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Worstead Festival 2008 - the market square - geograph.org.uk - 897858.jpg
Festival day on the Church Plain
Worstead is located in Norfolk
Location within Norfolk
Area10.65 km2 (4.11 sq mi)
Population922 (2011)
• Density87/km2 (230/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTG3026
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtNR28
Dialling code01692
AmbulanceEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
52°46′59″N 1°24′47″E / 52.783091°N 1.413116°E / 52.783091; 1.413116Coordinates: 52°46′59″N 1°24′47″E / 52.783091°N 1.413116°E / 52.783091; 1.413116

Worstead /ˈwʊstɪd/ is a village and civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. It lies 3 miles (5 km) south of North Walsham, 5 miles (8 km) north of Wroxham, and 13 miles (21 km) north of Norwich. The village is served by Worstead railway station on the Bittern Line.[1][2] For the purposes of local government, the parish falls within the district of North Norfolk.

The civil parish has an area of 10.65 km² and in the 2001 census had a population of 862 in 365 households;[3] the population increased to 922 at the 2011 census.[4]

The hamlets of Bengate, Briggate, Lyngate, and Meeting Hill[5] are located in the northeast of the parish, and Withergate just to the north of the village. Another recognisable settlement is along Station Road in the southwest of the parish, where houses and a food factory (since 2015 operated by Albert Bartlett)[6] are. The North Walsham & Dilham Canal runs along the northeast parish boundary at Briggate.


The villages name means 'enclosure place'.[7]

In the Domesday Book of 1086, Worstead is called Wrdesteda and Ordested. King Canute gave the village to the abbots of St. Benet's Abbey on the River Bure in the Norfolk Broads. At the time of the Domesday Book, the village had two churches, one of which is believed to be St Andrew's Church, of which no remains exist.[8]

The village became very prosperous from the twelfth century when weavers from Flanders arrived in the area. They had been encouraged to settle in Norfolk by King Edward III of England who had married a Flemish princess.

Worsted cloth derives its name from this weaving heritage, although it is no longer manufactured in the village and the last weaver, John Cubitt, died in 1882 at the age of 91. The oldest Act of Parliament kept in the House of Lords Record Office is the Taking of Apprentices for Worsteads in the County of Norfolk Act of 1497. Weaving and spinning demonstrations are part of the annual Worstead Festival on the last weekend in July.[9]

The village is covered by a conservation area.[10]


St Mary's church, a grade I listed building[11]

As of 2020 the village has a primary school (Worstead Church of England Primary School),[12] a village hall (the Queen Elizabeth Hall)[13] and adjacent recreation ground,[14] a pub with guest accommodation (The White Lady — formerly the New Inn),[15] a Church of England parish church (St Mary the Virgin),[16] and on Thursdays, mobile post office and fish and chips vans set up on the Church Plain.

There is an annual festival which was first held in 1966.[17][18]


The parish has a parish council, consisting of 9 members.[19] It meets at the Village Hall.

An electoral ward in the same name exists, for the purpose of electing a councillor to North Norfolk District Council (one of 40). The current councillor is Saul Penfold,[20] with the most recent election in 2019.

Before boundary changes in 2019, this ward stretched north to Suffield. The (pre-2019) ward had a population of 2,384 in 2011.[21] Since 2019 the ward comprises the parishes of Worstead, Westwick, Scottow, Swanton Abbott, and Skeyton.[22]


  1. ^ Ordnance Survey (2002). OS Explorer Map 252 - Norfolk Coast East. ISBN 0-319-21888-0.
  2. ^ Ordnance Survey (2005). OS Explorer Map OL40 - The Broads. ISBN 0-319-23769-9.
  3. ^ Office for National Statistics & Norfolk County Council (2001). Census population and household counts for unparished urban areas and all parishes Archived 2017-02-11 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2 December 2005.
  4. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  5. ^ full name is Meeting House Hill; Norfolk Heritage Explorer site of Baptist Chapel, Meeting House Hill
  6. ^ Albert Bartlett
  7. ^ "Key to English Place-names".
  8. ^ Norfolk Heritage Explorer Parish summary
  9. ^ Worstead village history. Retrieved 15 December 2005.
  10. ^ North Norfolk District Council Worstead Conservation Area (2012)
  11. ^ Historic England St Mary, Worstead
  12. ^ Worstead Church of England Primary School
  13. ^ Queen Elizabeth Hall
  14. ^ Worstead Parish Council Services and Amenities
  15. ^ WhatPub White Lady, Worstead
  16. ^ A Church Near You Worstead: St Mary
  17. ^ Worstead Festival
  18. ^ Johnson, Sabrina (19 March 2021). "Worstead Festival cancelled for second year running". Eastern Daily Press. Archant Community Media. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  19. ^ Worstead Parish Council The Council
  20. ^ North Norfolk District Council Your Councillors
  21. ^ "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  22. ^ North Norfolk District Council Ward boundaries 2019

External links[edit]