DEREHAM is one of the larger towns in the centre of Norfolk with a population of approximately 17,800. It can be found just off the A47 from Norwich to Kings Lynn. Dereham Town Council can be found in the Assembly Rooms on Dereham Market Place, opposite the War Memorial. The building was built in 1756 and is one of the oldest buildings in Dereham.
At Dereham Town Council we are responsible for the Recreation Ground, 7 Allotment sites, the Memorial Hall, the Cemetery, St Withburga’s Well, Bishop Bonner’s Cottage, Neatherd Moor (Abbots Field), dog bins, Barwells Court toilets, Farmers Market, weekly Tuesday & Friday Market, the Closed Churchyard, Fleece Meadow, Vicarage Meadow, Etling Green, the War Memorial and the Town Sign.
The Assembly Rooms were built in 1756 on the site of the old Market Cross and Prison. It is one of the oldest buildings in the Town, mainly due to the great fires of 1581 and 1670 which destroyed most of the old wattle and daub thatched houses. The Assembly Rooms were built at a cost of £450, the money being raised by £50 shares in the building. With the passing of the years the original subscribers died or moved away and the Headborough were made Trustees and received the rents and applied them to various projects for the benefit of the general public. The Town Council of today still receives income from the residue of the Headborough Estates and the income is still applied to running the Town.
The Town Badge is made up of the arms of the Bishop of Ely, the three golden crowns relating to the princesses and saints, Withburga, Saxburga and Ethelreda – all three sisters being buried at Ely Cathedral. The Deer, of course, being the animal from which the Town was named. Dereham meaning either the Deer enclosure or low lying meadow on a stream over which deer roamed, depending on whose account you want to believe.