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East of England Wroxham and Hoveton, Norfolk

The two settlements are separated by the the River Bure and are considered to be the capital of the Norfolk Broads. It is the base for many boating holidays, based around moorings on Granary Staithe. The marina is one of the oldest tourist boatyards on the Broads. It still has several boat building and pleasure craft hire yards. It is also the starting point for cruises on the broads.



Wroxham Bridge was built in 1619 and replacing an earlier bridge. Not only is it one of the lowest bridges on the Broads it is also one of the most difficult to navigate. A Bridge Pilot is mandatory for hire craft.


Both settlements have their own church. St John’s Church in Hoveton with its flint nave and chancel and brick tower is to the east of the town near Hoveton House. St Mary the Virgin is a mile to the south on the western edge of Wroxham.

The shops and other facilities are found in Hoveton. Roys of Wroxham is actually in Hoveton and refers to themselves as ‘The world’s largest village store’. The first shop was opened here in 1899 and is now several shops with fashion, home, electrical, health and beauty, toy, gardening and DIY departments.There is also a supermarket complete with a McDonalds in it.



Wroxham originally had four shops and a garage but these are now long gone.

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Wroxham

The church stands on the edge of the village. And would have overlooked the fens although these are now masked by trees. It is described on the signpost leading to it as “Norfolk’s hidden gem’.


There has been a church here for at least 900 years and quite possibly longer. The present church was begun in the 12th century, though much of the building is in C15th century Perpendicular style. It is an impressive flint church.

The massive Trafford Mausoleum in the churchyard was designed by Anthony Salvin in 1827 for the Trafford family of Wroxham Hall. Margaret Trafford wanted it as a memorial to her husband Sigismund Trafford Southwell who had fought at the Battle of Waterloo and died in 1827 Salvin exhibited the mausoleum plans at the Royal Academy in London in 1830 and they were were enthusiastically reviewed in Gentleman’s Magazine, as a ‘pleasing and exquisite miniature chapel’.



The doorway was bricked up by Edward Trafford who died in 2003. He was adamant he didn’t want to be interred in the dark with his ancestors and is buried with his wife June and later relatives in the grass by the mausoleum.


Entry is through the south porch. This originally had a room above it but was rebuilt in 1849 by the Humfrey Family. Their shields are over the doorway on either side of a Statue of the Virgin and Child.

Wroxham Church.jpg


nside is a Norman doorway. The rather unusual blue colouring is thought to be C19th. The wooden door is C15th, although the door handle is C13th.


This leads into a porch area containing the C19th font.


On the wall under a mock Norman arch is the memorial to the dead from the First world War.


The Humfrey memorial is beneath the tower.


The porch area (with kitchen, toilet and small boiler room) is cut off from the rest of the nave by a glass screen, intending to cut down on draughts from the door.


An arcade of stone arches separate the nave from the side aisle. Walls are plastered and the ceiling has thin wooden supports.


Edmund Topcliffe who died in 1674 left ten shillings a year for the upkeep of the south aisle. This was completely rebuilt in 1925 when the east window was blocked up. It is now the Lady Chapel.


In the corner are the stone steps that would originally have led up to the rood loft.


The north aisle is associated with the Humfrey and Blake Humfrey families and their marriage alliances are displayed in the stained glass window.


There are more C18th memorials on the north wall of the chancel.


The east window depicts Jesus on the cross. The south window in the chancel has Mary Magdalene meeting the risen Christ .

In the north aisle is a display of the windows removed from the tower in 1960s . They were made in the 1950s by William Wailes workshops in Newcastle. His work can be found in many cathedrals across the country.


The church is open daily. The outside is possibly more impressive than the inside.

Hi Eleanor

A big wave to you from nearby Norwich! Great to see some of the charming places in Norfolk get a little limelight.

Roys was affectionately described by a local comedian as the 'Wroxham mafia', such is their dominance in the town (much like Bakers and Larners in nearby Holt). My first experience of it though was somewhat unusual, as we'd travelled over from Peterborough to Wroxham to start our boating holiday, but on arrival the red-brick building in the photo was being doused by firefighters, having gone up in flames. Luckily the white building (the supermarket) was still able to open, and we picked up our groceries for the trip as planned.
There's more to follow Ian. Apart from a weekend to see the Walsingham snowdrops and Norwich, some years ago, this was my first real visit to the area. The family have holidayed near Sheringham several times and raved about it. I decided it was time I found out why. It definitley lived up to expectation.
There's more to follow Ian. Apart from a weekend to see the Walsingham snowdrops and Norwich, some years ago, this was my first real visit to the area. The family have holidayed near Sheringham several times and raved about it. I decided it was time I found out why. It definitley lived up to expectation.
That is super to hear.
There's a local phrase "Abandon all ambition when you enter Norfolk". I guess it has different meanings, but I latch onto the aspect that once here, it's difficult to aspire to living elsewhere. That certainly happened to us.
Actually that does sum up Norfolk. I felt it was very relaxed and definitely a much slower pace of life. I need to get back and see some more of it. It is a county that repays exploring and enjoying.

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