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Coordinates: 52°49′16″N 1°23′13″E / 52.821°N 1.387°E / 52.821; 1.387

North Walsham
North Walsham market cross
North Walsham is located in Norfolk
North Walsham

 North Walsham shown within Norfolk
Area  17.27 km2 (6.67 sq mi)
Population 11,998 
    - Density  695 /km2 (1,800 /sq mi)
OS grid reference TG282302
Parish North Walsham
District North Norfolk
Shire county Norfolk
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district NR28
Dialling code 01692
Police Norfolk
Fire Norfolk
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament North Norfolk
List of places: UK • England • Norfolk

North Walsham is a market town and civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. It is within the North Norfolk district, and is situated some 12 km (7.5 mi) south of Cromer and the same distance north of Wroxham. The city of Norwich lies 30 km (19 mi) to the south.[1]

The civil parish has an area of 17.27 km2 (6.67 sq mi) and in the 2001 census had a population of 11,998 in 5,245 households. For the purposes of local government, the parish falls within the district of North Norfolk.[2]

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.

North Walsham was an Anglo-Saxon settlement. Both North Walsham and the neighbouring Worstead became very prosperous from the 12th century through the arrival of weavers from Flanders. "Walsham" was a light-weight cloth for summer, and "Worsted" a heavier cloth. The 14th-century "wool churches" are a testament to the prosperity of the local mill owners. North Walsham's church of St. Nicholas was originally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and is one of the UK's largest parish churches. 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 World War II. The ruined tower dominates the town centre and is a famous landmark of the area, visible from many miles away.

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 English naval hero, Horatio (later, Lord) 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 went on to become Paston College in 1984.

The town is on the North Walsham & Dilham Canal, still privately 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.

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, also a picture of a Norfolk wherry – an allusion to the canal.

North Walsham is home to a National League 3 South rugby union team. North Walsham R.F.C. narrowly missed out on promotion to National League 2 in 2005/06, losing a play-off to Nuneaton.

In the parish church of St. Nicholas can be found the ornate tomb of Sir William Paston; the remains of medieval painted screens; a telescopic Gothic font canopy; a unique Royal Arms Board; an ancient iron bound chest; and many other fascinating ancient artifacts.


North Walsham was formerly a traditional market market town and an important hub in the centre of North Norfolk's agricultural economy, but the town today reflects the trend towards homogeneity and suburban anonymity characteristic of many small British towns that have lost their primary role and function.


  1. ^ Ordnance Survey (2002). OS Explorer Map 252 – Norfolk Coast East. ISBN 0-319-21888-0.
  2. ^ Office for National Statistics & Norfolk County Council (2001). Census population and household counts for unparished urban areas and all parishes. Retrieved December 2, 2005.

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

NORTH WALSHAM, a market town in the eastern parliamentary division of Norfolk, England; 131 m. N.E. by N. from London by the Great Eastern railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 3981. It lies in a pastoral district near the river Ant, a tributary of the Bure. The church of St Nicholas is a fine Perpendicular structure exhibiting the flint-work common to the district, and possessing a beautiful south porch and the ruin of a massive western tower which partly collapsed early in the 18th century. A grammar school was founded in 1606, and reorganized and moved to new buildings in modern times. There is a market house of the 16th century. A considerable agricultural trade is carried on, and cattle-shows and fairs are held. The river Ant provides a route southward to the Norfolk Broads. The coast village of Mundesley, 5 m. N.E. by a branch railway, is in favour as a watering-place, having fine sands beneath the cliffs. In the district between this and North Walsham are Paston, taking name from the family which is famous through the Paston Letters, and the fragments of Bromholm Priory, a Cluniac foundation. These are of various dates from Norman onwards, but are incorporated with farm buildings. The rood of Bromholm was a reputed fragment of the Cross which attracted many pilgrims. To the south of North Walsham is North Walsham Heath, whither in June 1381 a body of insurgents in connexion with the Peasants' Revolt were driven from before Norwich by Henry le Despenser, bishop of Norwich, and defeated; after which their leader, Geoffrey Lister, and others were sent to the scaffold.

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