Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Ten Town Tour: Thetford

Duleep Singh memorial, Thetford
Duleep Singh was one of Thetford's famous inhabitants

The ancient market town of Thetford was once the home of the Iceni ruler Queen Boudicca.

This is where she put together her battle plan to try to overthrow the Romans - killing 70,000 people in the process.

In Saxon times, Thetford was the capital of East Anglia and a prosperous place to live, which led to it having its own mint in the 10th Century.

By 1086, the Domesday Survey estimated Thetford's population had grown to more that 4,000 people, making it the country's sixth biggest town.

Thetford became established as an important religious location with the foundation stone of the Cluniac Priory laid in the 12th Century.

When King Henry VIII decided to seize the wealthy monasteries to boost the royal coffers, the dissolution of the monasteries meant the Cluniac Priory was left to fall to ruin.

Famous son

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) is one of Thetford's most famous sons.

After attending Thetford Grammar School, he went to America and wrote the pamphlets Rights Of Man and Age Of Reason.

The Indian Prince Duleep Singh (1838-93), the last Sikh Maharajah of the Punjab, lived at Elveden Hall, near Thetford. His son, Prince Frederick, was a keen local historian and bought the Ancient House to turn it into a town museum.

Today around 24,000 people live in Thetford, many of them descendants of those who moved from London and those who relocated to work at Charles Burrell - a manufacturing centre for Charles Burrell's steam traction engines in the 1800s to late 1920s.

The town is also famous for its ancient forest and its place on the small screen. Much of the filming for the classic comedy Dad's Army was done in the town and surrounding area.

BBC Norfolk drives into Thetford Guildhall and Market Place on Monday, 16 November, 2009.





BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific