Gt. Massingham, one of Norfolk’s most attractive villages, is located approximately 40 miles west of Norwich and 13 miles east of King’s Lynn. It has one of the most impressive greens in the country with several large ponds (home to the dabbling ducks!), which were originally fish ponds for an 11th century Augustinian Abbey.
Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, was educated in the village before going on to build the breathtaking Houghton Hall nearby.
It is possible that the origins of Gt. Massingham date back as far as the 5th Century AD when the area was inhabited in the wake of the Roman withdrawal, by a group of Angles and Saxons whose leader’s name was Maesron. The settlers were known as Maersings, hence “Maersingham” – later spelt as Massingham
Agriculture has been the source of Massingham’s wealth and survival over many hundreds of years and still plays an important role today. More recent history is reflected in the remains of Massingham Airfield which was home to a number of RAF Bomber Squadrons during the Second World War, the three bedrooms in the Dabbling Duck have been named after pilots who were stationed there.
The centre of the village is dominated by the great square tower of St. Mary’s church which was built in the 15th Century. It is a beautifully proportioned structure, with diagonal buttresses tapering up in four stages to the battlements and corner pinnacles at the top. It houses four bells, three of which were re-cast in 1903 and The Dabbling Duck looks straight out at the Church.