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Norfolk, Forehoe District, Wymondham, Parish Information, 2001

Document Reference: Description of Spooner Row, Wymondham

Transcribed by: Jennifer Baker
Date Added: August 22, 2001

Spooner Row is some 12 miles south west of Norwich and about the same distance south east of Dereham.

Spooner Row is officially a 'hamlet' in the parish of Wymondham (Wymondham Abbey church) along with Suton and Wattlefield. All three hamlets lie on the Bays river, which rises near Wattlefield, and flows into the Tiffey at Wymondham and thence into the Yare. The three hamlets were originally centres for wooden trades (as was Wymondham, later especially brushes)- Wattlefield obviously for wattles made from the riverside willows, Spooner Row - not surprisingly - for spoons and other wooden implements, and Suton was where the saw mill was (Sawyers Lane and a timbered Sawyers House still exist). Spooner Row was also known as Wymondham Common (the hamlet name doesn't seem to appear until ?18th century) and Top Common is still one of the lanes in the village. The village grew in the 1840s with the advent of the railway (Norwich to Thetford and Ely and on to London or Peterborough) and there is still a small station and original railway cottages of typical railway red brick. A clay lump granary and yard were built by the line - now the Village Hall and a small industrial complex. There are early farmhouses (timber with clay lump), 19th century brick cottages (with their own wells as the water table is so high here), and also council houses, 1930s bungalows, and some more modern housing. The development is a typical Norfolk 'string' layout - the five roads which intersect near the pub (the Three Boars - an early 20th century Tudor mock-up, but pleasantly done) have housing built along them. There is no village centre as such. The church is 19th century, and was built by the Routh-Clarke family from Wattlefield Hall (local benefactors), and is still in use as an 'outpost' of Wymondham Abbey. The school dates from the 1870s (with modern additions) and was built by the Wymondham School Board as the three hamlets grew. It once had around 100 from 3 to 14 children; there are now around 80 4 to 11 year olds. The Post Office and shop closed about 10 years ago. The village is growing slowly since the Wymondham by-pass made the nearby A11 a better commuting route into Norwich. The village still has a population which reflects an earlier one; local names - Bunn, Sturman, Kemp, Knights - are to be found. Two farms, mainly arable (cereals, sugar beet), are still active.

From Norwich, take the A11 Newmarket Road for about 14 miles and ignore the first signs for Wymondham. Leave at the next exit (Wymondham, Spooner Row, Wymondham College etc), and keep left for Spooner Row. The village (unmarked by any sign!) begins just before the station (old-style level crossing with manned gates).

© Copyright 2001-2017, Andrew Rivett, Geoff Lowe