Castle Acre Priory
Norfolk is a low-lying county in East Anglia in the east of southern England.
It was settled with neolithic camps along the higher land in the west where flints could be quarried.
A Brythonic tribe, the Iceni, inhabited the county from the first century BC, to the end of the first century AD. The Iceni revolted against the Roman invasion in 47 AD, and again in 60 AD led by Boudica. The crushing of the second rebellion opened the county to the Romans. During the Roman era roads and ports were constructed throughout the county and farming took place.
Situated on the east coast, Norfolk was vulnerable to invasions from Scandinavia and northern Europe, and forts were built to defend against the Angles and Saxons. Norfolk, and several adjacent areas, became the kingdom of East Anglia, later merging with Mercia and then Wessex. The Domesday Book lists Norfolk as one of the most densely populated parts of the British Isles.
During the high and late Middle Ages the county developed arable agriculture and woolen industries. The economy was in decline by the time of the Black Death, which dramatically reduced the population in 1349, suffice to say that the current population has yet to equal the population from this time. By the 16th century Norwich had grown to become the second largest city in England, but in 1665 the Great Plague of London again killed around one third of the population.
During the English Civil War Norfolk was largely Parliamentarian. The economy and agriculture of the region declined somewhat, and during the industrial revolution Norfolk developed little industry and was a late addition to the railway network.
In the 20th century the county developed a role in aviation. The first development in airfields came with the First World War; there was then a massive expansion during the Second World War with the growth of the Royal Air Force and the influx of the American USAAF 8th Air Force which operated from many Norfolk Airfields. During the Second World War agriculture rapidly intensified, and has remained very intensive since with the establishment of large fields for cereal and oil seed rape growing.
Norfolk's low-lying land and easily eroded cliffs, many of which are chalk and clay, make it vulnerable to the sea, the most recent major event being the North Sea flood of 1953. A large section of the Norfolk Broads, villages and farmland face being surrendered to the sea to save the rest of the Norfolk coastline from the impact of climate change. The scheme drawn up by Natural England envisages that 25 square miles of fen and field would be wiped of the map for ever in an attempt to realign the coastline.