Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Thetford

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THETFORD, an ancient borough and market-town, partly in Norfolk and partly in Suffolk, is situated on the Thet and Little Ouse, and on the Great Eastern Railway line between Cambridge and Norwich, 36 miles south-west of Norwich, 12 north of Bury St Edmunds, to which there is a branch line, and 96 north-north-east of London. The Little Ouse, which divides the counties, is crossed by a cast-iron bridge erected in 1829. In the time of Edward III. the town had twenty churches and eight monasteries. There are now three churches St Peter's, St Cuthbert's, and St Mary's; of these St Mary's, on the Suffolk side, is the largest. There are various monastic remains in the town. The most important relic of antiquity is the castle hill, a mound 1000 feet in circumference and 100 feet in height, probably the largest of the Celtic earthworks in England. The grammar school was founded in 1610. In King Street is the mansion-house occupied as a hunting lodge by Queen Elizabeth and James I. Brewing and tanning are carried on; and there are also manure and chemical works, brick and lime kilns, flour-mills, and agricultural implement works. The Little Ouse is navigable from Lynn for barges. The population of the municipal borough (area 7296 acres) in 1871 was 4166 and in 1881 it was 4032.

Thetford is supposed to have been the Sitomagus of the Romans. In the time of the Saxons, by whom it was called Theodford, it was the capital of East Anglia. During the heptarchy it was frequently desolated by the Danes. It was burned by them in 998 after a drawn battle between Swend and Ulfcytel, and again after Ulfcytel's second battle at Ringmere, 10th May 1004. From the reign of Athelstan to that of King John it possessed a mint. The see of Elmham was removed to it in 1070, but it was transferred to Norwich in 1094. At Domesday it had five burgesses, but by the time of Edward III. they had increased to 953. It was in corporated by Elizabeth in 1573. It returned two members to parliament from the time of Edward VI., but was disfranchised in 1868.