Norfolk Tourist Information
Norfolk Tourist Information
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    Norfolk Tourist Information / Towns & Villages

    Downham Market
    Downham Market (population over 7,500), probably had its origins as a Saxon settlement, sited around the elevated ground on which the Church was built, and achieved Market status by the year 1050.

    The best-known landmark it the unusual black and white clock in the Market Place, which was presented to the town by grocer, draper and clothier James Scott in 1878, which has become Downham's most famous feature. Scott's initials can be seen in the weather-vane at the top.

    The Town lies on the ancient Roman Akeman Street route and takes its name from a HAM (dwelling place) on a DUN or DOWN (hill). Thus Dounham or Douneham, roughly translated, means an estate on a hill.

    On Mayday or thereabouts in 1646,(each historian has his own favourite day) Charles 1 of England (Charles Stuart), escaping across the Fens after the Battle of Naseby, stayed at the Swan Inn, disguised as a Clergyman, awaiting news from his faithful servant Hudson regarding the manner in which the Scots would receive him.

    The Swan still stands today and is situated in the High Street in Downharn Market, but the present day construction is not the original building.

    It is said that Paradise Lane (now Road) was so named by reason of the gallows being sited there, and that those poor souls about to suffer this fate were as close to Paradise, as they were ever likely to be, as they passed on. It is not clear when the gallows ceased to operate.

    It is said that Lord Nelson attended his first school in Downham Market.

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    AddressDownham Market
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