Banham, Norfolk

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St Mary's church - - 1408886.jpg
St Mary The Virgin, Banham
Banham is located in Norfolk
Location within Norfolk
Area16.17 km2 (6.24 sq mi)
Population1,481 (2011)[1]
• Density92/km2 (240/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTM065880
Civil parish
  • Banham
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townNORWICH
Postcode districtNR16
AmbulanceEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
52°27′03″N 1°02′15″E / 52.45091°N 1.03746°E / 52.45091; 1.03746Coordinates: 52°27′03″N 1°02′15″E / 52.45091°N 1.03746°E / 52.45091; 1.03746

Banham is an English village and civil parish in the county of Norfolk, 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 open to the public for more than 40 years, which houses over 2000 animals. The Church of England parish church, dedicated to St Mary the Virgin, is a Grade I listed building.[3] The name of the village derives from "Bean homestead/village", or perhaps "hemmed-in land where beans grow".

Population and governance[edit]

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 for census purposes the neighbouring village of Fersfield. This increased to a population of 1,481 in 603 households at the 2011 Census. For local government, the parish lies in the district of Breckland.[4] Since 2015, the parish has formed part of The Buckenhams and Banham ward, which returns one councillor to the district council.


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 for children with special needs and ostensibly 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] 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 had 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 government Department of Education in 2003. The site is now occupied by Acorn Park School, which has no connection with the former Banham Marshalls College.

Notable people[edit]

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

The Rev. Edward Thomas Daniell of the Norwich School of painters, a talented amateur etcher and painter, was curate of St Mary's for 18 months, from 1832.[11]


  1. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  2. ^ Ordnance Survey (1999). OS Explorer Map 230 – Diss and 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 2 December 2005
  5. ^ "Acorn Park Care and Education Group". Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Victims' anger at cruelty sentence". EDP24. Archant Regional. 12 November 2007. Archived from the original on 19 March 2007. Retrieved 26 June 2008.
  7. ^ "School Staff Convicted Of Child Cruelty Following Police Investigation". Norfolk Constabulary. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2008.
  8. ^ "School staff on cruelty charges". BBC News. 14 May 2004. Retrieved 26 June 2008.
  9. ^ Robson & Others v R [2006] EWCA Crim 2754 at para. 33 (21 December 2006), Court of Appeal (England and Wales)
  10. ^ Alexander Gordon, "Taylor, Edgar (1793–1839)", rev. Eric Metcalfe, ODNB, Oxford University Press, 2004, pay-walled. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  11. ^ Dickes 1905, p. 544.

External links[edit]