Besthorpe, Norfolk


All Saints Church, Besthorpe
 Besthorpe shown within Norfolk
Area  8.87 km2 (3.42 sq mi)
Population 561 (2001 census[1])
778 (2011)[2]
    density  63/km2 (160/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTM058953
Civil parishBesthorpe, Norfolk
Shire countyNorfolk
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode district NR17
Police Norfolk
Fire Norfolk
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
List of places

Coordinates: 52°31′01″N 1°01′59″E / 52.517°N 1.033°E / 52.517; 1.033

Besthorpe is a village and civil parish in the Breckland district of Norfolk, England, about a mile east of Attleborough, on the A11 road. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 561, increasing to 778 at the 2011 Census.

The village school has long been closed and is now a private dwelling. The church is located in a remote part of the parish, giving rise to the belief that plague aka The 'Black Death' once decimated the original community, resulting in the destruction of many local dwellings. Although no factual evidence exists to support this theory, the plague hit Norfolk very badly.

The village possesses two Halls; the 'Old Hall' and 'New Hall'. The Old Hall is located close to Burgh Common and was also known as Plassing Hall. For many years it was a farm but has recently been converted into a private dwelling. It still possesses a section of moat and some original stained glass.

New Hall was built between 1560 and 1593 by the Drury family, who gave their name to Drury Lane in London. One of the daughters from this family was rumoured to have been drowned in the lake at Lord Byron's family home, Newstead Abbey. Many reference books on factual ghost stories claim that she was murdered along with a coachman with whom she formed a relationship; the 'phantom coach' is said to haunt the Abbey. The Hall possesses one of the few surviving 'tilting grounds' in England; tilting grounds were used for jousting by medieval knights.

Somewhat notoriously, the village possesses a road known as Sluts Hole Lane, although this is most likely a spelling mistake made by late Victorian census takers which has passed into relatively modern usage. Attempts to restore the original name - Slutch Hole Lane - have been opposed by local historians. 'Slutch' is an old English word meaning slushy or muddy, and as part of the road remains in its original state, it would seem to be the correct term. Furthermore, maps and census documents held at Norwich's Library 'The Forum' prove that it was originally known as Slutch Hole Lane. However, this has not stopped local historians and media from making capital out of the misnomer.


  1. Census population and household counts for unparished urban areas and all parishes. Office for National Statistics & Norfolk County Council (2001). Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  2. "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 29 July 2016.

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