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Iceni Magazine | July 11, 2020

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Top Norfolk Spots for History Buffs

Top Norfolk Spots for History Buffs

Norfolk is without parallels in the whole of the British Isles. The county has one of the most varied and unusual histories of any place on Earth and contains hundreds of official historical sites of both national and global importance.

The history of the county stretches all the way back to the ice age, continuing for millennia. The county has played a critical role in the Roman conquest of Britain, the relationship of England with the Vikings, the politics of the Tudor dynasty, the Industrial Revolution, Second World War, and much, much more. Norfolk has also long been associated with rebellion, revolution, and civil disobedience.

Owing partly to geography and partly to social circumstance, Norfolk has a rich historical pedigree. If you’re a history buff, here are the top places you absolutely need to visit, if you haven’t already.

Burgh Castle 

Top Norfolk Spots for History Buffs

“Gariannonum Burgh Castle south wall well preserved” by Pahazzard (CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Given its strategic location on the Southern coast of England, Norfolk has long been a focal point for would-be invaders and conquerors. One such people who were particularly successful at this were that Ancient Romans, whose conquest of Brittania continues to fuel the popular imagination to this day. They were arguably most established here in Norfolk, given the substantial settlements and fortifications they built here. These best and most famous of these is Burgh Castle, which is believed to have been constructed around 200AD to ward off Viking and Anglo-Saxon invaders. It remains one of the best-preserved Roman fortifications on Earth.

Spong Hill 

Top Norfolk Spots for History Buffs

Source: Pixabay

Another emotionally-charged historical site which highlights the relationship Norfolk has always had with her European neighbours. The county once hosted the strongest Viking presence ever to have gained a foothold in the British Isles and the evidence of their time here is littered throughout the county. As such, Viking culture retains significant interest among locals to this day, with Viking books, films, games, and TV shows being immensely popular. Even in the world of online casino gaming, this enthusiasm can still be observed. Fans of online casino slots can choose to play Viking-themed games such as Viking Clash and Asgardian Stones. The most prominent Viking landmark in the region is Spong Hill, located at North Elmham, which is the largest Viking burial site ever excavated and is a must for any serious Viking buff.

Strangers’ Hall

Norfolk has been a haven for alternative thinkers and radicals for centuries, with the most powerful testament to this being the 14th-century Strangers’ Hall in Norwich. The building served as a refuge for Flemish weavers from the continent, who fled religious persecution in droves to settle in Norfolk throughout the Middle Ages. This highly unusual building now houses a city history museum, where those thirsty for knowledge can learn all about the first of many international communities who made a home for themselves in the county. It has also served as a residence for the Lord Mayor of Norwich intermittently throughout its history, with the first one taking residence here all the way back in 1340. 

The tumultuous and colourful history of Norfolk could fill several books. So much historical drama has played out across this county that a history buff could occupy themselves with years of exploration, but these are the best places to start.

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