Holt, Norfolk

Holt, Norfolk

Infobox UK place
official_name= Holt
country= England
region= East of England
shire_district= North Norfolk
shire_county= Norfolk
civil_parish= Holt

static_image_caption = The war memorial in Holt's market place
population= 3,550 (parish, 2001 census)
os_grid_reference= TG078388
latitude= 52.90
longitude= 1.09
post_town= Holt
postcode_area= NR25
postcode_district= NR 25
dial_code= 01263
constituency_westminster= North Norfolk
london_distance= 127

Holt is a market town and parish in the English county of Norfolk. The town is 22.8 miles north of the city of Norwich, 9.5 miles west of Cromer and 35 miles east of King's Lynn. The town is on the route of the A148 King's Lynn to Cromer road. The nearest railway station is in the town of Sheringham where access to the national rail network can be made via the Bittern Line to Norwich. Holt also has a station on the preserved North Norfolk Railway, ‘The Poppy Line’, of which it is the south-western terminus. The nearest airport is Norwich International Airport. The town has a population of 3,550. [Office for National Statistics & Norfolk County Council, 2001. " [http://www.norfolk.gov.uk/consumption/groups/public/documents/general_resources/ncc017867.xls Census population and household counts for unparished urban areas and all parishes] "] Holt is within the area covered by North Norfolk District Council.



The name Holt is thought to derive from the Anglo-Saxon word for woodlandBrooks, Peter, "Holt, Georgian Market Town", (Cromer: Poppyland Publishing, second edition 2001, ISBN 0946148538)] and Holt is located on wooded high ground of the Cromer ridge at the crossing point of two ancient by-ways and as such was a natural point for a settlement to grow. The town has a mention in the great survey of 1086 known as the Domesday Book. In the survey it is described as a market town and a port with the nearby port of Cley next the Sea being described as Holt’s port. It also had five watermills and twelve plough teams and as such was seen as a busy thriving viable settlement then. The first Lord of the Manor was Walter Giffard; it passed to Hugh, Earl of Chester, who then left it to the De Vaux family. By this time Holt had a well-established market and two annual fairs which were held on the 25th of April and the 25th of November. Over the years Holt grew as a local place of trade and commerce. Unfortunately the weekly market was stopped in 1960.

The Fire of 1708

On 1 May 1708 the town of Holt was devastated by a fire which destroyed most of the medieval town in the matter of three hours. The fire started at Shirehall plain and quickly spread through the mainly timber framing houses of the town. The church was also badly damaged with its thatched chancel destroyed and the lead melted from the windows with the flames spreading up the steeple. Local reports of the time state that the fire spread so swiftly that the butchers did not have time to rescue their meat from their stalls on the market. The damage to the town was estimated to be in the region of £11,000. which was a massive amount of money at that time. After the fire the town received many donations from all over the country and the task of reconstruction began.

Georgian Holt

With most of the medieval buildings destroyed in the fire the townsfolk set about rebuilding the town. The rebuilding made Holt notable for its abundance of Georgian buildings, that being the style of the day at the time when the town centre was rebuilt. However, the town repaired and retains its Norman parish church, which is dedicated to St Andrew.


Holt is best known in the rest of England for being the seat of Gresham's School, a long-established public school founded in 1555 by Sir John Gresham, originally for boys only but co-educational since 1971. [ [http://www.greshams.com/ greshams.com] – official web site of Gresham's School]

The school's former students () include Benjamin Britten, W. H. Auden, Lord Reith, Sir Alan Lloyd Hodgkin, President Erskine Childers, Sir Christopher Cockerell, Donald Maclean, Sir Lennox Berkeley, Sir Stephen Spender, Tom Wintringham, Sir James Dyson, Stephen Fry, [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/norfolk/your/extra/stephen_fry_interview.shtml Your questions answered: Stephen Fry] at bbc.co.uk (accessed 11 November 2007)] Ralph Firman, Sir Peter Brook, Sebastian Shaw, Sienna Guillory and Michael Cummings.


Holt railway station, opened in 1887, was served by the Midland and Great Northern Railway. Most of this network was closed by British Railways in 1959 but the short section from Melton Constable railway station via Holt to Sheringham (services continuing on to Cromer and Norwich) escaped closure for a few more years - finally succumbing in 1964 when the branch was cut back to Sheringham (now the nearest national rail-head, served by frequent services to Norwich along the 'Bittern line'). In 1965, within a year of the closure of this line, the North Norfolk Railway was formed to restore part of the line as an independent heritage steam railway. Initially it operated between Sheringham and Weybourne; later it was extended to the eastern edge of Holt. Until a few years ago, a horse-bus service, the "Holt Flyer", ran between the Railway Tavern in the town centre and the new railway station, timed to connect with trains. The horse-bus has now been replaced by a Routemaster bus. There are now plans to extend the railway back towards the town centre.

Sport and Recreation

Holt [ [http://www.holtrfc.com/] Holt Rugby Club ] has a successful and well-organized Rugby football club, formed in 1961. The club's first match was played against West Norfolk on Gresham's School playing field. In the early days the team used the White Lion Hotel (now closed) for their changing rooms and hospitality. In 1967 the club was able to purchase nine acres of land on the eastern side of Bridge Road in nearby High Kelling. The club began playing their home games at their new facilities in 1969. At Bridge Road the club has three full-size pitches, six dedicated mini pitches and a clubhouse which was built in 1970. There are changing room facilities for up to 100 players. The club has three senior sides, a junior side and mini rugby sides for age 6 through to 12 year olds.

Holt United Football Club [ [http://www.holtunitedfc.co.uk/] Holt United] has an even longer history than the Rugby Club. It was formed in 1894 and was a founder member of the North Norfolk and Norwich League, which began in 1895. In 1927 the club joined the Norwich and District League and went on to win this league on five occasions. In 1935 the club was in the Norfolk and Suffolk League and did not suffer a league defeat until December that year, when they lost to Norwich City A at Carrow Road. Holt was the first amateur team to play at the newly-built Carrow Road ground. In 1985 Holt United left their ground at Jubilee Road, which was sold to finance the new Sports Centre complex at Kelling Road. For one season Holt played their matches at Gresham's School. In 1986 the club moved to their new ground at the Sports Centre. Four years later they dropped into Junior football, which was a major blow to the club. During the past three seasons the club have remained in Division One of the Anglian Combination. At present Holt United run two sides, the first team and the Reserves playing in Division 6.

Holt Harlequins Hockey Club (formerly Cromer Hockey Club) plays at the astro turf ground at Greshams school.

Holt has a King George's Field in memorial to King George V.

Festivals and Cultural Events

The Doctor Who Midsummer Invasion 2006

On Sunday 25 June 2006, Holt was "invaded" by Daleks. The event was a celebration of BBC Television's classic science fiction series "Doctor Who". "The Doctor Who Midsummer Invasion" attracted many fans of the ever-popular show to the town as well as some of its previous stars. Organised by Planet Skaro, a local sci-fi store that has subsequently closed, the highlight of the day was a Dalek parade through the town centre.

Several former "Doctor Who" actors came to see Holt be invaded. The visiting celebrities included the sixth Doctor, Colin Baker plus Terry Molloy, best known for playing Davros, the creator and leader of the Daleks. Deborah Watling, who played Victoria Waterfield alongside the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, also attended as did Barbara Loft, who was a child when she featured in the classic story "The Mind Robber". All the stars were a real hit with the public when they signed autographs, photos and memorabilia in the High Street.

Some Cybermen were also in town as part of the Invasion.

Ken Wallis, who flew "Little Nellie" in the James Bond film "You Only Live Twice", was also in Holt meeting fans by his famous biplane.

At [http://www.thefeathershotel.com The Feathers Hotel] on Saturday 24 June, there was a meet-and-greet buffet which gave some fans a chance to mingle with the stars before the Invasion took place the following day. Colin Baker was unable to attend this exclusive event as he was starring in a play that evening.

The "Doctor Who" themed events proved very popular, the Sunday especially so, with over 10,000 people visiting the town.


Due to the success of the first Invasion, another science fiction themed event took place in Holt in 2007. On 30 June, between 10 am and 4 pm at the Church Hall, there was a Collectors Fair. Attendees at the fair included Mercedes Nogh (Rystall in ")", Barbara Loft from "The Mind Robber", plus Spencer Chapman (a "Doctor Who" set designer from the 1960s).

Notable people

*Dr Thomas Girdlestone (1758-1822)
*Sir John Gresham (1492-1556)
*Sir Richard Gresham (1494-1549)
*John Holmes (1703-1760)
*Edmund Rogers (1823-1910)
*Sebastian Shaw (1905-94)
*Logie Bruce Lockhart (born 1921)
*Sir Matthew Pinsent (born 1970)

See also

* List of closed railway stations in Britain
* A148 King's Lynn-Cromer road.



* [http://www.multimap.com/map/browse.cgi?client=public&X=612500&Y=340000&width=700&height=400&gride=&gridn=&srec=0&coordsys=gb&db=&addr1=&addr2=&addr3=&pc=&advanced=&local=&localinfosel=&kw=&in
* [http://www.google.com/maphp?hl=en&q=Holt,+Norfolk,+NR25,+United+Kingdom Google map]

External links

* [http://webcams.nnrailway.co.uk/holt1big.php Holt Station Webcam]
* [http://www.northnorfolk.org/holt/ Holt Town Council]
* [http://www.bakersandlarners.com Bakers & Larners of Holt]
* [http://www.gallifreytwo.co.uk/doctorwho/dalekdinner/gallery/1.htm gallifreytwo.co.uk – Dalek Invasion meet-and-greet buffet gallery]
* [http://www.gallifreytwo.co.uk/doctorwho/dalekinvasion/gallery/1.htm gallifreytwo.co.uk – Dalek Invasion gallery]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/norfolk/content/image_galleries/gallery_doctor_who_holt_daleks_gallery.shtml BBC Norfolk Online – Dalek Invasion gallery]
* [http://www.norfolkmills.co.uk/mills.html Holt windmills] from the Norfolk mills website

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