The placename ‘Sheringham’ is first attested in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it appears as Silingeham. It appears as Siringeham in 1174, and Scheringham in the Book of Fees in 1242. The name means ‘the homestead of Scira’s people’.
Historically, the parish of Sheringham comprised the two villages of Upper Sheringham, a farming community, and Lower Sheringham, which combined farming with fishing.
The fishing industry was at its peak in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as the coming of the railways made it possible for fish to be transported more efficiently to market. Through the 1900s the focus of the fishing, began to be on crabs, lobsters and whelks. The local fishermen were major suppliers of crabs and lobsters to the London fish markets. Long-lining for cod and the catching of herring began to become less important in the second half of the century, as did whelking. Today, from a peak of maybe 200 boats, Sheringham has eight boats operated single-handed.
Sheringham is a railway town that was developed with the coming of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway line in the late 19th century. Most of Sheringham’s range of buildings and shops come from this period and the early 20th century. It has a particularly interesting range of buildings using flint, not normally in the traditional Norfolk style but in a variety of techniques.
In the First World War, Sheringham was hit by two bombs from a Zeppelin raid at 20:30 GMT on 18 January 1915, making it the first place in Britain to be attacked by Zeppelins from the air. No one was killed.
Sheringham today – a snapshot
The Fairtrade town of Sheringham is twinned with both Ottendorf in Germany and Muzillac in France and is known as the premier seaside town on the North Norfolk coast. The town centre is centred on a traditional high street with a wide range of shops, cafes, pubs & clubs, the Little Theatre and the Mo Museum.
The wonderful floral displays that have given Sheringham Britain in Bloom awards, the golden sandy beaches, the extensive walks along the cliffs and through the woods of Sheringham Park and Pretty Corner and the choice of two putting greens are all great attractions.
Part of the train line is run as a heritage steam railway by the North Norfolk Railway and this alone attracts 1000s of visitors to the town.
There are several commons within the parishes of Sheringham and Beeston Regis. The largest is the SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) of Beeston Common and Sheringham Common, which lie between the two parishes.
Other commons include the Top Common and the Beeston Back Common, which consist of mixed and varied habitats – grassland, heath, wetland and secondary woodland. They support a variety of plants and animals that, in some cases, are among the last stronghold of certain species within the county.
An annual Cromer and Sheringham Crab/Lobster festival is held in May and the town’s Carnival is held at the beginning of August.