Street Guide & Nomenclature Gazetteer


This  latest map is a street identification guide.  The roads have been widened to accommodate the type and are in no way related to the proportions of the actual roads they represent (e.g. Main Street is considerably wider than Hayman Way.)

Main Street No prizes for guessing how this street got its name! This was the only road into the village from any direction for many years and is thought to have been developed from an original trail through the dense woodland made by early settlers. In reality, many consider Main Street has merged with Sodden Road as the latter has more shopping premises and community facilities. The businesses on Sodden Road are known locally as being on the Main Street.

Sodden RoadPurposely made in 1646 following the hysteria and subsequent brutal witch trials that led to three women and four girls being tried and found guilty by Hopkins and Stearne. A new bridge was also required to cross the Leam and was dedicated as ‘Ladies Bridge’ to ensure that women could stay clear of Candlesmoke Bridge, the alleged scene of many witches meetings.

Murrow’s DriftOriginally called Blackbone Fields, the land was bought by Geo. Thos. Murrow II  in 1844  from Harold Mulgrew, who had squandered his inheritance on importing rare and fragrant lichen from the East Indies and was bankrupt. The Murrows had paid a peppercorn rent on the land for many years and snapped up the land for a bargain. It became known in the village as Murrow’s Drift to signal the growing family territory and was officially named in 1877.

Thermostat RoadNo-one knows how this road name got its unusual name. It is often attributed to the Bunsen burner factory, but the road existed long before the factory was built. The first record of Thermostat Road was in the Dereham Times in 1803 that reported “a bare knuckle fight of the most base kind was being staged in Sincke Alley, which quickly got out of control and became a large uncivilised brawl along the length of Thermostat Road.”

Tombstone Walk This originally began as a small track that skirted the church grounds, but was adopted when a section of the grounds was deconsecrated and sold off in 1872 to raise funds for urgent repairs to the church. A terrace of eleven houses and a new vicarage were built between 1873 – 76.

Fingerman LaneThis is a direct reference to men Hopkins and Stearne sent to develop mistrust and hysteria in the villages prior to their arrival. These ‘fingermen’ would stay in the village for several weeks, spreading rumours and raising suspicions, so that communities were very scared that witches were amongst them and were quick to accuse each other, making the witchfinders job much easier.

Fair SwitchThe small courtyard in the centre of Fair Switch was always a a place for nefarious activity, being sheltered from the prying eyes of church goers and handily placed for deals made in The Teat. There are many stories that feature the Switch as a place where illegal or unscrupulous deals are done. One popular tale attributes the Switch as the scene of the Great Lichen Brouhaha of 1782, where several farmers came to blows over the rumour of a fatal lichen disease, deliberately put about by rival farmers in Swaffham in order to lower the price of that years lichen crop and close down the Soddenham supply.

Sincke AlleyThought to be derived from the Quinque viæ, or Five Proofs;  five arguments regarding the existence of God summarized by St. Thomas Aquinas in his book, Summa Theologica. The alley has been inhabited by intellectuals and free-thinkers through the years but during the 19th century became known for housing drunks, and was sarcastically referred to as “The Brewers Droop” by the more sober minded of the village! During the mid 1800’s, the Alley developed another unsavoury reputation as it was home to the notorious prostitute Mary Spreadeagle.

Pricking LaneThis is a direct reference to the practice of witch pricking which was widely used by Hopkins and Stearne as a means of collecting evidence against a person suspected.  It was commonly thought that all witches bore a mark, blemish or abnormality that would not feel pain or bleed when pricked, and various special tools were used for this purpose. It is now known that many of these tools were double ended, with a sharp point and a blunt one, which allowed the witchfinder to ‘perfect’ his technique.

Church Gate When this road was made, the church gate stood in the bottom south eastern corner of the church yard, and was clearly visible. The gate is now further north, but the road still bears its name.

Early LaneWhere the early shift workers at the Saville factory lived. These were purpose built to house workers as the factory expanded.

MulehousesThese were the first workers houses built for the Saville factory and named for the mules, which were kept in stables behind the last six houses.

Bunsen LaneOriginally the site of Savilles Bunsen Burner factory. The site has been recently expanded and developed into a twentieth century enterprize zone.

The HorseshoeNo prizes for guessing this one – its is simply shaped like a horseshoe!

Hayman Way Named for the scarecrows (hay man) that dotted the landscape around the village. The hay man features in a number of local tales designed to frighten children. One story tells of the hay men riding Murrow’s mules around the fields at night to decide on who gets the best field to stand in the following day. If a child stays up late and sees them, they are taken away in the night and made into hay men themselves!

School LaneJust because it goes to the school.

All maps created by Barry Thule and maintained by by the Soddenham Cartographical Society and Kickboxing Club.


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