Place:Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England

NameGreat Yarmouth
Alt namesGreat Yarmouthsource: from redirect
Yarmouthsource: Rand McNally Atlas (1994) I-195
Great Yarmouth St. Andrewsource: ecclesiastical parish
Great Yarmouth St. Petersource: ecclesiastical parish
Great Yarmouth St. Nicholassource: ecclesiastical parish
TypeBorough (county)
Coordinates52.606°N 1.729°E
Located inNorfolk, England     (400 - )
See alsoGreat Yarmouth District, Norfolk, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Great Yarmouth, often known to locals as Yarmouth (but there are places named Yarmouth in other counties!), is a seaside town in Norfolk, England. It is located at the mouth of the River Yare, and is approximately 20 miles (30 km) east of Norwich. It had a population of 38,693 at the 2011 UK census, making it the most third populous place in Norfolk (after Norwich and King's Lynn).

The town has been a seaside resort since 1760, and was one of the great English seaside towns of the 19th century. It is the gateway from the Norfolk Broads to the North Sea. For hundreds of years it was a major fishing port, depending mainly on the herring fishery, but its fishing industry suffered a steep decline in the second half of the 20th century, and has now all but disappeared. The discovery of oil in the North Sea in the 1960s led to a flourishing oil rig supply industry, and today it services offshore natural gas rigs. More recently, the development of renewable energy sources, especially offshore wind power, has created further opportunities for support services. A wind farm of 30 generators is within sight of the town on the Scroby Sands.

Great Yarmouth rose to prominence and as a major centre of tourism in England when a railway was built in 1844 making it much easier and cheaper for visitors to reach Yarmouth, and triggering an influx of settlers.


Historical Governance

Great Yarmouth was an ancient borough (see below under History), and in 1835 it was made a municipal borough, graduating to the title of county borough in 1889. In 1974 the county borough of Great Yarmouth was replaced by the Great Yarmouth District.

The parish of Gorleston became part of Great Yarmouth in 1835, and the parish of Runham joined the county borough in 1889.

The three Church of England parish churches of Great Yarmouth were Great Yarmouth St. Nicholas, Great Yarmouth St. Peter and Great Yarmouth St. Andrew. These have all been redirected here.


In 1101 the Church of St Nicholas was founded by Herbert de Losinga, the first Bishop of Norwich, and consecrated in 1119. This was to be the first of several priories founded in what was a wealthy trading centre of considerable importance. In 1208, King John granted a charter to Great Yarmouth. The charter gave his burgesses of Yarmouth general liberties according to the customs of Oxford, a gild merchant and weekly hustings, amplified by several later charters asserting the rights of the borough against Little Yarmouth and Gorleston.

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Great Yarmouth.

A nineteenth century description

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Great Yarmouth from John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles of 1887:

"Yarmouth (Great), [parliamentary] and [municipal borough], [parish], sea-port, fishing town, and watering-place, Norfolk and Suffolk, at mouth of river Yare, at influx of river Bure, 19 miles E. of Norwich and 121 miles NE. of London by rail. [The parish is] (wholly in Norfolk), 1519 ac. (240 water), population: 37,151; [The municipal borough] (including also Gorleston par., Suffolk), 3685 ac., population: 46,159; 4 Banks, 5 newspapers. Market-days: Wednesday and Saturday.
"Yarmouth is the chief seat of the English herring fishery. This industry alone employs several thousand people. The deep-sea fishing is also actively prosecuted, and the produce is forwarded daily to London by railway. The harbour, in the Yare, admits vessels of 900 tons. The quays stretch along the river upwards of a mile. The exports are agricultural produce, malt, herrings, and other fish. Shipbuilding is carried on. Yarmouth has recently risen into considerable importance as a watering-place. The sea-frontage has a fine esplanade, with two piers 450 and 753 ft. long. The chief architectural feature of the town is the church of St Nicholas (built 1101), said to be the largest parish church in the kingdom. The Nelson monument is an elegant column 144 ft. high. Yarmouth appears first on record in 1081; was long a mere fishing village; was fortified in the time of Henry III. and subsequent sovereigns; was occupied by the Parliamentarians in the Civil War, and its fortifications demolished; and was a naval station during the great war with France. It received borough rights of its own from King John. Great Yarmouth, which returned 2 members to Parliament from Edward II. until 1667, was revived as a parl. bor., with 1 member, in 1885; its parl. limits include the whole of the mun. bor. (with Gorleston) and part of the parish of Runham."

Research Tips

  • GENUKI provides a list of references for Great Yarmouth. Some entries lead to free online transcriptions of registers and censuses.
  • A map illustrating East and West Flegg Hundred (East Flegg adjoins Great Yarmouth) is provided by GENUKI. Parishes labelled with letters should be identifiable from the Ordnance Survey Map of 1900.
  • GENUKI also advises that the following lists for Norfolk are to be found in FamilySearch:
  • has the following lists as of 2018 (UK or worldwide Ancestry membership or library access required). With the exception of the index to wills these files are browsible images of the original documents. The files are separated by type and broken down into time periods (i.e., "Baptism, Marriages, and Burials, 1535-1812" is more than one file). The general explanatory notes are worth reading for those unfamiliar with English parish records.
  • Index to wills proved in the Consistory Court of Norwich : and now preserved in the District Probate Registry at Norwich
  • Norfolk, England, Bishop's Transcripts, 1579-1935
  • Norfolk, England, Church of England Baptism, Marriages, and Burials, 1535-1812
  • Norfolk, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1915
  • Norfolk, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1990
  • Norfolk, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1940
  • FindMyPast is another pay site with large collection of parish records. As of October 2018 they had 20 types of Norfolk records available to browse including Land Tax Records and Electoral Registers.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Great Yarmouth. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.