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Visiting the Town Hall at Market Place, Aylsham, Norfolk, England: former corn hall dating from c. 1857

Updated on November 27, 2012
Flag of England
Flag of England | Source
Town Hall, Aylsham, with market stalls
Town Hall, Aylsham, with market stalls | Source
Photograph of North side of Market Place, Aylesham, Norfolk in 1857. Location of the Town Hall .
Photograph of North side of Market Place, Aylesham, Norfolk in 1857. Location of the Town Hall . | Source
Map location of Norfolk
Map location of Norfolk | Source

Hub of a relatively quiet town

Not unexpectedly in the Market Place, at Aylsham, Norfolk, England, (which has been a venue for the town's market for centuries) commerce has historically driven the built environment.The Town Hall dates from 1857. Norfolk has traditionally been a strongly agricultural county. Interestingly, the building which now houses the Town Hall started its existence in circa 1857 as a corn hall.

Features of the Town Hall include a conspicuous entrance-way pediment, with inset door pillars. Formerly the building possessed a glass skylight roof and a large turret, but the roof has long been completely tiled over; a smaller turret has replaced the large, former glass one.

The Market Square contains a number of 18th and 19th century commercial properties — several of them in red brick — forming a one-time commercial hub.

But one may also ask: haven't shoppers changed? businesses in the Downtown area of Aylsham have found it difficult to remain profitable, as shoppers, with easier money in their pockets — and on their plastic cards — have preferred to shop in edge of town supermarkets, with their spacious parking lots (parking is an issue in the Market Place at Aylsham). The fact is that, nowadays, on some days, even during normal business hours, the Market Place at Aylsham is comparatively deserted. A sign indeed that England, once referred to as both 'a nation of shopkeepers' and 'the workshop of the world', has undergone a lot of changes. Historically a significant town, once busy commercially, Aylsham is now by most standards a relatively quiet town.

The historical figure, John of Gaunt (1340-1399) was Lord of the Manor of Aylsham from 1372.

Canadians will note that Alysham, Saskatchewan, has at times maintained a twinning arrangement with Alysham, Norfolk.

November 26, 2012

Also worth seeing

In Aylsham itself, St Michael's church (in full, St Michael and All Angels) is a large, partly Medieval, flint-stone structure containing the grave of landscape gardener Humphrey Repton.

Blickling Hall , Blickling (distance: 2.6 kilometres), stately home which is sometimes claimed to be the birthplace of Anne Boleyn — one of King Henry VIII's ill-fated Queens consort — is situated close to Aylsham.


How to get there: United Airlines flies to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. Aylsham is 241 kilometers from Heathrow Airport. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


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    • MJFenn profile image

      MJFenn 5 years ago

      Pavlo Badovskyy: Yes, indeed; East Anglia has many places of interest. Thank-you for your comment.

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image

      Pavlo Badovskyi 5 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      I visited this place many years ago. Any small town in that part of the country has some interesting things to see. Cambridge is also located in that are, may be not close enough but it worth to see it as well. Great hub!

    • MJFenn profile image

      MJFenn 5 years ago


      Yes, there is a lot to see in the Aylsham, Norfolk area, and I hope to write more hubs about the district. Thank-you for your comment.

    • point2make profile image

      point2make 5 years ago

      Interesting hub...well done. Perhaps you might do a follow-up hub on the surrounding area. I have never been to Aylsham..yet. voted up and will be watching for more.