It was once a proud village surrounded by fields of rolling countryside.

But after decades of urban sprawl it has come to be seen as more of a suburb of Norwich.

Now, the community of Bowthorpe is trying to reassert its independence and sense of identity.

Eastern Daily Press: The early stages of Bowthorpe being built

Locals have commissioned a new village sign which they hope to install on land in the heart of the area.

The Bowthorpe Village Sign Group held a competition to come up with a design and the item is now being manufactured by a sign-maker from Great Hockham.

Once completed, it will be placed at the junction of Saxoncote Road, Beloe Road and Clover Hill Road, at the top end of Bowthorpe Hall Road and adjacent to the Rayne Park development.

Eastern Daily Press: A home being built in Bowthorpe in 1990

The winning design was created by Sally Simpson.

It references the three modern estates that now make up Bowthorpe, as well as its industrial zone.

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The group is still trying to raise funds to complete the project.

In a message online, it said: “We feel Bowthorpe needs a village sign.  

Eastern Daily Press: A policeman cycles past Cloverfield in 1979

“If you live in Bowthorpe, have a connection with Bowthorpe or simply understand what a special place it is, please help us raise the money we need.   

“All money raised will be spent on the village sign and we will continue fundraising until we get all the money we need.” 

Eastern Daily Press: The former Bowthorpe High School in Earlham



The settlement has a history stretching back 2,000 years.

Its name is of Norse origin and refers to 'Bui's' farm or settlement.

One of the first references to it can be found in the Doomsday Book of 1086.

Bowthorpe – or Boethorp as it was referred to then – is recorded as being made up of 19 households and being owned principally by William the Conqueror.

Eastern Daily Press: The sign at the roundabout from Norwich to turn into Bowthorpe

It was here where Robert Kett briefly camped in July 1549 at the beginning of the rebellion that was to bear his name.

He decided quickly, however, that Bowthorpe was too exposed for a rebel camp and moved on to Mousehold Heath.

Since the 1970s, the village has been transformed by housing development.

It is now divided into four distinct areas: Clover Hill, Chapel Break, Three Score and the industrial estate known as Bowthorpe Park. 

Eastern Daily Press: An aerial view of Bowthorpe from 2005

The largest of these areas is Clover Hill which currently makes up almost two-thirds of Bowthorpe since its development in the 1980s. 

Chapel Break and Three Score quickly followed suit with their own developments taking place during the 1990s and early 2000s. 

The area is now home to three schools – two infant schools and one junior school – and some may also remember the now-closed and demolished high school, which was located in nearby Earlham. 

Eastern Daily Press: The design of the Bowthorpe village signThe design of the Bowthorpe village sign (Image: Bowthorpe Village Sign Group)