Aldborough lies three miles west of the A140 between Aylsham and Cromer. It is a thriving agricultural village, with houses dating from the 14th to 20th century clustered round a traditional village Green, complete with a village pond.
The village also has a village shop and post office, a primary school, a surgery and pharmacy, a pre-school nursery, a Community Centre, the Church Rooms, a pub, a Chapel and the Parish Church of St. Mary.
The names of Aldborough and other local villages such as Thurgarton, Saxthorpe and Corpusty are thought to have been named by Viking settlers after their home villages of Aldbjerg, Thorgarten, Saxtorp and Korrupstie in Scandinavia. In the Domesday book, Roger Bigod was named as owner of the land, and the records of ownership can be traced to this present day. The village, its Church and the mill are all mentioned in the Domesday book.
Thurgarton is roughly half a mile from Aldborough, and early records show that the Abbot of St. Benet-at-Holme was Lord of the Manor of Thurgarton in Edward the Confessors reign. The Abbey was founded by King Canute, and after the dissolution of the monasteries, the Lordship was transferred to the See of Norwich. The monks in the Abbey wore black robes which, local legend has it, is why the pub in Aldborough is called ‘The Black Boys.’
The Parish Councils of Aldborough and Thurgarton amalgamated in 1935.
The Community Centre started off as a Temperance Hall in 1884. Its full title was The Temperance Hall and Coffee Room Ltd and was built as an alternative to the village pubs. It is now a well-used venue and the centre of most village activities. The village stocks used to be on the Green, in front of the Temperance Hall, but they were accidentally destroyed in the early 19th century during a Guy Fawkes night celebration.
Until recently a Charter Fair came to Aldborough Green every year. The charter was granted by King John and stipulated that the Fair had to be running on 21st and 22nd June, or the charter would be broken. During WW1, an old man walked from Norwich to the Green with a handcart to sell sweets and so keep the charter. In WW2, the Secretary of State gave permission for the Fair to keep the charter while the fair folk were on active service. In days gone by, all sorts of wares were sold at the fair, as well as horses, livestock and poultry. It was also the traditional hiring fair, where servants and farm workers were hired. In the 19th century it lost its traditional character and became a pleasure fair with fairground stalls and rides.
The Church Room was erected in 1911 and enlarged in 1933. It was the focal point for most activities in the village and during the war years concert parties and entertainments were held weekly to entertain the local soldiers and airmen stationed in the area. It was where the WI met and was the social centre of the village until the Temperance Hall became the Community Centre in 1976. The Church Room is still used for many social events, and both the Community Centre and Church Room are regularly hired for functions.
Cricket has been played on the Green most summers for over 100 years.
The history of Aldborough and Thurgarton. Researched by the Aldborough and Thurgarton W.I. and made into a hand written book which is dated June 1937.
‘A Century of Faces and Places.’ This was researched by the Aldborough History Society and covers the history of the villages from the year 1900 to 2000. It was completed as a village millennium project in 2002.
Author: Ruth Elliott