Trades & Services Directory

History of Cringleford

Below is an extract from:

A Brief History of Cringleford
published by Cringleford Historical Society
(J.E. Bellinger) Revised 2003

Text and photographs coutesy of Cringleford Historical Society

Copies are available from Cringleford Post Office or directly from Cringleford Historical Society

An Abridged History of Cringleford

Cringleford lies some three miles south-west of Norwich, astride the road which runs from the city, south-west towards London. The name " Kringelforda " is thought to be of Scandinavian origin meaning, "Circle ford", also interpreted as, " The ford by the round hill ".

Before 1066

There were people living in the village before written records began; neolithic flints have been found and Bronze Age burial mounds or round barrows stand on the boundary of Cringleford in Cantley Wood.

Keswick Road is thought to be a Roman road leading from the Roman town of Caistor St. Edmund, westwards across the County. Roman coins and pottery have been found in the village.

By Saxon times Cringleford was a well ordered place with its parish boundaries settled and the land divided into estates. There was a simple church, which may have had a round tower like those at Colney, Intwood and Keswick.

Tudor Period

This is probably the most interesting time in the history of the village.
A stone bridge was built to replace the wooden one which had been swept away in a flood in 1519. The Church suffered at the Reformation when the rood screen was removed and the stairs to the rood loft were blocked up. St. Albert's chapel became disused and disappeared.

Later in the year Cringleford was almost totally destroyed by fire, only the Church and the priest's house are supposed to have survived because they were built of stone. Even Cringleford Hall was reported to be damaged in the fire, although it stood well away from the other houses in the village, which were along the main street from the bridge to the village green.

The village was rebuilt and because of an old map of 1571 drawn by John Goodwin, surveyor to the City, we know the names and positions of the houses. We also have the exact measurements of the houses and all the associated outbuildings from the sale following the Act of Parliament in 1580.

The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

In the time of Charles II, the Church was restored and in the eighteenth century a number of buildings in Cringleford were rebuilt or extended, reflecting the prosperity of Norwich and Norfolk at that time. The village had a public house, "The George", which had a Dutch gable added to it in about 1700, and was modernised in Georgian times. This house is now called "Ford End" and is opposite the churchyard.

The Norwich to Thetford Turnpike Trust had been formed to improve the road for travellers and this was paid for by tolls. The toll gate on the Cringleford to Hethersett section of the road was placed on Cringleford Bridge which had been widened by 6 ft earlier in the century but was still narrow. The first mail coach service from London to Norfolk began in 1784.

The Nineteenth Century

The road by the Church was widened by thirteen feet as the mail coaches had difficulty negotiating the bends there. In 1845 the Norwich to Newmarket mail coach leaving Norwich overturned on the bridge, but luckily there were only a minor injuries. A newspaper report at the time called for, "a broad level iron bridge to be erected instead", because of the number of accidents which took place. However we still have the same bridge today.

The coming of the Norwich to Brandon railway in 1845 which runs alongside the boundary of Cringleford with Intwood and Keswick saw a decline in the amount of tolls gathered by the tollkeeper, and In 1870 the Turnpike Trust was wound up.

The Twentieth Century

At the turn of the century the south aisle of the Church was added and the Church was thoroughly restored by the vicar, The Rev. T.S. Cogswell. The vestry was added in 1926.

The Patteson Club was given to the village as a reading room and working man's club in 1911 by Mrs Isabella Patteson, and this was the social centre of the village until the Church Hall was built in 1952.

The bridge was in the news again In 1901 when a traction engine travelling from Eaton struck the parapet and toppled over into the river killing both the driver and the firemen.





There was a fire at the mill in 1916 and the three-storey brick and timber building was completely destroyed. Only the Mill House and the sluice gates remain.

The period after the first World War saw the beginning of much house building, with houses and bungalows in Intwood Road, Oakfields Road, Keswick Road and some in Colney Lane.

The village continue to grow in the 1930s when the Tudor Hill estate was begun in Colney Lane by Archie Rice, and the mock Tudor houses in the lower part of Keswick Road and Keswick Close followed.

During the Second World War Cringleford had a Home Guard Company and a National Fire Service Station which was on the village green. During the air raids on Norwich in 1942 many people were evacuated and housed in the Patteson Club or in huts near the Round House.

The 1950s and 60s saw further expansion and as one result the school had extensions added in 1970 and 1974 to cope with growing numbers of children. The playing field given to the village in 1935 saw more facilities added to it, football pitches, a cricket square and tennis courts.

The wooden pavilion opened in 1968 was extended in 1992.

The village bypass in 1975 included the construction of a new bridge, taking Colney Lane over the bypass, and meant that some properties were demolished, and Hill Grove lost most of its land. The Norwich Southern Bypass was built in 1992 on the village boundary with Hethersett and Colney.

Roger Bellinger
for Cringleford Historical Society 7.10.2002


Today in 2007 the development of the Round house Park will more than double the population of Cringleford. Not only will some 700 or more homes be added but a new school, recreation area and parklands are planned. The picture below shows the development site with the basic road system prior to any buildings. This website will strive to bring up to date photographs as this new estate takes shape over the coming years.
Photograph courtesy of Mike Page and Archant