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Wednesday, April 14, 2010
A village with an illustrious wartime history and what is claimed to be the country's biggest green.
Where is Old Buckenham?
Old Buckenham is on the B1077 from Diss to Attleborough, which is about four miles away. It claims to have the biggest village green in the country 40 acres with duck ponds and playing fields, and is the venue for the annual fair.
About Old Buckenham
About a mile to the north east of the village, a moat surrounds an earthwork marking the site of a castle built by William dAlbini, a follower of William the Conqueror, who was given land for being butler to kings at their coronations.
The castle is now gone, but in 1146 it was given by dAlbinis son to the Augustinian canons so they could build their priory, which is also no longer there. DAlbini senior had already moved a mile up the road and built another castle, near what is now New Buckenham, in 1145.
Old Buckenham Airfield, built by Taylor Woodrow in 1942-43, had a main runway and two secondary runways.
Home for the 453rd Bomb Group, from December 1943 to May 1945 it flew 259 missions over enemy territory in B24s.
It delivered some 15,804 tonnes of bombs, but lost 58 aircraft and 366 airmen. There is a memorial in front of the clubhouse.
Film star James Stewart was executive officer at the airfield during spring 1944. The 453rd was taken off operations on April 12, 1945 and the airfield is now home to a flying school.
Three Stearman aircraft flew over the Old Buckenham airfield during a 60th anniversary D Day air show (pictured).
The tower of Old Buckenham parish church, one of only six in Norfolk that are octagonal, dates back to about 1300.
The windmill has the largest diameter tower in England and dates from 1818. Owned by Norfolk Windmills Trust, it has recently been restored.
Previous owners include Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, a friend of Queen Victoria, who lived with his wife, Princess Sofia Alexandrona, in Old Buckenham Hall at the end of the 19th century.