Infobox UK place
country = England
latitude = 52.41
longitude = 0.74
official_name = Thetford
population = 21,588 (2001 Census)
shire_district = Breckland
shire_county = Norfolk
region = East of England
constituency_westminster = South West Norfolk
post_town = THETFORD
postcode_district = IP24 - 26
postcode_area = IP
dial_code = 01842
os_grid_reference = TL8783

Thetford is a market town and civil parish in the Breckland area of Norfolk, England. It is on the A11 road between Norwich and London, just south of Thetford Forest. The civil parish (area of 29.55 km²) has a population of 21,588 Office for National Statistics & Norfolk County Council (2001). " [ Census population and household counts for unparished urban areas and all parishes] ". Retrieved December 2, 2005.]


Thetford is traditionally thought of as the royal residence of Boudica, Queen of the Iceni. The Iceni were a Celtic tribe living in Norfolk and parts of Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. Archaeological evidence suggests that Thetford was an important tribal centre during the late Iron Age and early Roman period. A ceremonial 'grove' was uncovered there during excavations.

In the Anglo-Saxon period, Thetford was the home of the monarchs of East Anglia and was seat of a bishopric. The Domesday Book lists William of Bello Fargo as the Bishop of Thetford [ [ The Domesday Book Online - Landowners A-C ] ] in 1085.

Castle Hill, to the south-east of the town centre, is the highest Norman motte in England though no trace remains of the castle which once surmounted it. The mound (motte) is open to the public, and provides excellent views of the town from its summit and extensive earthworks. It is situated in a public park, near the Three Nuns Bridges and close to the town centre overlooking the rivers.

Thetford also contains the ruins of a 12th century Cluniac priory. The Priory, open to the public, was closed during the Reformation. Both the Priory and the Bell Inn, also in Thetford, were featured for their alleged hauntings on the television series Ghosthunters.

Thetford was the birthplace of the radical Thomas Paine and a statue of Paine stands on King Street, holding a quill and his book "Rights of Man", upside down.

Thetford, an important crossing of the Little Ouse River, draws its name from the Anglo-Saxon "Theod"ford or "peoples" ford. The nearby River Thet was later named after the town.

Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk and other early Tudor Dynasty officials were once buried in Thetford before removal to Framlingham.Today, the surrounding Breckland has been largely replaced by the Thetford Forest though Thetford Chase remains. The town has become known for its Portuguese and East European shops and cafes.

Events and sports

Thetford hosts an annual Autumn Equinox Festival for astronomy. The festival has featured Patrick Moore of The Sky at Night. Thetford is also the site for the UK's Star Party, as it is centrally located in a rural area with dark night skies. An annual concert, STORM, also calls Thetford home.

The local football club, Thetford Town, plays in the Eastern Counties League. The Thetford & District Sunday Football League, now known as the Breckland & District Sunday Football League, encompasses teams from within a 20 mile radius of Thetford.


Thetford is just off the A11 road between Norwich (28 miles) and London (86 miles). The A11 previously ran through the town but a bypass was constructed in the 1990s.

It is served by Thetford railway station, with National Express East Anglia running services between Norwich and Cambridge, and East Midlands Trains from Norwich to Liverpool (via Sheffield and Manchester). From Cambridge, regular services run to London King's Cross. A branch line to Bury St Edmunds was closed in the 1960s under the Beeching Axe. The remnants of Thetford Bridge railway station on the southern side of the town can still be seen.

The National Cycle Route 13 links Thetford to Gately, near Fakenham.


Thetford has been home to Tulip International, large-scale manufacturers of bacon and pork. The factory opened its doors in 1966 and was one of the biggest bacon production factories in the UK. [cite web|url=|title=Gaspace analyser saves the bacon|publisher=Packaging Technology|month=January | year=2003] In 2007 the factory ceased production of fresh bacon and pork with the loss of 350 jobs, although cooked bacon and fried products are still made in the factory. [cite web|url=|title=Tulip moves fresh lines from Thetford|publisher=Grocer|month=March | year=2007]


According to the 2001 UK Census, almost 22,000 people were residing in Thetford, with a 2004 study showing an unusually high percentage (almost 30% in fact) of people of Portuguese descent in the town. Around 6,000 people in the area have Portuguese as a mother tongue. [ [ Portuguese community in Thetford] ]

Dad's Army

The external scenes for the BBC-1 TV series "Dad's Army" were filmed in and around the town with Thetford's flint buildings doubling for Walmington-on-Sea. [The Complete A-Z of Dad's Army Webber,R London, Orion, 2000 ISBN 0752818384] In December 2007 it was announced that a statue of Arthur Lowe who played the leading character Captain George Mainwaring may be erected in the town [Article by Jan Moir in the Daily Telegraph issue 47,433 dated 5th December 2007] [ [ BBC NEWS | England | Norfolk | Dad's Army tribute statue planned ] ] .

ister Towns

* Hürth, near Köln, Cologne, Germany
* Skawina, near Cracow, Poland
* Spijkenisse, near Rotterdam, The Netherlands


External links

*Commons|Category:Thetford (Norfolk)
* [ Information from Genuki Norfolk] on Thetford.
* [ Thetford Tourism website]

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