County of eastern England.
Area 5,360 sq km/2,069 sq mi
Towns and citiesNorwich (administrative headquarters), King's Lynn, Great Yarmouth (ports); Cromer, Hunstanton (resorts)
Physical low-lying with the Fens in the west and the Norfolk Broads in the east; rivers Bure, Ouse, Waveney, Yare
Features the Broads (a series of lakes famous for fishing and water fowl, and for boating); Halvergate Marshes wildlife area; traditional reed thatching; Grime's Graves (Neolithic flint mines); shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, a medieval and present-day centre of pilgrimage; Blickling Hall (Jacobean, built 1619–24, situated 14 km/7 mi south of Cromer); residence of Elizabeth II at Sandringham (built 1869–71)
Agriculture cereals (wheat and barley); fruit and vegetables (beans, sugar beets, swedes, turnips); turkeys, geese, cattle; fishing centred on Great Yarmouth
Industries agricultural implements; boots and shoes; brewing and malting; offshore natural gas; tanning; there are flour mills and mustard works
Population (2001) 796,700 (comprising Breckland, Broadland, Great Yarmouth, King's Lynn and West Norfolk, North Norfolk, Norwich, and South Norfolk)
Famous people Fanny Burney (novelist), John Sell Cotman (painter, and vice-president of the Norwich School), John Crome (‘Old Crome’, painter and president of the Norwich School), Diana, Princess of Wales, Rider Haggard, Horatio Nelson, Thomas Paine (writer and political campaigner), Anna Sewell (author of Black Beauty)
Topography Norfolk is bounded to the north and northeast by the North Sea; to the northwest by
Lincolnshire and the Wash; to the west by Cambridgeshire; and to the south by Suffolk. The coastline is mainly flat and low, and has suffered from widespread erosion, though much land has been reclaimed from the Wash around King's Lynn. There are long stretches of sand, and few inlets; the coast is dangerous owing to numerous sandbanks. Inland the surface is mostly level, and includes in the west a part of the Fens known as the Bedford Level. The many windmills which once stood in this area are now largely derelict; however, several have been restored under a scheme sponsored by Norfolk county council. The soil is varied with chalk, sand, and loam being prevalent in different districts.
History The earliest record of the term ‘North Folk’ is dated 1040, but the county's division from Suffolk is almost certainly earlier. Norfolk suffered many incursions from the Danes.
Resources ‘Gingerbread stone’, the local building stone, is quarried near Snettisham, and limestone at Marham. Clay is dug for bricks and tiles at Hunstanton and Snettisham; flints are worked for facing walls.
Historic buildings Norfolk has many fine churches, among them the beautiful Norman cathedral at Norwich, originally part of a Benedictine monastery. The village churches in the marshland areas are notable for both their grandness of scale and length of nave. The most notable examples are at Emneth, Walsoken, and West Walton (all near Wisbech); at Terrington St Clement and Tilney All Saints (near King's Lynn); at Cley, and at Walpole St Peter, which is also remarkable for its battlement-like parapets and gargoyles. At Castle Rising there is a fine Norman church and the ruins of a Norman castle. Other feudal and monastic ruins are the well-preserved Norman castles at Norwich and Castle Acre; and the ruins of the 12th-century Augustinian priory at Walsingham.
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