Barnham, Suffolk

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St Gregory Barnham - - 949816.jpg
The church of St Gregory, Barnham
Barnham is located in Suffolk
Barnham shown within Suffolk
Population606 (2011 census)[1]
OS grid referenceTL869793
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townThetford
Postcode districtIP24
AmbulanceEast of England
EU ParliamentEast of England
List of places
52°22′48″N 0°44′49″E / 52.38°N 0.747°E / 52.38; 0.747Coordinates: 52°22′48″N 0°44′49″E / 52.38°N 0.747°E / 52.38; 0.747

Barnham is a village and civil parish in the St Edmundsbury district of the English county of Suffolk. It is about 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Thetford and 9 miles (14.5 km) north of Bury St Edmunds on the A134. The village of Euston is 1 mile (1.6 km) to the east. According to Eilert Ekwall the meaning of the village name is "Beorn's homestead".


East Farm, Barnham, is an important archaeological site dating to the Hoxnian Stage of the Lower Palaeolithic, about 400,000 years ago.[2][3] Flint artefacts have also been found.[4]


The Domesday Book records the population of Barnham in 1086 to be 35 families – a large village at that time.[5] It was part of the holdings of Earl Hugh of Chester, having been held by Edward the Confessor in 1066.[5] The parish church is dedicated to St Gregory and was heavily restored in the 19th century.[6] The village was previously split into two parishes, divided between the liberties of St Edmund and of Thetford until 1639.[6][7] Ruins of the church of St Martin remain in the village.[7]

From 1808 to 1814, Barnham was the site of a station in the shutter telegraph chain which connected the Admiralty in London to its naval ships in the port of Great Yarmouth. Barnham railway station was on the Thetford to Bury St Edmunds line, which closed in 1960. Barnham Windmill was a three-storey tower mill built in the village in 1821. It has been converted into residential accommodation.

RAF Barnham[edit]

RAF Barnham is located to the north of Barnham alongside the A134 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Thetford on Thetford Heath. The station was opened in 1939 and used as a chemical weapons store during and after World War II. In the 1950s a nuclear weapons store facility was built on part of the site to store the UK's free-fall nuclear bombs for the Blue Danube project. The site was operational as a nuclear store in September 1956, commanded from RAF Honington, 6 miles (9.7 km) to the south. Storage at the site is believed to have stopped in 1963 following the development of the Blue Steel missile programme. The nuclear facility was closed in 1966 and became an industrial site. The site is a scheduled monument and several buildings on it have listed building status.[8][9]

Barnham Camp is retained as a training site for the RAF Regiment. It is operated as a satellite camp of RAF Honington.[10]

Barnham Heath SSSI[edit]

Barnham Heath is a Site of Special Scientific Interest located to the east of the village. The site, which is 76.5 hectares (189 acres) in size, is an area of Breckland heathland with a range of grassland and scrub habitats.[11] It is an important bird habitat, including for the protected stone curlew.[11] Land surrounding the village also forms part of the Breckland Farmland and Breckland Forest SSSIs as well as the Barnham Little Heath and Thetford Heaths SSSI.


  1. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighborhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  2. ^ Pettit, Paul (1999). "Review of Ashton, N. M. et al, Excavations at the Lower Palaeolothic Site as East Farm, Barnham, Suffolk, 1989-1994, British Museum Press, 1998". Lithics. Lithic Studies Society. 20: 65. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Successful colonisers | Natural History Museum". Retrieved 2017-12-02.
  4. ^ Nick Ashton: Early Humans, New Naturalist series (London: HarperCollins, 2017), pp. 128–32.
  5. ^ a b Barnham, Open Domesday. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  6. ^ a b St Gregory, Barnham, Suffolk churches website. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  7. ^ a b St Martin, Barnham, Suffolk churches website. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  8. ^ Historic England. "Atomic bomb store on Thetford Heath (1020781)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  9. ^ Photo gallery: Nuclear bomb store in Suffolk on English Heritage at risk list, Eastern Daily Press, 2012-10-12. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  10. ^ RAF Barnham (94 Maintenance Unit) Nuclear Bomb Store (Permanent Ammunition Depot) Subterranea Britannica, 2003-11-09. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  11. ^ a b Barnham Heath Archived 2015-05-04 at the Wayback Machine., SSSI citation, Natural England. Retrieved 2013-01-25.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Barnham at Wikimedia Commons