Sir Jerome Alexander (died 1670), a High Court judge in Ireland, noted for his exceptional severity, attended the local school c.1600.

Aylsham became Norfolk's first plastic-bag-free town on 3 May 2008,[7] although it proved difficult to continue implementation of the initiative owing to lack of support.

Humphry Repton (1752–1818), the landscape gardener who lived at nearby Sustead, is buried in St Michael's Churchyard, and his watercolours provide a fascinating record of the Market Place in the early 19th century.

Welcome to the Aylsham Town Council's venue hire section. Follow the link to find out more about the services we offer and our current fees.

Aylsham is home to Norfolk's slow food movement and so as you would expect it's a great place to spend some time collecting local produce for your evening meal.

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The south wing has a number of turrets containing staircases.

Aylsham is thought to have been founded around 500 AD by an Anglo Saxon thegn called Aegel, Aegel's Ham, meaning "Aegel's settlement". The town is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Elesham and Ailesham, with a population of about 1,000. Until the 15th century, the linen and worsted industry was important here, as well as in North Walsham and Worstead, and Aylsham webb or 'cloth of Aylsham' was supplied to the royal palaces of Edward II and III.

However the Show Management and our Reserves Policy are strong, which enable us to go forward with confidence and innovative ideas.

The historic Black Boys Inn in the Market Place is one of Aylsham's oldest surviving buildings, and has been on the site since the 1650s, although the present frontage dates to between 1710 and 1720. There is a frieze of small black boys on the cornice and a good staircase and assembly room. The Black Boys was a stop for the post coach from Norwich to Cromer, had stabling for 40 horses, and employed three ostlers and four postboys.

The civil parish has an area of 17.52 square kilometres and in the 2001 census had a population of 5,504 in 2448 households, reducing to a population of 3,999 in 1,591 households at the 2011 Census. For the purposes of local government, the parish falls within the district of Broadland.[2]

In the spring of 1836, the Oulton Gilbert Union was dissolved. Aylsham Poor Law Union was formed on 9th April 1836. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 47 in number, representing its 46 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):

Thomas Hudson, a glover of Aylsham, is recorded as one of the Protestant martyrs condemned to death for his faith under the reign of Queen Mary, towards the end of her reign. He was burnt at the stake at the Lollard's Pit outside Bishopsgate, Norwich on 19 May 1558.[10]

The three-storey central wing to the south has an impressive facade of mullioned windows.

While Aylsham nestles quietly in the Norfolk countryside it is located close to the cathedral city of Norwich, the famous Norfolk Broads and the beautiful North Norfolk coast.

Clive Payne (1950–), former professional footballer for Norwich City and A.F.C. Bournemouth was born in Aylsham.

Aylsham was once noted for its spa, situated about half a mile south of the town, comprising a chalybeate spring, formerly used by those suffering from asthma and other chronic conditions.

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The ancient but natural transport route for Aylsham would have been the River Bure, but it was not open to substantial navigation. There was a scheme in the 18th century to widen the navigation from Coltishall to Aylsham and, after many difficulties, trading wherries from Great Yarmouth were able to reach a staithe at Aylsham. The final end for this scheme was the devastating flood of 1912.

Tesco's new store built from wood, recyclable plastic and other sustainable materials, and claimed to be the "greenest in the world" opened in the town July 2008.[8]

Discover Aylsham is run by Aylsham Business and Enterprise Forum (ABEF). To find out more about ABEF and what benefits you get from being a member.Visit ABEF website

The town is close to large estates and grand country houses at Blickling, Felbrigg, Mannington and Wolterton, which are important tourist attractions.

Aylsham came fourth in the world in an international competition celebrating liveable communities, winning a Silver Award in category A (towns with a population up to 20,000) of the International Awards for Liveable Communities,[5] held in La Coruña, Spain in November 2005.

Nick Youngs (1959–) and his two sons, Ben (1989–) and Tom Youngs (1987–) were both raised close to the town on their father's farm.[13] Youngs was a former rugby player for Leicester Tigers and England. Both sons went on to represent the national rugby union team.

The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 19,351 — ranging from Irmingland (population 16) to Aylsham itself (2,334). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1833-35 had been £20,391 or 21s.1d. per head.

You can also hop on the Bure Valley Railway to Wroxham where you can spend a few hours on the water before returning by train. 

Kathleen Starling (1890–ca 1970) became an opera singer under the name of Kathleen Destournel. She sang at Covent Garden and entertained troops in north Africa during World War Two, before moving to Arizona, USA until her husband's death after which she returned to Aylsham to live with her sisters.[12]


Blickling was once home to the Boleyn family and it is rumoured that the headless ghost of Anne Boleyn haunts the Hall still.

According to White's Directory of 1836, Foulsham had a workhouse which was "built on the waste in 1782, will accommodate 45, but seldom has more than 20 inmates."

This being the 70th year of the Show, we are looking at ways to bring some new ideas to the Show and maybe expanding some activities on the Sunday prior to the traditional Bank Holiday Monday event.

A plaque on the wall of Barclays Bank in the Market Place commemorates Christopher Layer (born 1683), who was a militant Jacobite and supporter of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the 'Young Pretender'. He was tried for high treason and hanged at Tyburn in London in 1723. Nearby, a plaque commemorates Joseph Thomas Clover (1825–82), the father of modern anaesthetics, who was born above a shop overlooking the Market Place.

The new Aylsham Union initially carried on using the Aylsham parish workhouse, together with the workhouses at Buxton and Oulton which were adapted and enlarged in 1836 at a cost of around £1200. On 17th May 1836, a letter to the Poor Law Commissioners from Dr J P Kay (PRO MH12/8185) records:

Come and discover Aylsham and what this thriving Norfolk market town has to offer.

The annual Aylsham Show features agricultural exhibits and takes place on August Bank Holiday Monday at nearby Blickling Park.[3]

In 1848-9, a new workhouse for up to 600 inmates was built at Aylsham, situated to the west of the town. It cost approximately £7,500 and was designed by William J Donthorn who was the architect of other Norfolk workhouses at Downham, Erpingham, Freebridge Lynn, and Swaffham. Aylsham's broadly cruciform layout can be seen on the 1906 OS map, which also shows a later hospital to the north-east.

The real charm of Aylsham is in its beautiful architecture, strong sense of heritage, bustling town centre and real community ethos. Aylsham thinks of itself as Norfolk’s proper market town. The market place, which is owned by the National Trust, is the heart of this Norfolk market town. It hosts two weekly markets, monthly farmer’s markets and a host of community events throughout the year.

A parliamentary report of 1777 recorded Aylsham as having a workhouse for up to 80 inmates. The workhouse was built in 1776 in the angle between Commercial Road (now Bure Way) and New Road.

In 1805, prison reformer James Neild was much impressed by what he found at Aylsham, recording that:

Do you know who to call if you have a power cut?