Parish Summary: Alderford

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

Alderford, from the Old English meaning a ‘ford where alders grow’, is a tiny parish to the north west of Norwich. The modern hamlet of Alderford is set on a slope overlooking the River Wensum, and Alderford Common is in the neighbouring parish of Swannington.

Photograph of an Early Bronze Age flanged axehead from Alderford.

Early Bronze Age flanged axehead from Alderford (©NCC)

There is some evidence for early occupation in the parish. A few undated prehistoric flint flakes and scrapers (NHER 17747336403453635764, 37286), a Neolithic handaxe (NHER 28515) and a Neolithic spear (NHER 21246) have been found scattered throughout the parish. An Early Bronze Age flanged axehead (NHER 37286) has been found by a metal detectorist. Roman coins, brooches and pottery (NHER 19643364033891341493453635764 and 37286) have also been found throughout the parish, away from the current centre of settlement. Medieval and post medieval finds include coins, pottery (NHER 357653803839623), a medieval toy cauldron (NHER 34149), and two seal matrices; one showing a hare, seated on a hound, blowing a trumpet (NHER 19015) and another with a Virgin and Child motif (NHER 19643). 

Photograph of St John the Baptist's Church, Alderford.

St John the Baptist's Church, Alderford (©NCC)

The parish church (NHER 7745) of St John the Baptist is mainly of the early 14th century, with a carved font that still bears traces of the original paint. Church Farm (NHER 13766) is a large 17th century house, and Bell Farm, (NHER 40440) a Gothick former public house, dates from the 19th century. An unusual 18th century brick fishpond (NHER 25461) with a domed roof is associated with the manor house in the parish of Swannington.


Sarah Spooner (NLA), July 2005.


Further Reading

Mills, A. D., 1991. Dictionary of English Place Names (Oxford, Oxford University Press)

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

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