A bustling town with plenty to offer

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St Nicholas Church, North Walsham

Where is North Walsham?
On the A149, halfway between Cromer and Stalham, or north of Coltishall on the B1150. Also served by rail - just a little more than 20 minutes out of Norwich on the Bittern Line.

About North Walsham

Take a look at St Nicholas Church, slap bang in the middle of town, and the octagonal Market Cross, towards the bottom of the market place, 25 foot wide at the base and 40 foot high. It is said to date from the 16th century.

North Walsham is twinned with Friesenried in Bavaria, Southern Germany.

History of North Walsham
North Walsham was established in Anglo-Saxon times.

It survived invasions of Vikings and Normans, becoming an important centre of the weaving trade in the middle ages, but a blow in 1600 could have been fatal.

Early in the morning of June 25 a fire began. It raged through the little market town, and as the smoke cleared it became evident that the destructition was immense.

188 houses, 70 shops, the market with its cross and stalls, and many other buildings were destroyed. The church, luckily, survived without much damage.

The fire is said to have started in the house of a "poor and lewd person" by the name of Dowle, who on fleeing was apprehended and put in jail.

The rebuilding of the town gave Sir William Paston the opportunity to buy up land cheaply and create his famous school, now a sixth form college.

The free Grammar School opened in 1606 for "the training, instructing and bringing up of youth in good manners, learning and the true fear, service and worship of almighty God whereby they might become good and profitable members in the Church and Commonwealth". The school's most famous past pupil is Horatio Nelson.

North Walsham was described in White's 1836 History, Gazetteer and Directory of Norfolk, as 'a pleasant, but irregularly built market town on a commanding eminence with a declivity descending northward to the River Ant, consisting chiefly of three streets forming an irregular triangle intersected by a few cross lanes'.