Wymondham is an attractive, historic Norfolk market town with its red roofs and the massive towers of the Abbey church set against green fields of the Tiffey Valley. While Wymondham has changed with the times, it has maintained its market town atmosphere with an attractive town centre, some outstanding old buildings, a good range of shops and other facilities.
Wymondham is especially known in East Anglia for its twin-towered Parish Chruch. Prior to the Dissolution of the monastaries, shared its space with a Benedictine Priory (which became an Abbey in the 15th century). The West tower belonged to the parishoners and the East tower to the monks.
An interesting tourist attraction is the Dereham to Wymondham steam railway, which runs on selected weekends during the summer. Take the short walk up the hill past the Abbey to enjoy some food and drink in the Green Dragon in time to take the train back along the gloriously picturesque Norfolk countryside.
Finally, be sure not to miss Wymondham railway station – which has been restored and its buildings house a themed restaurant taken from the film Brief Encounters after the film which was shot at the station.
Wymondham’s history can be traced back to Anglo-Saxon times. The Domesday Book records the ownership of the local manors being with Stigand, the last Saxon bishop of East Anglia. Following the Norman Conquest, the manors were seized and handed over to William de Albini, Henry I’s Chief Butler. William founded the priory which later became Wymondham Abbey, and his son built the chapel of Thomas Becket. Much of the medieval history of Wymondham centres around the life of the Abbey and rivalry between the townspeople and monks.
The Great Fire of Wymondham which broke out in 1615 was a major event in the town’s history. About 300 properties were destroyed in the fire, however the Green Dragon survived and some of the fire marks can be seen on the building to this day.