Looking back at our village history
The origins of the settlement at Knapton are unknown but we know that people have lived in what we now call Knapton for at least 1000 years.
‘Kanapatone’ is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was valued at 60 Shillings.
How much do you think that would have been worth today?
We look back and explore some of the rich history of our village.
Together with our very own historian, we paint a picture of what life was like in our village, with photos from our archive and interviews with villagers who remember days gone by to get an insight into what makes our village so special today.
Historical evidence of settlement…
Small quantities of flint tools, ‘pot-boilers’ and scrapers have been discovered, implying that the undulating ground between Hall Lane and the B1145 road, which is the boundary with Swafield, was in use during Neolithic times.
In his Portrait of Norfolk, David Yaxley notes that the village boundary with Paston … has hedges that date only from the 15th or 16th centuries, although the boundary itself goes back to before the Conquest.
At the time of the Norman Conquest, Kanapatone was valued at the sum of 20 shillings, which was increased to 60 shillings in the seminal Domesday Book of 1086, perhaps due in part to the greater accuracy and thoroughness of that survey.
Where does the name Knapton come from…
The name of the Parish has been the subject of many theories, but it is generally believed that it probably dates from the period of the Danes invasion, when they opted to settle in Norfolk, rather than just being regular ‘visitors’!
Walter Rye put forward a theory that several Norfolk village names reflected names in Scandinavia and in his History of Norfolk, published in 1885, he connected Knapton with Knappen in Eastern Denmark.
Recent scholarship suggests: ‘Cnapa’ (Old English personal name) + ‘tun’ (meaning settlement or farm).
Things were different in 1845,
for a start, we had a shop…
The village was on a lofty eminence, covered an area of 1461 acres and had 348 inhabitants.
I think they meant residents…
And we had our own Policeman, Aldis.
by 1911, a lot had changed
then came the Telegraph Road…
Dire straits indeed as the population has dropped to 346 but the area has grown to 1,490 acres, with a rateable value £2,680.
We’ve lost our Policeman, but gained a Station Master, a School Mistress, a Grocer, a blacksmith and a cattle dealer…
Architectural Dig on the Millenium Field
Before the building could commence on the Millenium Field the owners, Victory Housing, spent over £30,000 with contract Suffolk Archeology to carry out an architectural dig to make sure they weren’t desecrating a site of historical significance.
Their report, published on the NNDC planning portal, covered an initial dig of seven trenches in May and June 2018 and has uncovered archeological features on site thought to be potentially significant, including “late Saxon to high medieval settlement”.
“The site lies within an area of archeological and historical interest and has the potential to reveal evidence of a range of periods. Prehistoric activity includes flint scatters recovered during metal detectorist surveys and cropmarks identified from aerial photography.”
And the report’s conclusion stated: “Archaeological remains across the eastern half of the site … define a truncated late Saxon and early medieval settlement phase with evidence of pits, postholes and ditches.”
This is what they found…