Banham, Norfolk

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St Mary's church - - 1408886.jpg
St Mary The Virgin, Banham
Banham is located in Norfolk
Banham shown within Norfolk
Area 16.17 km2 (6.24 sq mi)
Population 1,481 (2011)[1]
• Density 92/km2 (240/sq mi)
OS grid reference TM065880
Civil parish
  • Banham
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town NORWICH
Postcode district NR16
Police Norfolk
Fire Norfolk
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
List of places
NorfolkCoordinates: 52°27′03″N 1°02′15″E / 52.45091°N 1.03746°E / 52.45091; 1.03746

Banham is a village and civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. The village is about 7 miles (11 km) north of Diss, 12 miles (19 km) east of Thetford and 20 miles (32 km) south-west of Norwich.[2] It is home to Banham Zoo, a private collection that has been open to the public for more than 40 years and houses over 2000 animals. The Church of England parish church is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin and is designated a Grade I listed building.[3]


The civil parish has an area of 16.17 km2 and in the 2001 census had a population of 1,443 in 573 households, including Fersfield. This increased to a population of 1,481 in 603 households at the 2011 Census. For the purposes of local government, the parish falls within the district of Breckland.[4]


Acorn Park School is a registered children's home and school for children and young people with autistic spectrum disorders and is part of the Acorn Care and Education Group.[5]

Banham Marshalls College, an independent school in the village, was subject to Norfolk's biggest ever child cruelty investigation along with another school in Banham which was known as The Old Rectory School.

As a result of the investigation into the schools, which were schools for children with special needs that "specialised" in Emotional and Behaviourial Disorders, the proprietor of each and former head teacher, George Robson, received a two-year suspended prison sentence.[6] George Robson died the day after his sentencing.[citation needed]

The charges were brought by ex-pupils of the school dating as far back as 1976. Most of the charges related to The Old Rectory School, although some children from Banham Marshalls College had made complaints, some of which resulted in the conviction of David Clarke.[7][dead link] Robson's brother, Anthony, was also sentenced for crimes committed at The Old Rectory School.[8]

Robert Wilson, a teacher and later principal, was likewise convicted of acts of cruelty involving vulnerable children but was cleared on appeal on the basis that the judge made an error in his summing-up. Given that the evidence was not consistent and the judge had misled the jury, the conviction was deemed to be unsafe.[9]

Banham Marshalls College was closed down by the DfES in 2003. The site is now occupied by Acorn Park School which has no connection with the former Banham Marshalls College.

Notable person[edit]

The village was the birthplace on 17 April 1795 of the schoolteacher, writer, poet and hymn writer Emily Taylor.[10]


  1. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 28 July 2016. 
  2. ^ Ordnance Survey(1999). OS Explorer Map 230 - Diss & Harleston. ISBN 0-319-21862-7
  3. ^ "Church of St Mary the Virgin, Banham". Historic England. Retrieved 16 September 2016. 
  4. ^ Office for National Statistics & Norfolk County Council (2001).Census 2001. Retrieved December 2, 2005[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Acorn Park Care and Education Group". 
  6. ^ "Victims' anger at cruelty sentence". EDP24. Archant Regional. 2007-11-12. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  7. ^ "School Staff Convicted Of Child Cruelty Following Police Investigation". Norfolk Constabulary. 
  8. ^ "School staff on cruelty charges". BBC News. 2004-05-14. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  9. ^ Robson & Others v R [2006] EWCA Crim 2754 at para. 33 (21 December 2006), Court of Appeal (England and Wales)
  10. ^ ODNB. Information under Alexander Gordon, "Taylor, Edgar (1793–1839)", rev. Eric Metcalfe, ODNB, Oxford University Press, 2004 Retrieved 16 September 2014. Pay-walled.

External links[edit]