April 23 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The historic market town of Fakenham is often described as the 'gateway to North Norfolk'
Where is Fakenham?
Take the A148 Cromer road from King's Lynn, and turn off at the roundabout and head towards the town centre; or travel from Norwich along the A1067.
Few places in Norfolk can have maintained its feel as a traditional market town in the same way as Fakenham.
The community has grown in size with more housing developments, but unlike other towns in the county Fakenham has managed to cling on to its sense of identity.
Thursday is still a key day for the town as many stallholders from around the region flock to the town centre for the popular market which brings a buzz which has been enjoyed for generations.
Many of the traders have been attending week in week out for years and the evergreen nature of the market is what makes it so special.
The racecourse (above) is one of the most popular rural amenities in the country and has gone from strength to strength.
The preserved Fakenham Gasworks on Hempton Road is the only complete non-operational works remaining in England, and is now open as a museum.
History of Fakenham
The name of Fakenham is recorded in the Domesday Book spelt Faganham; it probably means the "ham" or dwelling of one Facca.
The first settlement was in Tunn Street, and the Anglo-Saxon invaders arrived via the River Wensum.
William the Conqueror kept the Manor in the hands of the Crown and after that the Lordship was given as a reward for services rendered. In 1370 it came to John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and since that time the town has been known as Fakenham Lancaster, but the Dukedom has long since been merged with the Crown.
The Lordship still exists although all land that went with the title, except the Town Square, has been sold off into private hands since the 17th century.
There has been a weekly market in Fakenham since 1250 and the islands of buildings in the Market Place and those close by the church were probably built on the site of Market Booths.
In 1857 a cattle market was built and for some years there was a separate pig market. Fakenham has been well known down the years for its mills and at one stage there were three water mills and three windmills.
One of the major industries which the town became famed for was printing and at one point at the turn of the century the Miller's works employed 600 people.
Railways arrived in Fakenham in 1848 and there were two stations during the heyday of the trains - but they were closed in 1959 and 1969.