This market town, which
built its reputation on wool, was almost
destroyed by fire in the early 17th century (a
common problem at that time in this county!).
A few buildings survived, including the Green Dragon – one of England’s oldest pubs. The local abbey church, which has a tower at both ends and dates from the 12th century, also escaped the flames.
In the market place is a half-timbered market cross, while the Guild Chapel dedicated to Thomas a Becket was rebuilt in the 14th century and is now a provincial library.
The town’s most notorious sons were landowner
Robert Kett and his brother Robert, a
shopkeeper, who objected so strongly to a new
law allowing landowners to fence off their
land that they led a 12,000-strong army and
marched on nearby Norwich in 1549.
Robert was later hanged in chains at Norwich Castle. His brother was hanged from the church spire at Wymondham. It took the boy-king Edward VI took two battalions and eight weeks to quell the peasants’ uprising, but Kett’s Oak, where the rebels assembled, still stands on Norwich Common to remind us of this event.