norfolk

North Walsham is a market town in Norfolk. The town is 7 miles south of Cromer and the same distance north of Wroxham. The county town, the City of Norwich, is 15 miles to the south.

The town is served by North Walsham railway station, on the "Bittern Line" between Norwich, Cromer and Sheringham. The main road through the town is the A149. Also, the town is on the B1145 between King's Lynn and Mundesley.

The North Walsham & Dilham Canal runs through North Walshm. This is a privately canal, owned by the North Walsham Canal Company. The canal ran from Antingham Mill, largely following the course of the River Ant to a point below Honing. A short branch canal leaves the main navigation near Honing and terminates at the village of Dilham.

The North Walsham civil parish at the 2001 census had a population of 11,998.

Parish church

North Walsham's church is St Nicholas (which was originally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary). It is one of Britain's largest parish churches. Before the Reformation, it was also the site of a wayside shrine to St Thomas of Canterbury.

This church had the second-tallest steeple in Norfolk until its collapse in 1724. Plans for its rebuilding were abandoned at the outbreak of Second World War. The ruined tower dominates the town centre and is a famous landmark of the area, visible from many miles away. In the parish church of St. Nicholas can be found the ornate tomb of Sir William Paston; the remains of mediæval painted screens; a telescopic Gothic font canopy; a unique Royal Arms Board; an ancient iron bound chest; and many other ancient artefacts.


The ruined tower of the parish church

North Walsham, an Anglo-Saxon settlement, and the neighbouring village of Worstead became very prosperous from the 12th century through the arrival of weavers from Flanders. The two settlements gave their names to the textiles they produced: "Walsham" became the name of a light-weight cloth for summer wear, and "Worsted" a heavier cloth. The 14th-century "wool churches" are a testament to the prosperity of the local mill owners.

North Walsham was involved in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. The peasants' leaders were defeated at the Battle of North Walsham and the site is marked by a wayside stone near the town's water towers.

The naval hero, Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson and his brother William were educated at Paston Grammar School in North Walsham, founded by Sir William Paston (of Paston Letters fame) in 1606. Nelson left the school to start his naval career at the age of eleven. The school became Paston College in 1984.

As part of the millennium celebrations, ten mosaics were commissioned, showing scenes from local history, including the Peasants' Revolt and the Great Fire of North Walsham and a picture of a Norfolk wherry – an allusion to the canal.

The cinemas

North Walsham Picturedrome opened in King Arms Street around 1912 and survived until around September 1931. In 1931 The Regal Cinema opened in New Road and was open until 1979. When the Regal closed the building was turned into a bingo hall and it is now occupied by North Walsham Plant Hire.

The Great Fire

The Great Fire of North Walsham took place on the 25th June 1600. It began at six o'clock in the morning from a house occupied by an individual with the surname of Dowle. Dowle subsequently fled and was captured and placed in gaol. The fire was devastating and destroyed one hundred and eighteen homes, seventy shops, the Market Cross and market stalls. Although the church caught fire in five places it remained mostly unharmed and provided shelter for the people whilst the town was rebuilt.


  • Rugby: North Walsham RFC

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about North Walsham)