The community portal site for Downham Market since 2007

A Brief History of Downham Market

Downham Market is one of the oldest market towns in Norfolk, with its origins going all the way back to the Dark Ages. 

The town achieved its market status in 1046 and continues to thrive today, nearly a thousand years later. The town’s Friday and Saturday markets remain a central part of life in and around Downham Market. The market is held on the Market Square, Bridge Street in front of the iconic Town Hall which was built in the 1880s from carrstone quarried in the town. 

The town’s clock is an important piece of Downham’s history. The Grade II listed piece was presented to the town in 1878 by Mr James Scott, a grocer and draper in the town, and has only had one major refurbishment since. It cost £450 to build, which is estimated to be the equivalent of £34,000 today.

The Discover Downham Heritage centre opened in the old fire station in spring 2016. The heritage society raised £650,000 for the works through grants from organisations such as the Heritage Lottery Fund and WREN.



Unlike the other ‘local’ papers which are owned by big businesses, downhamweb has always been owned and run by local people in Downham Market. Our reporting will always be free without paywalls, independent from advertisers and run for the benefit of the community. 

Please consider supporting downhamweb to help us to keep providing this service to the community. If you can, please donate or set up a monthly contribution.

The Downham Sign