Market Place, with the war memorial, Fakenham
|Area||9.04 km2 (3.49 sq mi)|
|Population||7,617 (2011 census)|
|• Density||843/km2 (2,180/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
Fakenham is a market town and civil parish in Norfolk, England. It is situated on the River Wensum, about 25 miles (40 kilometres) north west of Norwich. The town is the junction of several local roads, including the A148 from King's Lynn to Cromer, the A1067 to Norwich and the A1065 to Swaffham.
The civil parish has an area of 3.49 sq mi (9.0 km2) and in the 2001 census had a population of 7,357 in 3,292 households, the population increasing to 7,617 at the 2011 census. For the purposes of local government, the parish falls within the district of North Norfolk.
Fakenham has been a market town since 1250, particularly known for its corn, barley and wheat trading, and in the 19th century it became noted for its printing. Fakenham Racecourse is a thoroughbred horse racing venue to the south of Fakenham, of which Charles, Prince of Wales is patron.
The town has a long name of Fakenham Lancaster which derives from the ownership of the manor in 1377 being transferred to John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster. The name continues to be used today, including on recently placed history trail plaques around the town, and also the two wards that cover the town, for the purpose of electing councillors to North Norfolk District Council, are called Lancaster North and Lancaster South.
The name Fakenham is Saxon and has been interpreted as meaning "homestead of Facca", or "Fair Place"/"Place on a Fair River". Numerous arrowheads and flint tools found the parish indicate occupation during Neolithic times. Two copper alloy socketed axeheads have been unearthed in Fakenham dated to the Bronze Age.
Before 1066 the manor of Fakenham was held by King Harold, before being taken by King William of Normandy. The manor was relatively large, containing surrounding villages such as Pudding Norton and Thorpland. A number of Early to Late Saxon brooches, buckles, pottery have been unearthed in the area. A Middle Saxon coin found in the parish is of the East Anglian king Beonna. A watermill was mentioned in Fakenham in the Domesday Book, but it was later demolished.
In November 1297, Guy Ferre was recorded as the owner of Fakenham Manor, which King Edward I had given to him for life. During the 13th century, the hamlet of Thorpland had 90 parishioners but by the 16th century it had largely been depopulated, and today all that remains is the hall.
Fakenham is situated in North Norfolk district, between Pudding Norton and Barsham, on the north bank of the River Wensum. It is about 19 miles (31 kilometres) north east of King's Lynn, 19 miles (31 kilometres) south west of Cromer, and 25 miles (40 kilometres) north west of Norwich. To the southeast of Fakenham is Pensthorpe Natural Park, which contains over 700 acres of woodland and lakes and four gardens.
Fakenham has been a market town since 1250. Agricultural products and cattle have long been sold at the town's Corn Hall and flea market. John Chambers wrote in his A General History of the County of Norfolk: (1829): "Fakenham is a small town, with a good corn market, attended by buyers from Wells, and other contiguous ports. The general market here is on Thursdays, when a large quantity of barley and wheat are sold by samples".
During the 19th century, Fakenham became a major centre for printing, which continued into the 20th century. Fakenham Prepress Solutions is a contemporary printing and illustratrating company based in Fakenham. The Kinnerton Confectionery Company was established in the town in 1978.
Fakenham contains the 14th century Saint Peter and Saint Paul Parish Church, which replaced an earlier Saxon Church. The 115 feet (35 m) tower was built in the 15th century. Baron's Hall was originally built in 1593 but was demolished in 1812 and a new hall opened in 1825. The Corn Hall opened in 1855, replacing an earlier sessions building which had a library and magistrates court. The Corn Hall served as the local headquarters for the Home Guard during World War II.
The Star Inn on Oak Street was built in the 17th century. Grove House, The Red Lion, The Wooden Horse and Barclays Bank retain some 17th century features. The town also contains the Fakenham Museum of Gas and Local History, which displays equipment used for making gas from coal.
Fakenham Cricket Club is one of the oldest in Norfolk; it started in 1815 with a combined team, including Hempton and Walsingham, and formed in its own right in 1883. The 1st team of the club won the Norfolk Alliance Premier Division league title in 2001, 2011, 2015 and 2018; also the Carter Cup in 2010. Queens Road Recreation Ground is a recreational ground in the centre of Fakenham.
Fakenham Golf Club, on the southern outskirts of the town on the southern side of the Wensum, was originally established in February 1889. The present 6,245 yard course was designed in 1974.
Fakenham is not currently served by the railway network, however it previously had two railway stations. Fakenham East, opened as Fakenham on 20 March 1849, was the terminus of the Wymondham to Wells Branch railway. The line was extended to Wells-next-the-Sea in 1857 and the station was renamed to Fakenham East in 1948. It was proposed for closure in the 1963 Beeching Report. Fakenham West opened in 1880 and closed in 1959. It was built as part of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway main line that meandered across Norfolk from King's Lynn to a number of coastal destinations. There was no connection between the two railway lines: the line south of Fakenham West crossed the line from Fakenham East south of the former station, on a girder bridge that still exists immediately north of a three-span bridge over the River Wensum.
Following Fakenham East's closure on 5 October 1964 to passengers, the line remained opened for goods. A special passenger service named the Fakenham Flyer ran on 21 April 1979, but this proved to be the only such instance, as the line closed permanently the following year.
The town is at the junction of several local roads, including the A148 from King's Lynn to Cromer, the A1067 to Norwich and the A1065 to Swaffham. A single-carriageway bypass was constructed in the mid-1980s to carry the A148 to the north of the town.
Notable people from Fakenham include:
- Thomas Miller, bookseller and antiquarian.
- Sir Robert Seppings, a shipwright who was knighted on the Royal Yacht in 1819.
- Sir George Edwards, farm workers' leader, and later local MP.
- Peter Parfitt, an England and Middlesex cricketer in the early 1960s, attended Fakenham Grammar School.
- Simon Dring, journalist and television producer.
Other notable people from the town include footballing brothers Ryan Jarvis and Rossi Jarvis, formerly of Norwich City and Adam Tann, whose League career ended at Chelmsford City and is the cousin of the Jarvis brothers. Another former Norwich City footballer, Matt Gill, grew up in the town and attended the local junior school and high school.
- "Town population 2011". Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- Office for National Statistics & Norfolk County Council (2001). Census population and household counts for unparished urban areas and all parishes. Retrieved 2 December 2005.
- Fakenham Lancaster History Trail The History of Fakenham
- "Parish Summary: Fakenham". Norfolk Heritage Explorer. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
- Doubleday, Herbert Arthur, Page, William (1906). The Victoria History of the County of Norfolk – Volume 2. p. 382. ISBN 9780712906463.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Chambers, John (1829). "A General History of the County of Norfolk". p. 512.
- Ordnance Survey (2002). OS Explorer Map 251 – Norfolk Coast Central. ISBN 0-319-21887-2.
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- "About Us". Kinnerton.com. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
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- "Rail group launches bid to buy vital part of former line". East Dereham Times. 1 December 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
- Beeching, Richard (27 March 1963). The Reshaping of British Railways – Part 1 (PDF) (Report). Her Majesty's Stationery Office. p. 113.
- Armstrong, Chris (2016). Anything From a Pin to an Elephant: Tales of Norfolk Retail. Amberley Publishing Limited. p. 74. ISBN 978-1-445-656533.
- Fakenham (Sheet 125) (Map). Ordnance Survey. 1964. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
- "Roads (Norfolk)". Hansard. 6 November 1984. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
- "City Signing's Fakenham Link". Dereham Times. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
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