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Walpole is a civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. It covers an area of 19.27 km (7.44 sq mi), and includes the villages of Walpole St. Peter, Walpole St. Andrew and Walpole Marsh, with a population of 1,804 in 719 households as of the 2011 census. For the purposes of local government, it falls within the district of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk.
Located roughly half way between King’s Lynn and Wisbech, and on the borders of Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire. The Walpoles is made up of two former villages – St. Peter’s and St. Andrew’s – as well as the hamlet of Walpole Marsh to the north-west.
Lying some 6 miles to the north-east of Wisbech. The Walpoles have a rich and intriguing history. The area is known to have been settled by the Romans, and it was they who built the massive earthen sea wall which is still called Roman Bank.
Until the installation of the 1st Sutton Bridge, in 1821, Roman Bank provided the only route from north Norfolk into Lincolnshire. King John is thought to have lost his treasure in Walpole, in 1216, whole journeying from King’s Lynn to Newark with his train of horse-drawn wagons.
The name Walpole is derived from the 2 words ‘wall’ and ‘pool’ and was adopted as the surname of a local family that moved away from the area, and in time produced the country’s 1st prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole (1676-1745)
Medieval remains have been found in the parish, and Walpole is referred to in the Domesday Book.
St. Godric, who is said to have foretold the martyrdom of Thomas a Becket, was born in Walpole St. Andrew. In his time a pedlar and a seafarer, Godric made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem before spending the last 60 years of his life as a hermit, living among the birds and animals in the forest of Finchale, near Durham.
The author and broadcaster Alec Clifton-Taylor described the church of Walpole St. Peter as “probably the finest village church in England”. Unquestionably the area’s main attraction, its construction was started in the 14th Century on the site of an earlier church.
The church of Walpole St Andrew, which lies just a few fields away, is no longer user for regular worship, and is looked after by the Churches Conservation Trust. It features an anchorite’s cell built into the buttress and s sturdy, brick-built tower that dates back to the 15th century