Welcome to: East and West Runton Parish Web Site.  East and West Runton are villages in North Norfolk , UK

East and West Runton - History

The two villages of East and West Runton comprise the parish of Runton. A group under the auspices of the Parish Council, was formed three years ago to build a Parish Archive, in order to preserve the history of the villages. Information to add to these archives would be appreciated.

An extract from the Doomsday book tells us that Runton was known as Rugutune in the 11th century.

Rugutune had one Church.

There were 24 households which was "quite large" including 12 bordars or smallholders and 7 freemen and 5 villagers and the total tax asessed was 1.4 geld units (quite small). 1.4 geld units would yield in value to the lord just over £1.00

There was 1 carucate (measurement of land for tax purposes) held by Bondi a freeman who was the overlord in 1066.  the lord was Thorkil Hako. 

There was woodland for 12 pigs.  In 1066 there were 60 sheep 1 horse, 5 head of cattle 5 pigs.

Eight "sokemen" (a person with more land and obligations that the villagen) (peasants) oversaw 24 acres of land.  There were also 1 Lord's plough team and 1.5 men's plough teams.


Coming forward a few years:

The government censuses from 1841 to 1911 which are now on line, have provided a considerable amount of information. For instance, the 1871 census reveals that in the parish there were 45 agricultural labourers, 40 fishermen and 17 farmers. How many of those occupations would we find today? Amongst the occupations listed were 9 domestic servants, a shepherd’s boy aged 12, a rat catcher, a washerwomen, a shoemaker and a cordwainer. The shoemaker was in fact a cobbler, who mostly repaired shoes, whilst a cordwainer actually manufactured footwear, a wheelwright and 2 blacksmiths. The more unusual occupations included a “sick nurse and bible reader”, and the “matron of an orphan asylum”. The population of the Parish at this time was about 500, a large proportion being children. Many households comprised families totalling as many as 8 in total, and sometime more. Quite a handful when you remember that a large number of the houses were just “two up and “two down”.
In the beginning of the 20th century about 1902 the railways were being built and the viaducts were being constructed at East Runton.  Many of the farmworkers defaulted from their jobs and went to work on the railways and bridges because the pay was better. The East Runton bridges were constructed by local men.


2014 is the Centenary year of the opening of the Montessori school in England 1914 in East Runton.

Bertram Robert Hawker (1868-1952), Anglican clergyman, educationist and benefactor, was born on 29 March 1868 at Llandudno, Carnarvonshire, Wales, youngest of sixteen children of George Charles Hawker who had been born in London and become a politician and grazier in South Australia, and his wife Bessie, née Seymour, from Ireland. Bertram was educated at Glenalmond School, Perthshire, Scotland (1882-86), and at Trinity Hall, Cambridge (B.A., 1891; M.A., 1896). He worked with the poor in the East End of London and was made deacon in 1894. After serving as a curate at Stone, Kent, he was appointed honorary chaplain to the bishop of Adelaide in 1895. At St Peter's Cathedral, Adelaide, on 23 July 1896 Hawker married Constance Victoria, daughter of Sir Thomas Buxton the governor of South Australia. Returning to England, Hawker held curacies in Surrey and Cumberland before being ordained priest on 10 June 1900. For the next four years he was vicar at Isel, Cumberland, his last Church appointment. From 1908 he lived on the Buxton estate, Runton Old Hall, near Cromer, Norfolk.

Hawker travelled to Rome in 1911 and called at Maria Montessori's casa dei bambine. Impressed with what he saw, he returned to England and set up a Montessori school near his home. Montessori's principles (to allow learning naturally through play and respect) were also adopted by the Kindergarten Union of South Australia, to which Hawker donated £500—£100 for its building fund and £400 to enable the principal Lillian De Lissa to study in Europe and the United States of America. In 1914 she stayed with Hawker and was opening speaker at the Montessori conference he organized at East Runton.

To find out more about the Montessori philosophy go to :-http://www.montessori.org.uk

West Runton Elephant, North Norfolk Coast, UKIn 1990, around 600,000 years after it died, the remains of the West Runton Elephant was discovered after winter seas had eroded the cliffs at West Runton, near Cromer, Norfolk, U.K. The huge pelvis was the first bone to be revealed in the base of the cliff, and a year later many more bones were found. By 1992, some 25 % of the skeleton had been recovered and plans were made to recover the remainder, still buried beneath 20 metres of cliff, and to obtain evidence of the elephant's ancient environment from the abundant associated plant and animal fossils.

West Runton is a Geological Site of Special Scientific Interest (S.S.S.I.) and is of great significance in our understanding of the complex changes in climate, flora, and fauna of the Quaternary period, or 'lce Age'. For more than 170 years fossil remains of elephants, rhinos, deer and many other animals have been collected from what is known as the Cromer Forest Bed Formation, which includes the West Runton Freshwater Bed, exposed along the coasts of Norfolk and Suffolk. However, never before has an entire skeleton been reported from these well-searched deposits.