Sites & cities that bear the name of Dereham


Today in : United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
First trace of activity : ca. 8th century C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : East Dereham

Description : Dereham, also known as East Dereham, is a town and civil parish in the Breckland District of the English county of Norfolk. It is situated on the A47 road, about 15 miles (25 km) west of the city of Norwich and 25 miles (40 km) east of King's Lynn. It is believed that Dereham's name derives from a deer park that existed in the area, in perhaps the 7th century, since a rough translation of the name is 'enclosure for deer'. That is quite recent however, since it is known that the town pre-dates the Saxon era. According to local tradition, Saint Wihtburh (aka Withburga), the youngest daughter of Anna, King of the East Angles, founded a monastery and a convent there in the seventh century after seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary, although the Venerable Bede does not mention her in his writings. The monastery is mentioned by Bede, but little further is known of it and no evidence survives today. An archeological report by Norfolk County Council indicates that the first "documentary evidence" of a settlement in this area was not until AD 798, however. The Domesday Book states that in the 11th Century, "St Etheldreda held Dereham that was already an important market centre with three mills". The report adds that the growing community was centred around St. Nicholas Church, from the Norman era; the structure was altered during the 1200s, 1300s and 1400s. Because numerous medieval buildings were destroyed in fires during 1581 and 1679, the town appeared to have a Georgian aspect.

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