A-Z of Norfolk nostalgia: A history of Fakenham in pictures

Fakenham town sign. Photo: Archant Library

Fakenham town sign. Photo: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

Take a trip down memory lane with our A-Z of Norfolk and Suffolk’s towns and villages. Continuing with F, we take a brief look at the history of Fakenham.

Fakenham is a market town situated along the River Wensum. The town’s name is recorded in the Domesday Book as Faganham, probably meaning the “ham” or dwelling, of one Facca. Around this time there were only 150 people residing in the area.

The first settlement was in Tunn Street and the Anglo Saxon invaders arrived via the River Wensum. The rest of the town grew up around this street, with the oldest standing house dating back to the 17th century.

There has been a weekly market in Fakenham since 1250 and the islands of buildings in the Market Place, and those close to the church, were probably built on the site of the market booths.

In 1857 a cattle market was built and for some years there was a separate pig market.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the town moved on to develop another big industry – the printing of books. Thomas Miller had a substantial business which ended up supplying titles to major London publishers.

Fakenham today is a town which is rebuilding itself after the closure of several local industries such as the printing operation. Industry and retail developments have spread throughout the town with the main traffic flow diverted out of the centre.

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Many of the smaller buildings still remain in the middle of town with cottages, narrow shop lines and church archways left to tell the story of the town in times gone by.

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