Cycle Route - Drayton
The 15.5 mile tour begins in Drayton, approx. 1.5 miles north west of Norwich on the A1067, Norwich to Fakenham Road. When you reach Drayton, take the right hand turn in front of the Red Lion Public House into school road.
Drayton’s village cross can be found on the village green. The base and a length of the reeded shaft are original and date from the 14th century although there was some restoration in 1879. There is a French inscription which offers a pardon to all sinners who pray for the souls of William de Bellomonte, Lord of the Manor, and his wife, Joan.
The history of Drayton dates back to Roman times, in 1849 pottery was found in the parish and later a small ampulla (flask) was discovered. At the time of the Domesday Book, it was known as Draituna. Anglo-Saxon relics have also been found here. Legend tells of a great battle fought in Drayton between the Saxons and the Danes and there still remains an area in the parish called ‘Bloods Dale’ where this battle is said to have taken place. To the west of the village are the remains of Drayton Lodge, an early 15th century red brick ‘plaisance’. It was built by Sir John Fastolf who owned the estate until his death in 1459 when it was left to John Paston.
The parish church of St Margaret’s dates mainly from the mid 19th century when the tower, nave, aisles and chancel were all rebuilt. The church retains its Norman font and in the churchyard is a coffin lid from the 14th century. Opposite the church is the Bob Carter Leisure Centre which provides a wide range of sports and social activities for the area.
Felthorpe is a parish with extensive areas of woodland and a small church standing remote from the village. The parish church of St Margaret dates from the 14th century and was restored in 1878.
The 19th century north porch and vestry have been re- set with a mediaeval doorway. Inside the church is a restored 14th century piscine - the basin for washing communion vessels. To the north of the village is Felthorpe Hall built in 1825 and extended in 1935. During World War I it was used as a Red Cross convalescent home.
Stratton Strawless is a scattered parish with a history dating back to the reign of Edward I. The parish church of St Margaret, dates from the 15th century and has a broad tower of 1422. Stratton Strawless Hall was built around 1800 but had the top storey removed in 1960 and has since been converted into flats.
Hainford is a scattered agricultural village that includes the hamlet of Waterloo and large areas of woodland. On the left is the Hainford parish church of All Saints which was built between 1838 and 1840 to a design by John Brown of Norwich in the ‘Early English’style. It was built to replace the old church which is in ruins to the north east of the village.
The Spixworth church of St Peter dates from 1160 although much of the fabric is 14th and 15th century. The tower was originally round but suffered a partial collapse in 1804 and was subsequently encased by its present square tower. Inside the church is a Norman font and a large memorial dated 1634 to William Peck and his wife. This is by Edward Marshall, a pupil of Nicholas Stone who was Master Mason to the Crown.
As you head towards Horsham St Faith in the distance to the left is Norwich Airport. This stands on the World War II RAF base which became home to the liberator aeroplanes of the 458th Bomber Group of the 2nd Air Division of the USAAF.
The Horsham St Faith parish church of St Mary and St Andrew has a screen dated 1528 and an elaborate Jacobean font cover. Opposite the church is the 18th century Waytes House and
the Church Sunday School and Mission Room dated 1880, with its Norman doorway re-set from St Faith’s Priory. The area to the right is the site of the Benedictine Priory dedicated to St Faith and founded by Robert Fitzwalter in 1105 for the poor and needy. St Faith’s Fair also began around the time of the founding of the Priory and lasted until 1872. It began as a sheep fair and then expanded to include cattle which were bought from as far away as Scotland.
The Horsford parish church of All Saints dates from mediaeval times and has a partly thatched roof. The tower dates from 1456 and inside is a 12th century Purbeck marble font and a restored 15th century rood screen.
Opposite the church is Horsford Hall, the former Manor House. This was built in the mid 18th century by Sir Thomas Barrett Lennard who acquired a small farmhouse which he converted.
Info: Broadland District Council