Parish Summary: Framingham Earl

This Parish Summary is an overview of the large amount of information held for the parish, and only selected examples of sites and finds in each period are given. It has been beyond the scope of the project to carry out detailed research into the historical background, documents, maps or other sources, but we hope that the Parish Summaries will encourage users to refer to the detailed records, and to consult the bibliographical sources referred to below. Feedback and any corrections are welcomed by email to

Framingham Earl is a small parish to the southeast of Norwich. Framingham comes from the Old English meaning 'farm or homestead of the family of a man named Fram'. The suffix 'Earl' was attached to the name in the early medieval period, and referred to a manor at Framingham that was held by the Earl of Norfolk. On Faden's map of 1797 Framingham Earl is shown as a small village, on the edge of Poringland Heath.

There is some evidence for early occupation in the parish, and prehistoric flint flakes (NHER 28997 and 28999) have been found. A Palaeolithic flint handaxe (NHER 9884), a Neolithic arrowhead (NHER 9885) and axehead (NHER 9884) and a Bronze Age palstave (NHER 9884) have also been found. No archaeological artefacts dating from the Iron Age have yet been found. A watching brief on a new gas pipeline was carried out by the Norfolk Archaeological Unit in 1992 in the west of the parish, and revealed evidence for Roman occupation. Roman coins, pottery, tiles and bricks were found during the survey, perhaps from a Roman settlement (NHER 28997, 28998 and 28999). Metal detecting has also recovered a Roman brooch (NHER 28998) and Roman coins (NHER 33277 and 37492). 

Photograph of St Andrew's Church, Framingham Earl. A medieval parish church, built mainly of flint with a 12th century round tower, a 13th century porch and extensive 19th century restoration. Photograph from


St Andrew's Church, Framingham Earl. A medieval parish church, built mainly of flint with a 12th century round tower, a 13th century porch and extensive 19th century restoration. Photograph from

S. Knott.)

The site of a possible Early Saxon cremation cemetery (NHER 31192) has been discovered, and Early Saxon brooches and a wrist clasp have been found on the site by a metal detectorist. Another Early Saxon brooch (NHER 33277), and a Middle or Late Saxon buckle (NHER 33277) have also been found. In 1994 a metal detectorist found a hoard of five silver Late Saxon coins (NHER 31452), dating from the reign of Edward the Elder. Framingham Earl and the neighbouring parish of Framingham Pigot are not distinguished in the Domesday Book, which records a relatively large and wealthy settlement, with a church. Several different people held land in Late Saxon Framingham, but most of the land was held by Roger Bigod, whose son Hugh became the first Earl of Norfolk. St Andrew's Church (NHER 9887) may date back to the Late Saxon period, although the present building is of post Conquest date. An excavation in 1984 revealed Late Saxon burials and pottery in the churchyard. The church has a 12th century round tower, and was extensively restored in the 19th century.

Fragments of medieval and post medieval pottery have been found (NHER 9888, 222122899728998 and 28999), as well as a medieval horse harness pendant in the shape of a shield (NHER 19332). The course of the medieval and post medieval road (NHER 9661) between Norwich and Bungay runs through the parish, but the road was closed in 1800. Poringland Wood (NHER 37133) is a post medieval plantation, which was planted before 1840, and replanted in the 20th century. Various earthworks survive within the plantation, including extraction pits, hollow ways and a brick pit, probably all of post medieval date. The timber framed and brick barn (NHER 45776) at Boundary Farm dates to the 18th century, and the Old Hall (NHER 48447) is an 18th century house that was altered in the mid 19th century.

Sarah Spooner (NLA), 21 December 2005.


Further Reading

Brown, P. (ed.), 1984. Domesday Book: Norfolk (Chichester, Phillimore)

Mills, A.D., 1998. Dictionary of English Place-Names (Oxford, Oxford University Press)

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




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