Parish Summary: Pudding Norton

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

The civil parish of Pudding Norton is situated just south of Fakenham, in the local government district of North Norfolk. The northeastern corner of the parish contains the small Starmoor Wood and Plantation, and the corner of Great Ryburgh Common. It is also cut by the line of the dismantled Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway (NHER 13581) which linked Great Yarmouth to Sutton Bridge via Stalham, North Walsham, Aylsham, Fakenham and King’s Lynn.

To the south lies the deserted village of Testerton (NHER 7118), which was a separate civil parish until 1935 when it was combined with Pudding Norton. The village of Pudding Norton (NHER 7111) is situated at the centre of the parish, just to the south of Pudding Norton Hall (NHER 11753), and is also largely deserted. 

The ruins of the church at Pudding Norton, which incorporates some Late Saxon or Norman work.

The ruins of the church at Pudding Norton. (© NCC)

Evidence for early occupation of Pudding Norton is minimal, as there has been little development of the area in modern times, and very little metal detecting activity. A single field just north of the deserted village of Testerton has received attention, and from this area has been recovered a Bronze Age copper alloy awl, Roman coins, an Early Saxon brooch and medieval coins and metal objects. The lack of evidence from the rest of the parish should not therefore prohibit the possibility that evidence for early occupation remains to be uncovered.  

In addition to these finds there are a small number of undated ring ditches recorded on aerial photographs of the area (NHER 29466, NHER 29831, NHER 30860). Although no firm date can be attributed to these cropmarks, they may be identifiable as Bronze Age ring ditches, and indicate probable activity before the medieval period. It should also be noted that settlement, although sparse, is noted in the Domesday Book.  

The majority of the evidence held for Pudding Norton parish centres on the two deserted villages and their associated churches. The village of Pudding Norton (NHER 7111) was deserted during the reign of Elizabeth I, when the local landowner turned the occupants out to make way for grazing. All that remains of the medieval village are a number of features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs of the area, the earthwork of an old road to Fakenham (NHER 18144), and the site of the parish church of St Margaret, which is listed as part of the village (NHER 7111).  

The ruins of the church include Late Saxon or Late Saxon-Norman work. The remaining walls form the west tower and part of the west end of the nave, which are constructed of flint with 12th century carstone quoins to the base of tower, and later 13th century limestone quoins above. The west window of the tower dates to the 12th century with a deep splay, and has a 13th century lancet inserted. 

The deserted village of Testerton (NHER 7118), 1.5km to the southeast of Pudding Norton village, is very similar. Both form part of a clutch of deserted villages within a few kilometres of Fakenham, which suggests that the combination of landowners’ neglect and the pull of Fakenham during the industrial revolution had a significant effect on the surrounding countryside.  

Like Pudding Norton village, Testerton currently has only a handful of inhabitants. Once a civil parish in its own right, Testerton parish was abolished in 1935 and the lands used to enlarge Pudding Norton. At the beginning of the 17th century the parish had only 18 communicants, and the lord of the manor possessed all of the land. By the end of that century the church was already very ruined, and at some point after this time the walls were completely removed. What survives of the buildings is the western part of the west tower of the church of St Remigius. East of this, the church has been completely ploughed up, and pieces of building material are widely scattered. Aerial photographs in 1977 give a good idea of the outline of the church, which had a rectangular nave and an apsidal chancel. The tower dates to the late 14th or 15th centuries, though the rest of the church is likely to have dated to the 11th or 12th centuries. 

Although there are so few sites in the parish, there are two other buildings of significance. The listed buildings of Pudding Norton Hall (NHER 11753) and Testerton House (NHER 11748) are closely associated with their respective villages, though they now stand almost alone. Testerton House has a south façade of seven bays in Georgian style, the two storeys constructed from red brick with a central hooded porch. Unfortunately the current building is only the rear service wing of what was once a much larger building dating to 1802.  

Pudding Norton Hall (NHER 11753) has an older core dating back to the mid 17th century, when it was built for the Paris family who lived there between 1576 and 1698. It received several reconstructions in the 18th and 19th century, and has since declined into a farmhouse.  During World War Two a hexagonal pillbox (NHER 11747), constructed of concrete blocks with a door to the east was built very close to the site of Testerton village (NHER 7118). An RAF air photograph shows an anti-aircraft battery to the southeast, with two small circular structures and one larger. Other smaller features may include a machine gun emplacement, between Colkirk and Great Ryburgh villages.  

Ruth Fillery-Travis (NLA), 12 December 2006.


Further Reading 

Knott, S., 2006. ‘St Margaret, Pudding Norton’. Available: Accessed: 12 December 2006

GENUKI. Information on Pudding Norton. Available: Accessed: 12 December 2006

Morris, J. (General Editor), 1984. Domesday Book, 33 Norfolk, Part I and Part II (Chichester, Phillimore & Co)

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

Southall, H., 2006. ‘A Vision of Pudding Norton CP/AP’. Available: Accessed: 12 December 2006 

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