There is plenty that is GREAT about the Norfolk town of Thetford. This website celebrates the rich and amazing history and heritage which really sets Thetford apart from the rest. Thetford is a model of the history of England and you can discover it all here across thirteen spectacular eras.

Each era is linked to key places in Thetford and relevant historical characters to help tell the story and make sense of the fascinating history. The most amazing people have been to Thetford over the last 2,000 years and left their mark; Normans, Vikings, monks, great thinkers, female warriors, Britain’s first black mayor, Kings and Queens, revolutionary engineers, Dad’s Army and today’s multicultural communities.

Enjoy exploring this website… mingle with influential historical characters, dig in to the significant thirteen eras and then come and visit Thetford in person to soak up the rich and varied history that makes Thetford’s heritage truly great. Take a look and enjoy the 2,000 year journey – we think you’ll be surprised…..

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Iron Age Thetford is most famously associated with the tribe of the Iceni and their leader Boudica – the fierce Iceni warrior queen who rebelled against the Roman Empire…more
During this period Thetford suffered a number of Viking raids, but later developed into a thriving town, with a focus on pottery production and other craftworking, and was considered to be the capital of East Anglia…..more
During the eleventh and twelfth centuries the town of Thetford itself faced a period of economic decline after its Late Saxon heyday. However, the conquest of 1066 and the Norman dynasty founded by William the Conqueror had an important impact in Thetford; the town’s largest and most impressive medieval sites were created by the Normans.…..more
The landscape and history of Thetford during the medieval period was dominated by the religious houses and churches founded within the town. Some of these foundations had their roots in the pre Conquest period, but rose to greater prominence in the medieval period. All the religious houses in Thetford were dissolved during the Reformation in the sixteenth century.…..more
During this period, Thetford, like many towns in East Anglia, had a prominent market and a large number of wealthy merchants and burgesses. The best surviving example of a merchant’s house from this period is the Ancient House on White Hart Street, now a museum. Little is known of how Thetford was governed in the late medieval period, although the town must have been granted a royal charter in the early medieval times, as the town enjoyed legal privileges which could only be granted by such a charter, such as an exemption from tolls and customs. Thetford was also the location of the Assize Court, along with Norwich, which gave it an important role in the jurisdiction of the county.…..more
The Dissolution affected many aspects of life in Thetford, religious life, economy and trade and the landscape of the town were substantially altered by the loss of the monastic houses which had so characterised the medieval period. The town was incorporated in the late 16th century, which shaped the way that Thetford was governed for the rest of the post medieval period. In addition, Thetford also enjoyed close connections with nobility and royalty during this period, particularly the visit of Elizabeth I in 1578.…..more
During the Civil War the town supported Parliament, but after the Restoration in 1660 a number of important and influential figures in the court of Charles II rose to national prominence.…..more
There was an attempt to turn Thetford into a fashionable spa for tourists, the common land around Thetford was enclosed and Thomas Paine, the greatest thinker of his age, was born and educated in Thetford.…..more
Thetford was transformed by the development of various industries in the 19th century. Companies such as Burrells, Fisons and Bidwells employed hundreds of people and changed the face of Thetford with new industrial buildings.…..more
Thetford has a close connection with Duleep Singh, the last Maharajah of the Punjab, and the first Sikh to settle in Britain. Duleep Singh’s second son, Frederick, was one of Thetford’s most prominent benefactors, giving the town Ancient House as well as his personal collections.…..more
During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Thetford developed many public services including a fire brigade, police service and local schools. In 1904 Thetford became the first town in Britain to elect a black Mayor; Dr Allan Glaisyer Minns a prominent local doctor.…..more
Thetford had significant connections to both World Wars including the first field trials for the tank, the Desert Rats training nearby and the presence of 17 mainly USAAF airfields. In the 1960’s and 1970’s the TV series Dad’s Army was filmed in and around Thetford. Today visitors can enjoy a trip to the museum in Thetford as well as the statue of the infamous Captain Mainwaring.…..more
During the last fifty years Thetford has undergone more radical change than perhaps at any other point in its history. After World War Two the size of the town grew enormously, including development on the south bank of the river on the location of the Late Saxon town.…..more


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