History of Burnham Market

Burnham Market was formerly a thriving livestock market town, which today has developed into the bustling, but tranquil village it is today. The village green is surrounded by many fine buildings dating from the 17th and 18th centurys, although some are believed to have been updated in this time, and have a deeper history.

The Name:

Situated close to the mouth of the River Burn, it is likely that the name Burnham derives from this.

Although this is so, it is also believed that Burnham Market was once a centre for the amber trade, and the name may stem from this.

As the full title for the village indicates, historically Burnham had a market and was therefore considered a town, however that market was discontinued and all that remains of it are the summer auctions, held every two weeks on the green.

Today Burnham Market is more normally considered a village, albeit one slightly larger and with many more amenities than you would expect.

The Village Sign:

The original Burnham Market village sign was unveiled in 1978 by Viscount Coke of Holkham Hall. The sign depicts a detailed market scene at Burnham Market in the 15th century reflecting the history of the village as though a snippet of time has been captured.

Famous Connections & Chelsea on Sea

Burnham Market has in it's past and today been home to, or visited by many famous names.

The most interesting and well known of is Horatio Nelson himself.

Burnham Market, as well as it's neighbour Burnham Thorpe has many connections to Horatio and his family. At the most easterly end of the village you will find the property formally known as Church House, Nelson's father's Burnham Market retreat which he moved to in the mid 1790's when Nelson was placed on half pay by the Admiralty and returned to his home of Burnham Thorpe. It is believed that, wishing to give him more space, his father moved out of the Rectory and began residing in Church House, which was later to become the Victoria public house, and has today been divided into smaller town houses.

Possibly Burnham Market's most interesting connection with Nelson is The Hoste Arms, which is named after Admiral Sir William Hoste, one of Nelson's proteges. Originally known as The Pitt Arms, the inn was built in 1640 and renamed after Hoste's victory at Lissa in 1811.

Other property in the village has at various times, been owned by the Nelson family, including Bolton House, formerly an old coaching inn which became the home of Nelson's brother-in-law, Thomas Bolton where he lived with his family for many years. It is also believed this is where Nelson's daughter Horatia died. Also, Burnham House which became the home of Nelson's sister Horatia and her husband Philip Ward.

Today, Burnham is known far and wide for it's cosmopolitan atmosphere which attracts further famous faces year by year, and has hence become known as "Chelsea on Sea".

Burnham Market Village Centre circa 1950Burnham Westgate Church circa 1950Burnham Market Village Centre circa 1950
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