Parish Summary: Attlebridge

This parish summary provides an overview of the large amount of information which we hold about the parish, and only a representative sample of sites and artefacts from each period are mentioned. If you have any feedback on this article please contact us using the link on the left-hand menu or by emailing 

The parish of Attlebridge lies northwest of Norwich and to the west of Taverham. Its name comes from the Old English for ‘Aetla’s bridge’ and indeed there has been a river crossing in the village of Attlebridge itself since before the Norman Conquest.

The parish appears to have been inhabited since prehistoric times, with archaeological examples from most major periods. The earliest evidence of occupation comes from the Mesolithic and is in the form of worked flint tools, including an axe and microliths (NHER 22887 and 17217). Later flint tools from the Neolithic found in the parish include a perforated macehead (NHER 7733) and a hammerstone (NHER 22887). Settlement continued into the Bronze Age, and pottery fragments of this time have been discovered (e.g. NHER 5613), together with copper alloy objects including a spear fragment (NHER 34631) and a scabbard mount (NHER 7734). Flint tools continued to be used well into the Bronze Age, and a flint scraper (NHER 34632) was found in 1998.

Metal detecting in recent years has recovered evidence of Roman occupation from the 1st to early 5th centuries. This is in the form of coins (e.g. NHER 20423), brooches (NHER 20424) and other metal objects. However, rare evidence of a Roman structure was uncovered by excavation in 1989, to the north of Attlebridge village. This is thought to be a roundhouse or perhaps even a temple (NHER 17217).

Evidence of a Saxon presence in the parish is scant until the Late Saxon period. A coin from this period was found by metal detecting in 1996 (NHER 32027). Also, the same excavation that uncovered the Roman structure (above) discovered Late Saxon (or possibly early medieval) barns. 

St Andrew's Church, Attlebridge, showing the 13th nave and chancel and the 15th century tower and south porch.

St Andrew's Church, Attlebridge, showing the 13th nave and chancel and the 15th century tower and south porch (©NCC)

The medieval period in Attlebridge is represented by a number of metal detector finds including a silver gilt knife pommel (NHER 24418) buckles, a scabbard base and coins (NHER 34326). In terms of buildings, the only medieval survival is St Andrew’s Church (NHER 7748), which has a nave and chancel of 13th century date, with later 15th century additions. The parish contains, somewhere, the remains of Dighton (NHER 12212), a medieval village that is thought to have been deserted by the 18th century. Despite several investigations the exact site of the village is not known.

Evidence of settlement in post medieval times is to be found in surviving buildings, the oldest of which is probably Old Hall Farm (NHER 7751). This has some 17th century brickwork around a probable timber frame and was surrounded on three sides by a moat until the 1970s. Spring Farm Barn  (NHER 7786) has a date of 1767. The Attle Bridge (NHER 7738) was rebuilt in 1688 and again in 1913 reusing some of its original stonework. The last building worth a mention is the Old School (NHER 13760), a 19th century Gothic style building, and now a private house. Continued metal detecting in the parish has recovered a variety of post medieval coins (for example NHER 34326).


Pieter Aldridge (NLA), 10 August 2005.


Further Reading

Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B., 1999. The Buildings of England. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-east (Harmondsworth, Penguin)

Rye, J., 1991. A Popular Guide to Norfolk Place-names (Dereham, The Larks Press) 

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