North Walsham

North Walsham

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 17,988 
    - Density  1,042 /km2 (2,700 /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 Norfolk, England in the North Norfolk district.



The civil parish has an area of 29.3 km2 (11.3 sq mi) and in the 2001 census had a population of 11,998. For the purposes of local government, the parish falls within the district of North Norfolk.[1]


The town is 12 km (7.5 mi) south of Cromer and the same distance north of Wroxham. The county town and city of Norwich is 24 km (15 mi) south.[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.

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.


The ruined parish church

North Walsham, an Anglo-Saxon settlement, and the neighbouring village of Worstead became very prosperous from the 12th century through the arrival of weavers from Flanders. The two settlements gave their names to the textiles they produced: "Walsham" became the name of a light-weight cloth for summer wear, 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. 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 ancient artifacts.

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 Nelson, 1st Viscount 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 became Paston College in 1984.

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

The cinemas

North Walsham Picturedrome opened in King Arms Street around 1912 and survived until around September 1931. In 1931 The Regal Cinema opened in New Road and was open until 1979. When the Regal closed the building was turned into a bingo hall and it is now occupied by North Walsham Plant Hire.

The Great Fire

The Great Fire of North Walsham took place on the 25th June 1600. It began at six o'clock in the morning from a house occupied by an individual with the surname of Dowle. Dowle subsequently fled and was captured and placed in gaol. The fire was devastating and destroyed one hundred and eighteen homes, seventy shops, the Market Cross and market stalls. Although the church caught fire in five places it remained mostly unharmed and provided shelter for the people whilst the town was rebuilt.

North Walsham High School

North Walsham High School is a community school, for students aged 11 to 16, and gained specialist status for Arts in 2005. Ofsted graded the school "good" with "outstanding" features in 2010 and has around 810 pupils. The school is currently undergoing a £5.3m development to improve education, arts and leisure facilities for students during school hours and some of the facilities will be available for the wider community. The development will be completed by September 2011.


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.


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

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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