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Watton

Watton is a market town in the district of Breckland within the English county of Norfolk. The Brandon-Norwich Road meet at a crossroads here, where the town developed, about 20 miles west of Norwich. Which means its plenty close enough to visit and or all of the four Medusa Juice Vape outlets. Stop in to the Norwich store, the one in Peterborough or in King’s Lynn, you can visit the bus station Medusa Juice kiosk or the original store on Lynn road.

While he civil parish itself doesn’t cover that large of an area, only comprised of approximately 3,000 households, Watton is thriving. Though at the time of the 2011 census, the population had increased by half. The Domesday Book recorded that Watton (or Wadetuna) featured a church, manor house and Anglo-Saxon settlement. So, yeah, next to that, it’s a booming metropolis these days.

A railway station in Watton, the Thetford & Watton Railway, opened its doors in October 1869 and closed them for good in June 1964. The whole line itself was closed down in April 1965.

History

Like other small market towns, Watton still holds a market every Wednesday. You can shop it between 9.00am and 1.00pm, although several stalls are often kept open on the high street well after the official closing time of 1:00. As with other Norfolk markets, Watton market always has a wide variety of fresh sea produce available, usually caught the day before, so it’s quite fresh. You can sometimes get lucky as quite often the market offers such regional delicacies as samphire and fresh water crayfish.

The Lord of Watton Hall, John de Vaux, first obtained a charter for a market to be held on Fridays. But, the people of nearby Saham Toney complained to the King that the market was harming their own held market which was on the same day. Those complaints were heard and upheld, so the charter was withdrawn. John de Vaux conveyed the matter to his brother Oliver, who was fortunately on better terms with the King, and he was immediately granted a new charter for a Wednesday market.

The market centered on Market Square in front of Wayland Hall, and as it grew it spread westwards along High Street. A market cross stood in the square supported by eight oak pillars. This cross was demolished in 1820 and replaced by a milestone showing the distances to neighbouring towns.

Be Sure To Visit

Some of the interesting places of Watton have great stories which surround them. For instance,
Wayland Wood is the setting of the old English ballad “Babes in the Wood”. It was first published in 1595, and it tells the story of two Norfolk children who were abandoned and left to die in the woods by their uncle. Sounds like a great fairy tale, doesn’t it?
I guess the townspeople are rather proud of it because the legend is also depicted on the town sign, which is hung in a very prominent position on High Street, just in front of the clock tower.

Wayland Wood is also a popular dog walking and recreational relaxation spot. This is amusing as dogs are banned supposedly. I will say however that it is an excellent place to enjoy your Medusa Juice e-liquids and you can sit vaping as long as you would like. Wayland wood is now a nature reserve owned by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

The Wayland Show is one of Norfolk’s oldest agricultural events and is held annually. It has been a key feature of this community for more than 140 years. Held on the first Sunday in August, the show attracts crowds of more than 5,000 people to see displays of livestock; cattle, pigs, sheep and fur & feather and the many marquees and trade stands.
You can also enjoy displays of classic cars, vintage tractors, gun dogs, falconry and horse and carriage rides, and many equestrian events at the show. It is held every year at the western side of Watton, with the show ground being accessed off Brandon Road.

Watton has played an important part in our military history as well, with them housing a large RAF station for many years, namely RAF Watton.

This of course, help to stimulate the town’s economy. After the Second World War the RAF station was used as a Transport Command airfield and as a radar station. It also provided housing for many RAF personnel as well as their families. Most of the station has been developed as part of the Blenheim Grange housing estate these days and the runway is slowly being returned to fertile, agricultural land. Part of the old military land was effectively developed as Wayland Prison.

Before Leaving

There is a prominent walking/cycling path between Griston and Watton, which the Norfolk County Council donated £40,000 toward the development of.

Another must-see site to visit in Watton. The clock tower of Watton was built in 1679 by Christopher Hey. Hey was a wealthy mercer. The tower held a fire warning bell following the ‘Great Fire of Watton’ which destroyed more than sixty properties in 1674.

This early warning bell known to locals as ‘Ting-Tang,’ hangs in an ornate cupola on top of the tower. The brick tower was rendered with cement and a new clock, donated by a local citizen, was installed in 1827 to surround the clock itself. For the silver jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary in 1935, a new clock face was installed.
Today, this clock is still working hard in the 21st century. The building itself is home to a tourist and local information centre. All in all, it’s a fun little place to visit.

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