Great Snoring

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Great Snoring
GreatSnoring(David Williams).jpg
Great Snoring houses and war memorial
Great Snoring is located in Norfolk
Great Snoring
Great Snoring
Location within Norfolk
Area6.85 km2 (2.64 sq mi)
Population143 (2011)
• Density21/km2 (54/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTF946345
• London105 mi (169 km) SSW
Civil parish
  • Great Snoring
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtNR21
AmbulanceEast of England
List of places
52°52′25″N 0°53′29″E / 52.8736°N 0.8914°E / 52.8736; 0.8914Coordinates: 52°52′25″N 0°53′29″E / 52.8736°N 0.8914°E / 52.8736; 0.8914

Great Snoring is a rural village in North Norfolk by the River Stiffkey, in the east of England. It is situated approximately 25 miles (40 km) north-west from the city and county town of Norwich, and 2 miles (3 km) north from the larger village of Little Snoring.

At the centre of the village are the listed buildings of St Mary's Church and the Old Rectory. The village main street comprises houses of brick and flint. The nearest inn and shop is in Little Snoring.[1]

Village population in the 2001 Census was 168, reducing to 143 at the 2011 Census.[2]


The 1086 Domesday Book calls the village by the Saxon name Snaringa/Snarringes, named after an inhabitant called Snear.[1] The book includes mention of a water mill, which now features on the village sign.

Historically the name Snoring Magna was used, "magna" being Latin for "greater".

In 1611 Sir Ralph Shelton, lord of the manor, sold Great Snoring to Lord Chief Justice Richardson.[clarification needed] Sir Ralph is reported to have said "I can sleep without Snoring".[1]

John Pearson (1612–86), the English divine and scholar, was born in Great Snoring on 28 February 1612.[3]

Francis White's 1854 History, Gazetteer and Directory of Norfolk describes the village as having as 99 houses, with a total population of 656, and with John Dugmore, Esq as lord of the manor. The church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is described as having a "fine tower" (formerly a spire), containing curious old brasses of the Shelton family. White notes the rectory house, built by the Shelton family, as a "fine specimen of ornamental brick work", valued at £24 and occupied by the Revd D. H. Lee Warner. The Walsingham Union House, a workhouse, contained 164 staff and occupants.[4]

Walsingham Union workhouse[edit]

On 12 April 1836 the Walsingham Poor Law Union was formed, and a new Walsingham Union workhouse was built at Great Snoring in the same year to accommodate up to 250 inmates. The architect was William Thorold, and he based it on Sampson Kempthorne's model cruciform plan published by the Poor Law Commissioners in 1835. Four accommodation wings were joined to a central supervisory area, allowing segregation of different categories of inmate. Areas between the wings were used as exercise space. Workshops and service buildings around the edge gave the overall site an octagonal shape. To the east of the site a chapel was built.[5]

After the closure of the workhouse, the buildings had various uses: as a smallpox hospital in the 1930s; by the Civil Defence in the 1950s; and most recently, plans to convert the building into 35 flats were approved in 1961. But no conversion was carried out and the buildings have now been demolished.[6]

In 2014 The Workhouse, now more correctly known as Thursford Castle (sic), was sold to a property developer who has again offered it for sale complete with Planning Consent for a domestic residence.


Church of St Mary the Virgin
The Old Rectory, previously a manor house

Great Snoring Church of England parish church is dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin. Its exterior is of chiefly Perpendicular style although with earlier elements, with interior fixtures and detailing from the 12th to the 18th centuries. The church was Grade 1 listed in 1959.[7]

Adjacent to the churchyard is the two-storey brick and terracotta Old Rectory. Built in the late 15th or early 16th century as a manor house for the Shelton family, it was extended between the 17th and 19th centuries. The house was Grade II* listed in 1951.[8] John Betjeman in his 1974 documentary for the BBC, A Passion for Churches, describes the house: "the rectory house is a Tudor palace, with moulded autumn-colour brick and elaborate chimney stacks"[9]

Great Snoring war memorial lists 22 men who died in the First World War.[10]


Population of Great Snoring[11]
Year 1841 1854 1861 1871 1891 1911 1921 2001 2011
Population 556 656 594 598 543 484 413 168 143

The 2001 Census[12] shows 168 people in 81 households (35 owner-occupied, 46 rented). 24 of these households were classified as "second residence / holiday accommodation". Population has decreased since 1841 when it was 556 (this included 81 people in the Walsingham Union Workhouse).[13]


  1. ^ a b c "Great Snoring in Norfolk". Retrieved 31 March 2006.
  2. ^ "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  3. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Pearson, John" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 21 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 29.
  4. ^ White, Francis (1854). History, Gazetteer and Directory of Norfolk. ISBN 0-7153-4742-X. pages 714-15 viewed at [1] on 15 April 2006
  5. ^ "Great Snoring and Little Snoring in Norfolk, England - Walsingham Union Workhouse". Great and Little Snoring. Retrieved 16 April 2006.
  6. ^ Peter Higginbotham (2001). "Walsingham Poor Law Union and Workhouse". History of the Workhouse in Britain. Archived from the original on 28 October 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2008.
  7. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Mary, The Street (1170846)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  8. ^ Historic England. "The Old Rectory, Barsham Road (1373698)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  9. ^ Betjeman, John; A Passion for Churches, BBC TV, 7 December 1974, 13.20min-14.02min. Rebroadcast BBC Four (2006)
  10. ^ Ernie Rusdale (2004). "Roll of Honour - Norfolk - Great Snoring". Retrieved 15 April 2006.
  11. ^ Great Snoring and Little Snoring in Norfolk England
  12. ^ "Neighbourhood Statistics - Area: Great Snoring CP (Parish)". National Statistics. 2001. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
  13. ^ "William White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk 1845". Genuki: Norfolk: Genealogy: Towns and Parishes: Snoring, Great: White's 1845. Retrieved 31 March 2006.

External links[edit]

Media related to Great Snoring at Wikimedia Commons