Snettisham is a village in the county of Norfolk. The village is located some five miles south of the holiday resort of Hunstanton and nine miles from Kings Lynn. The population of Snettisham is small, perhaps no more than 2,000 in all. Snettisham is also home to Snettisham RSPB reserve, on the coast of The Wash perhaps a mile or two west of the main Snettisham village. Traces of the old Snettisham railway station can still be seen though it closed in 1969.
Snettisham parish extends a good four miles inland and has a considerable
length of foreshore bordering The Wash. Its varied soil and mineral
wealth largely accounts for the several industries which have flourished
here and for the varied occupations of its residents. Snettisham is
shown as a place of importance on the oldest maps known to be in existence
whilst some more modern, larger neighbouring villages are strangely not
Snettisham, offers a real retreat for holiday makers who want to get back to nature and escape from the day to day hustle and bustle. Camping is big here whether it be in tents or caravans. There is a wide selection of small boutique shops offering the standard basic amenities, and specialist services such as an arts and craft shop, picture framing, an art gallery and an old fashioned bookshop. At Christmas time the market square is particularly endearing as it takes on an appeal unique to Snettisham and makes it an ideal backdrop for the annual Victorian Christmas Market.
Snettisham has a long history and the village sign reflects this in that the design of the sign incorporates a torc. Valuable discoveries in parts of Snettisham over the years have been made over the years. One large find is known as the Snettisham Hoard and includes many items from the Iron Age. There has been a settlement in Snettisham since ancient times. 180 gold torques (75 complete) have been discovered around Snettisham.
Snettisham buildings of note include the Old Hall which is of seventeenth century origin. Manor Farm House dates around 1500 and was erected on the site of an old Manor House which existed in 1326 when the Manor of Snettisham was purchased by King Edward III. A bakery was built on the Market Square about the same time and was in use for some four hundred years but ceased to operate in recent years. The Rose & Crown Inn is from the same era and parish meetings were held there centuries ago. Other buildings of interest are "Carrington House" (formerly a bed and breakfast called the "The Hollies"), the old Water Mill and Lambert's business premises.
The well known topographical historian of Norfolk, Francis Blomefield, spelt Snettisham as "Snettesham", stating that its ancient name was "Netesham", being famous for the herds of cows. However, the Domesday Book spells the name as "Snettesham", taking its name from an adjoining rivulet called the "Snet" thus a "Ham" on the "Snet". During 1066 conquest, Snettisham was obviously a town of considerable importance and appears to have been one of the largest and most considerable lordships in Norfolk at that time. In the reign of Edward the Confessor it was regarded by Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury, as his "own proper inheritance". Stigand was, however, dispossessed at the conquest and the lordship was eventually granted to William d"Albini, the King's butler, who went on to build the nearby Castle Rising Castle.
Snettisham's economy is agricultural like most Norfolk villages. However, Snettisham also has in its confines the main quarries of Norfolk Sandstone (known as Carrstone). These quarries have been worked by hand for hundreds of years and more recently the stone has been raised by mechanical means in order to provide readily available building materials for local dwellings. There are numerous buildings in evidence throughout the locale which are built of this very Carrstone. The quarry has since been developed commercially.
Snettisham Beach shingle, in the order of thousands of tonnes, launched a flourishing seaborne trade up to World War I and beyond. A great deal of Snettisham Beach shingle was transported as far afield as The Humber by barge. Snettisham Beach was also a haven for smuggling at one time and this has been commemorated on the village sign as you approach Snettisham from the south.
Snettisham soil varies from heavy, clay, light and moderate silt, on the land at or near sea level to almost fine sand in places and again to reddish, brownish, or light coloured topsoil where either Carrstone, red or white chalk was just beneath the surface. This red or white chalk was, in days gone by, used for road making but is little used today. There was also a brickfield in the village which produced an attractive red brick.
Bulb growing is a relatively new Snettisham industry which has been created as a result of the nature of the sandy soil being beneficial to bulb growth.
St Mary's Church in Snettisham is dated 14th century and it has been a reknowned landmark all around the area every since. Snettisham Church is particularly admirable when viewed from the south-west where you can marvel at its outstanding spire (which stands 172 foot high) which in times gone by afforded a landmark to mariners navigating The Wash.
Park Farm in Snettisham is a much loved attraction in this part of West Norfolk. With 320 acres of farmland and a uniquely wonderful deer safari it is an essential part of any family holiday to the area. Park Farm is a real live working farm so your children will see the real deal. There are trail walks and an adventure playground as well. (Don't let them wear their best clothes here!) The Orchard Tearoom offers locally produced and freshly prepared food but there is also a fantastic picnic area in the orchards if you prefer to bring your own.
One of the most spectacular sights you will see at Park Farm are the beautiful herd of red deer which comprises 60 hinds and 4 stags. During May, June and July it is calving which is an ideal time to see these beautiful babies. You will be able to see and feed them on the amazing 45 minute tractor and trailer deer safari ride. Visitors can also feed an orphan lamb, collect fresh eggs, meet a host of friendly farm animals and much, much more. There are a wide variety of animals for you to see and touch on the farm including sheep, deer, goats, pigs, cows, llamas, chickens plus a few surprises!