is frequently described as a 'neat little town' or 'a pleasant little
market town' situated in the 'Garden of Norfolk'.
is the centre of a rural community of scattered farms and beautiful
little villages set into a green, rolling countryside.
Standing on the banks of the River Bure, Aylsham is about 12 miles
from Norwich along the Cromer Road and 10 miles from Cromer.
history begins in the late 13th century. The parish church,
the oldest building in the town, dates from 1380 and was built by
John of Gaunt on the remains of an earlier smaller church.
In the railway age the town boasted two stations. Both are
now gone, but the site of one is now occupied by the Bure Valley
Railway which provides a narrow gauge connection to Wroxham station,
nine miles away.
Valley steam railway
to the Norfolk waterways and rivers once existed through
the Aylsham Navigation (opened 1779) which provided access by wherries
to the staithe near the town watermill. The links were destroyed
in 1912 when the floods destroyed all the locks on the river.
The earliest industry recorded is the weaving industry and Aylsham
was well known for it's 'Aylsham Web' or 'Aylsham Linen' which was
sold all over England.
The black sheep which supply the raw product for Aylsham's Black
This was followed by wool weaving until the industry
moved from Norfolk to the mill towns of Lancashire and Yorkshire.
Today a flock of black sheep still grazes nearby the local fields.
The wool is used to make clothing which is sold in the well-known
Black Sheep shop.
The modern town of Aylsham has grown to accommodate 6000 people.
New housing has sprung up around the edges of the town which is
bustling with several small industries, commerce and agricultural
engineers. It's a busy market town and has a weekly auction market
and also occasional specialist auctions of antiques furniture and
Although the town has grown, its centre has hardly changed over
the last 200 years. Modern shopfronts may have replaced earlier
versions but the appearance of the Market Place and principle streets
is instantly recognisable in the earliest illustrations of the town.
courtesy of Tom Mollard
of the Aylsham Local History Society 01263 761638.
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