6

About the area

Our thriving market town lies in the heart of Norfolk adjacent to the A47 trunk road. Being surrounded by rich farmland the economy was traditionally based on agriculture. Nowadays the 15000 population rely on a much more diverse economy including light industry, food processing and retailing. The many shops, supermarkets, banks and estate agents serve not only the local population but also the surrounding villages. Ease of free parking makes our town a popular shopping centre. Norwich, some miles away, is the main shopping centre.

The town sign was erected in 1954 to commemorate the 1300th anniversary of the founding of the towns first Christian church. It depicts the story of how St. Withburga confronted a malevolent overseer who tried to thwart her plans. On her death she was buried in the town, but the Bishop of Ely stole the body 300 years later. A spring of water gushed from the empty grave. This grave and spring still exist behind St. Nicholas parish church.

Another resident of the town was Bishop Bonner, infamous for burning heretics during the reign of "Bloody" Queen Mary. The 16th century cottage adjacent to the parish church is said to have been his home. It is now a museum.

William Cowper, poet, letter writer and translator died here in 1800. The Congregational Church in the Market Place was built on the site of his former home as a memorial to him.