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Interesting Facts You Probably Didn’t Know about Norfolk – From Dialect to The Doomsday Book

Norfolk is one of the UK’s most beautiful regions, renowned for its Broads and coastline. Yet, there is plenty about the area that you might not know. Here we look at some of the facts that make Norfolk even more special.

  • Norfolk’s coastline was the first part of Britain to be settled by early man, with the first humans arriving here around 1.2 million years ago. Back then, it was connected to mainland Europe by a land bridge.
  • Happisburgh in Norfolk is one of the oldest known settlement, with an axe being found here dating back an incredible 700,000 years, more than 200,000 older than any other known artefact in the UK.
  • Norfolk is one of the only counties in the UK not to contain any stretches of motorway. This has made the city a little inaccessible, but has also prevented over-development and helped to preserve the large amounts of charm and character.
  • Despite this lack of access, Norwich was the UK’s second biggest city for more than 700 years, largely as a result of the wool trade. And it was even touted to be the capital at several points. The Domesday Book shows that Norfolk was one of the most populous counties in the 11th century, and this remained the case until well after 1600.
  • There are more medieval churches in Norfolk than any other county. Out of the more than 1,000 built, around 659 still survive. This includes St Nicholas’s in Great Yarmouth, which is possibly the biggest parish church in the UK.
  • Norfolk has its own very distinct dialect, with numerous unique words that only a local would understand. These include jasper, which means wasp, and dodman, which means snail.
  • The region is also home to the UK’s rarest amphibian, the northern pool frog. With its distinct croak it was once extinct in the UK but was reintroduced in 2005 from Sweden. Growing numbers now make their home on the Norfolk Broads.
  • Norfolk can boast some very famous former residents too, with historical figures such as Horatio Nelson and Howard Carter, the discoverer of Tutankhamen’s tomb.
  • Norwich’s cathedral spire is 315 feet high and the building is made using Caen stone, brought all the way here from Normandy.

All of this and more make Norfolk and Norwich rich in culture, history and nature. That’s a big part of the joy of living here and a major reason why the area continues to flourish, even in difficult times nationally.