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North Elmham is a village and civil parish in the English county of Norfolk.It covers an area of and had a population of 1,428 in 624 households as of the 2001 census. For the purposes of local government, it falls within the district of Brecklandmarker.

The village is about 8 km (5 miles) north of East Dereham on the west bank of the River Wensummarker. It was the site of the pre-Norman cathedral of Elmham, seat of the Bishop of East Anglia until 1075.


North Elmham comes from the Anglo-Saxon "Village where elms grew" and is first mentioned in 1035. It is located prominently to the north of the village was the Norfolk County Schoolmarker which on closing in the 1890s was taken over for the Watts Naval Schoolmarker, the birthplace of the actor John Mills. The fine buildings have now been demolished. The County School Stationmarker on branch line served the school, and today is preserved as a small visitor centre. The village once had its own station on the Mid Norfolk railway line from Wymondham to Fakenham. The building still exists and it is planned to build a new one or reopen the building as a station again. This would be needed to connect the County School station described above to the rest of the Mid Norfolk railway.

North Elmham Mill, known locally Grint Mill, had two breastshot waterwheels until the early twentieth century when they were replaced by two turbines. By the 1970s the milling machinery was driven by mains electricity while the turbines were used to drive a sack hoist and two mixing machines. The mill continued to produce animal feed into the late twentieth century.

No trace of the Saxon cathedral survives. It housed the episcopal throne of the Bishops of East Anglia from around 955 and is thought to have done so before the Danish invasions. A mid ninth-century copper-alloy hanging censer was discovered at North Elmham in 1786. The earthworks and ruins at North Elmham stewarded by English Heritage are thought to be the remains of Bishop Herbert de Losinga's late eleventh-century episcopal church and the late fourteenth century double-moated castle built on this by Henry le Despenser, Bishop of Norwich.

It is unclear whether N. Elmham or South Elmhammarker, Suffolk is the site of East Anglia's second See ("Helmham"), founded in the reign of King Ealdwulf (c.664-713) according to Bede.

Notable residents


  1. Census population and household counts for unparished urban areas and all parishes. Office for National Statistics & Norfolk County Council (2001). Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  2. Ekwall, E. Concise Dictionary of English Place-names


  • Bede, Ecclesiastical History of England
  • Rainbird Clarke, R. East Anglia (London, 1960)
  • White, William. History, Gazetteer, & Directory of Norfolk, (1845)
  • Whitelock, Dorothy. 'The pre-Viking Church in East Anglia', Anglo-Saxon England, 1 (1972), doi:10.1017/S0263675100000053

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