I live in Reepham the market town located between Norwich and Holt, on the North Norfolk coast. Reepham's attractive historic market town was granted a market charter in 1277 during the reign of Edward I- much of the 18th Century Market Place is a designated Conservation area. This Georgian Norfolk Town, the name Reepham, (Pronounced Reefam) is Anglo-Saxon - 'Meadow of the Reeve'. It is also mentioned in the Domesday Book, and it is not sure which reeve it may have been, a manorial reeve or a church reeve or even a royal reeve.
Set as it is, in the clay heathlands this was a pastoral area with open fields clustered around the town, water meadows along the streams and grazing lands stretching across the heaths until enclosed and eventually ploughed up and made arable in the Wartime.
The town boasts enticing places to eat, and interesting independent shops, we have two butchers to die for, Bonham's Auction House, a general food store, a health food shop, chemist, one greengrocer, three Estate Agents, one Bank, and three pubs including The Old Brewery House which is a Hotel and Restaurant. This houses a public swimming pool and a gym. There is also a swish Florists Shop, an Antique Shop, and a posh Tearoom. Reepham's old railway has been renovated into an Aladdin's Cave that sells gorgeous furniture and beautiful chinaware, it has a large georgian Conservatory sitting on the edge of the disused railway line where one can have a spot of lunch or beverages. The local Post Office has been in the same family for many years and it stocks everything from stamps, books, milk, pies, and much more, I would be very sad to see it go, as I think it is a very important part of the community. The ladies who serve behind the counters always have a smile and a cheer, and always so helpful.
The Bircham Institute a former private house is now used mainly as the local library, it is also used as the WI where local people contribute by making Jams and Pies and homemade Cakes. The original building was 17th Century but it was greatly altered in the 19th Century. Once the home of the Rector of Hackford, it was eventually given to the town by a member of the Bircham family to be used as a reading room and meeting place, a use that it has well fulfilled.
Market Day is on every Wednesday where people set up their stalls to sell their wares, and abundance of fresh flowers and plants. Hundreds of years ago Reepham Market Place was the centre for the Cattle Market which eventually died out.
Reepham's unique claim to fame is it's 'shared churchyard', shared not by two but three separate Parish Churches. It is wondered if this indicated a very early sacred site? it is the correct situation and shape for this, or it could have been a celtic Monastry with several small churches. Whatever the reason, the Parishes nearby of Hackford and Whitwell met in Reepham and each built a Church in the Churchyard. Hackford burnt down in a town fire in the Sixteenth Century, but Whitwell's - St Michael's and Reepham's St Mary's continued with separate incumbents until the 1930's. Parishioners of St Michael's claim to have heard St Mary's singing their final hymn whilst they were still listening to the sermon.
The town also has a Primary School and a High School, the latter was praised for it's work in building International link by Unicef Ambassador former war correspondent Martin Bell. The man in the 'white suit' made comments as he formally awarded British Council International School Status to Reepham High School. Recently the High School has been granted funding of £5,265,000 to build a new Sixth Form which should be completed in 2009.
The famous Parson Norfolk Diarist - Parson Woodforde, did his shopping in Reepham in the 1700's. Some ten years ago Reepham was used as a setting for an adaptation of the classic story The Secret Garden.