North Runcton

The origin of the name "North Runcton"

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Place Names says that the first part of the name is from the Old English "hrung" meaning a rung or pole. This is likely to refer to a primitive bridge over marshy ground formed by placing poles close together at right angles to the direction of the road. Such bridges are still seen in Sweden today, where they are called "kavelbro".

If this seems unlikely, bear in mind that North Runcton stands on a slight rise, and most of the village is 15-20 metres above sea level (a little less at the Common). To the south and west, before drainage, the land would have been marshy and very difficult to cross.

A "hrung" would have provided a route southwards across the Nar valley, naturally enough from North Runcton to South Runcton, 4 miles away. From there the land begins to rise again towards what is now Downham Market. North Runcton may have been a service station on an early version of the A10.

Runcton is referred to in the Domesday Book as Runghetuna; as Runget' in Pipe rolls of 1158 and as Northrungetone in death records of 1276.


The Stone Age

There is a record (on an O.S. map) of a polished flint axe found at Hays Wood, between North Runcton and Blackborough End, in 1948.


The Domesday Book of 1086

In the Lands of Hermer: (North) RUNCTON Thorketel, a free man, held 2 c. of land before 1066. Always 11 villagers; 7 smallholders; 2 slaves. Meadow, 30 acres. Always 2 ploughs in lordship; 1 men's plough; 1 1/2 mills; woodland at 20 pigs; 4 salt-houses and one third of a fifth. Always 1 cob; 4 head of cattle; 27 pigs; 100 sheep. 1 church, 30 acres. 13 Freemen appertain to this manor, 37 acres. Always 1 plough. Value always £6 4s. The whole has 1 league in length and in width, of a 20s King's tax, it pays 12d. West Winch is in this measurement.

This extract is from a translation which was published by Phillimore, Chichester 1984. 'Domesday Book 33 Norfolk' ISBN 0 85033 479 9.

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