Wymondham (/ˈwɪndəm/ WIN-dəm) is a market town and civil parish in
Norfolk, England, 9 1⁄2 miles (15 km) southwest of
Norwich, just off the A11 road from
Norwich to London which now
bypasses the town. The parish includes large rural areas to the
north and south of the town itself.
1.1 Before the Great Fire
1.2 The Great Fire of 1615
1.3 After the Great Fire
1.4 Second World War
6 Notable people
7 See also
9 External links
Before the Great Fire
The earthworks of what was probably a large, medieval ringwork survive
to some considerable height; they have been subject to ground survey
and are partially visible on aerial photographs. The ringwork, which
is located in an isolated part of the Stanfield estate, is thought by
some to have been built by the D'Albinis between 1088 and 1139. The
feature measures approximately 150m by 130m, with a large bank and
water-filled ditch; the internal area also appears to be filled with
irregular water-filled pits or ponds. It is thought that a gold ring
of Katherine Bigot, wife of Roger Fitz-Ortet who held Stanfield Manor
in AD 1306, was also recovered from this area.
Wymondham's most famous inhabitant was
Robert Kett (or Ket), who led a
rebellion in 1549 of peasants and small farmers in protest at the
enclosure of common land. He took a force of almost unarmed men and
fought for and held the City of
Norwich for six weeks until defeated
by the King's forces. He was hanged from
Norwich Castle. Kett's Oak,
said to be the rallying point for the rebellion, can still be seen
today on the B1172 road between
Wymondham and Hethersett, part of the
former main road to London.
The Great Fire of 1615
Bridewell Street in September 2017
The Great Fire of
Wymondham broke out on Sunday 11 June 1615. Two
areas of the town were affected, implying there were two separate
fires. One area was in Vicar Street and Middleton Street and the other
in the Market Place, including Bridewell Street and Fairland Street.
About 300 properties were destroyed in the fire. Important buildings
destroyed included: the Market Cross, dating from 1286; the vicarage
in Vicar Street; the 'Town Hall' on the corner of Middleton Street and
Vicar Street; and the schoolhouse. However, many buildings such as the
Green Dragon pub did survive and many of the houses in Damgate Street
date back to 1400, although this is now masked by later brickwork.
Wymondham Market Cross in September 2017
The fire was started by three Gypsies – William Flodder, John
Flodder and Ellen Pendleton (Flodder) – and a local person, Margaret
Bix (Elvyn). The register of St Andrew's Church in
that John Flodder and others were executed on 2 December 1615 for the
burning of Wymondham. Rebuilding of the destroyed buildings was quick
in some cases and slower in others. A new Market Cross, extant 2016,
was started and completed in 1617. However, by 1621 there were still
about 15 properties not yet rebuilt. Economic conditions in the 1620s
could have been a contributory factor to the delay in rebuilding.
After the Great Fire
Kett's Rebellion was evidence of an undercurrent of ferment in
16th-century Wymondham. Comparable discontent showed itself in the
17th century when a number of
Wymondham citizens, including Thomas
Lincoln, John Beal and others, moved to Hingham in the wave of
religious dissent that swept
England in the years preceding Cromwell's
In 1785, a prison was built using the ideas of John Howard, the prison
reformer. It was the first prison to be built in
England with separate
cells for the prisoners and was widely copied both in the United
Kingdom and the United States.
The collapse of the woollen industry in the mid-19th century led to
great poverty in Wymondham. In 1836 there were 600 hand looms, but by
1845 only 60 existed. During Victorian times the town was a backwater
and never experienced large-scale development. The town centre remains
very much as it must have been in the mid-17th century, when the
houses were rebuilt after the Great Fire. These newer houses, and
those which survived the Great Fire, still surround shoppers and
visitors as they pass through Wymondham's narrow mediaeval streets.
Second World War
Wymondham played a part in the
Second World War
Second World War that is very poorly
documented. It was home to one of MI6's Radio Security Service
direction finding stations; the type at
Wymondham was a "Spaced Loop"
design newly developed by the National Physical Laboratory.
Unfortunately, this was soon found to be unsatisfactory and was
converted to the more traditional Adcock type. The station at
Wymondham was located at latitude=52.583333, longitude=1.121667, just
north of Tuttles Lane and east of Melton Road. Based on information
from one of the wartime operators it transpires that another spaced
loop station was later installed alongside the first in 1944 after the
Normandy invasion. This may have been due to increased interest in
transmissions from western Europe where the shorter distance made the
spaced loop more reliable.
The civil parish of
Wymondham has an area of 44.31 km2
(17.11 sq mi) and in the 2001 census a population of 12,539,
in 5,477 households, was recorded, rising to 14,405 at the 2011
Census. This relatively large parish includes one nearby village,
Wymondham is governed by a town council of 15 councillors. The town is
split into five wards, each of which returns three members. Since the
last election (2015) and subsequent by-elections, 13 councillors are
members of the Conservative Party, one is from the Liberal Democrats
and one is from the Labour Party. The current mayor is Robert Savage.
For the purposes of local government,
Wymondham civil parish falls
within the district of South Norfolk, returning five district
councillors, one for each ward. The town as a whole returns one county
Norfolk County Council – Joseph Mooney. Nationally,
Wymondham is in the Mid
Norfolk constituency and is therefore
represented at Westminster by George Freeman.
Wymondham Heritage Museum in September 2017
In the town centre, there is a market cross, which is now used as a
Tourist Information Centre and is owned by the Town Council. The
original building was destroyed in the Great Fire of
1615; the present building was rebuilt between 1617–18 at a cost of
£25-7-0d with funds loaned by local man, Philip Cullyer. The
stilted building was like many others designed to protect valuable
documents from both flood and vermin. According to T. F. Thistleton
Dyer's English Folklore [London, 1878], live rats were nailed by their
tails to the side of the building by way of a deterrent. This bizarre
superstition ended in 1902 after a child was bitten, later to die of
Wymondham Abbey is the Church of
England parish church. Wymondham
Manor became a Grade II listed building in 1953. The manor house, with
a five-bay south front and a central Doric columned porch dates to the
early 18th century, with later alterations and additions. The
Norfolk Constabulary are located in Wymondham. The
former town jail or bridewell now houses the
Flint was used in many types of buildings around Wymondham, including
this 19th-century Crossing Keeper's hut
Wymondham railway station
Wymondham railway station (voted Best Small Station in the 2006
National Rail Awards) possesses a piano showroom and a locally famous
Brief Encounter-themed restaurant. The latter featured in Mark
Greenstreet's 1996 comedy film Caught in the Act, which starred Sara
Crowe, Annette Badland, Nadia Sawalha, Paul Shelly and Leslie
Brief Encounter was shot 250 miles away, using
Carnforth railway station, Lancashire.) The whole site has been
restored by owner David Turner and also houses a small railway museum.
The station was featured as the "Walmington-on-Sea" station in the
popular BBC comedy series Dad's Army.
Wymondham station is the
junction for the Mid-
Norfolk Railway, although their trains, running
11.5 miles (19 km) north to
Dereham operate from the separate
Wymondham Abbey station. The town once had another station, Spinks
Lane, but this closed shortly after opening in the 19th century.
Browick Road School, Wymondham
Robert Kett Primary School is a mixed primary school located in
Wymondham. named for the rebel Robert Kett. It is a state-funded
foundation school administered by
Norfolk County Council. As of May
2015, the school has around 617 pupils around the ages of 4 to
As of 2009, notable residents living in or close to Wymondham
Robert Kett, leader of Kett's Rebellion
Francis Kett, Anglican martyr
George Szirtes, poet
W. G. Sebald, writer and academic
Oliver Winterbottom, car designer
Simon Beaufoy, writer of the films
The Full Monty
The Full Monty and Slumdog
Bill Bryson, humorist, author and travel writer
Justin and Dan Hawkins of The Darkness
Edwin Gooch, MP and President of the National Union of Agricultural
and Allied Workers
James Hubbard, the PDC Professional Darts player and former World
Wymondham High Academy
^ "Town population 2011". Retrieved 4 September 2015.
^ Ordnance Survey (1999). OS Explorer Map 237 – Norwich.
Norfolk County Council
Wymondham Town History". Retrieved 28 August 2008.
Wymondham Child Dies of Rat Bite' Eastern Daily Press, November
24th 1902". Archived from the original on 21 February 2009.
^ "The Manor House, Wymondham". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 28
^ "School Overview -
Robert Kett Junior School :
Robert Kett Junior School".
^ "EduBase -
Robert Kett Primary School".
^ "School website for
Robert Kett Junior School
Wymondham with Ofsted
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wymondham.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Wymondham.
Wymondham Town Council Website
Wymondham Music Festival
Information from Genuki
Norfolk on Wymondham.
Ceremonial county of Norfolk
Boroughs or districts
King's Lynn and West Norfolk
Redenhall with Harleston
Thorpe St Andrew
See also: List of civil parishes in Norfolk
Population of major settlements
Grade I listed buildings
Grade II* listed buildings