Reepham, fourteen miles north-west of Norwich, is one of those attractive Georgian Norfolk towns. It is centred on a south east facing slope of a ridge of land in the heathlands of north Norfolk.
The name, Reepham, is Anglo-Saxon – the ‘Meadow of the Reeve’. But which reeve? Was it a manorial reeve or a church reeve or even a royal reeve? It is unlikely we shall ever know. Reepham is mentioned in ‘Domesday’ but only as a part of Kerdiston which no longer exists as a village. ‘Domesday’ contains references for Kerdiston, Hackford and Whitwell.
Reepham remains as the market centre of a group of small parishes and even smaller settlements. Set, as it is, in the clay heathlands this was a pastoral area with open fields clustered round the town, water meadows along the streams and grazing lands stretching across the heaths until enclosed and eventually ploughed up and made into arable in the Wartime. The Georgian Market Place still centres on the original site of the market.
Reepham received its charter in 1277 during the reign of Edward I but we know the market existed earlier from a mention in the diocesan records. The lord of the manor was John de Vaux who owned land across Norfolk including this piece of land which is actually in Hackford parish , yet was always known as ‘Reifham market’. The parishes and manors of this area are not at all co-terminus and ownership has been confusing throughout its history.
By the Eighteenth century the Reepham brewery was established and the market was supported by a maximum of thirteen public houses catering for man and beast on market day. A service still provided by the King’s Arms.