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Litcham is a village and civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. It is situated some 10 km north-east of the town of Swaffham and 40 km west of the city of Norwich.[1]

The civil parish has an area of 7.89 km² and in the 2001 census had a population of 592 in 257 households. For the purposes of local government, the parish falls within the district of Breckland.[2]

The Bull Inn a 17th-century coaching inn, with parts dating back to the 14th century, was the first change of horses on the King's Lynn to Great Yarmouth coaching route.

Litcham is the location of Litcham High School, and Litcham Primary School.


[edit] Litcham

Litcham is in the Launditch hundred of the Breckland district of Norfolk, England. It is almost equidistant from three major market towns: East Dereham, Fakenham and Swaffham. In 1831 its population reached 771; more than a third of these were agricultural workers. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book under the name Licham, Lecham or Leccham as 'a Market Town in the centre of Norfolk'. Other known spellings are Lucham, Lycham, Luychesham to mention but a few.

[edit] History

In Elizabethan times the village was the centre of the local tanning industry. The Collinson and Hallcott families made considerable fortunes and became country squires. The Hallcotts were local benefactors, building almshouses and paying for a church bell. Mathew Hallcott is shown on the village sign with his tanning equipment.

Edward I granted Litcham the right to hold a weekly market, but it did not thrive and had ceased by 1836. However it has left its mark on the layout of Litcham and is probably the reason why Church Street widens out so dramatically just below All Saints Church.

In 1977 it was designated a conservation village and boasts eleven listed buildings plus a church and priory that date back to the 12th century. The village sits astride a major crossroads of country lanes, the most important of which is the B1145 which stretches between King's Lynn and Norwich and was once the King's Lynn - Norwich - Great Yarmouth stagecoach route. Horses would have been changed at the 17th-century Bull Inn, which also served as the local law court until the late 18th century. On the green in front of the Bull Inn there once stood a row of old cottages and a chapel, which were demolished in 1968. The route out of the village on the B1145 towards Mileham passes 'Fourways', a toll-house until 1912 and now home to the village museum run by the Litcham Historical Society. Today the village has all the necessary amenities such as a post office, general store, butchers, church, Methodist chapel, bus garage, fish and chip shop, primary and high schools, health centre - and the Bull Inn.

[edit] All Saints Church

All Saints Church with its square tower was largely rebuilt in the early 15th century. The clock is dated 1725 and was made by the Swaffham blacksmith. The tower contains a peal of six bells, which are still rung today by the Litcham Bellringers. The unusual red and green painted rood screen was completed in 1536 and shows twenty-two painted images of saints. The tracery of the upper portions of the screen are carved with great delicacy. The female saints can be identified as Sitha, Cecilia, Dorothy, Juliana, Agnes, Petronella, Helena, and Ursula. The baptismal font is of the early 15th century and shows shields, now stripped of their identifying painted arms, on the bowl. There is also a Methodist Chapel, built in 1909, on Front Street.

[edit] Litcham Common

Litcham Common is situated the south of the village and is a managed nature reserve consisting of 28 hectares of lowland heath and mixed woodlands. The Nar Valley Way long-distance footpath runs across the common, is never far from the river, and offers a great variety of scenery along the country lanes and tracks. The path follows farm tracks through Lexham Estate by kind permission of the landowner; at each end it passes through commons managed as nature reserves at Litcham and Castle Acre. A Bronze Age burial mound was discovered on the common and Roman settlements and roads have been found just outside the village. An extensive collection of coinage and artifacts is housed in the local museum.

Electors 471 (Electoral Register, December 2005); for further information visit Village Website. Submitted by: John Relph, Parish Clerk, August 2006.

[edit] References

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Coordinates: 52.72406° N 0.79130° E

(Source: Wikipedia)
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