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Pictures of Castle Acre

in the county of Norfolk

About Castle Acre

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This lovely village is found on the old Peddlers Way which joined Holme-next-the-Sea to the Roman garrison at Colchester. It lies within the old area of Breckland, this consists of around three hundred square miles of landscape which is shared between Norfolk and Suffolk. It is spacious countryside possessing some of the least densely populated areas in the country. These regions were once the home of early settlers, who left behind them many mementoes of life in the days before history was recorded.

Castle Acre is enclosed by the earthworks and ragged remains of a castle built by William de Warenne, son-in-law of William the Conqueror, and Ist Earl of Surrey. A steeply rising main street leads towards an imposing 13th century Bailey Gate, and thus on to what now remains of de Warenne's massive Norman castle. This signifies the long history of the village, which when first established was considered to be one of the finest examples of Norman town planning in the country.

This pretty village is also the home of the romantic ruins of the Cluniac Priory founded by William de Warenne. These splendid remains, set in their beautiful landscape clearly show their original graceful shape. The surviving great west front shows one of the countries finest tiers of Norman arcading. Much of the interest around this picturesque village centre's upon its Norman heritage, this is clearly demonstrated by the village sign which shows the priory as it was in Norman times.

In contrast to the priory ruins is the well preserved Medieval church of St. James, whose impressive 15th century tower can be seen to best advantage from the plateau on which the ancient ruined priory once stood.

A stroll around the village reveals a pleasant mixture of properties from all architectural periods. Of interest to tourist will be the village pubs, at one time there were several, but now only two remain in use - The Ostrich, a former coaching inn and the Albert Victor, previously known as the Dun Cow. Castle Acre's other pubs have been turned into homes or business premises, with one becoming an antique shop. There is also a friendly tea room and restaurants.

This lovely village with its cherished Norman origins makes a pleasant place to visit for an interesting day out, or for a weekend away from the demands of modern life.

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