In an old topographical history of England published in the middle of the 18th Century may be found this paragraph.
“Loddon is distant 105 miles from London, and contains nothing that merits notice”.
In response Mr. Thomas William Ellis, a 19th Century Loddon Chemist, Book seller and Stationer, Wine and Spirit merchant, Postmaster, Telegraph Officer, Impresario, author, poet and Dentist,
“I want to tell about “OUR TOWN”, The Town in which I dwell, .”
Lothna, Loddinga, Lothinga, Lodne, Loddon
Some local intelligentsia suggest that the name of the town came from the Anglo-Saxon word for ‘muddy river’ but Mr. Ellis, points out in his witty doggerel,
“…at length a town arose, built by those Low Down men-And what more likely-than that town should be called Low Down then?”
Whatever, the history of this ancient parish, now the focal point of the area, like so many others, is shrouded in the mists of time.
Archaeological evidence has been found in the area immediately to the south of Loddon which suggests occupation of the area since Neolithic times and artefacts from Bronze, Iron, Roman and Romano-British periods have been found locally.
Loddon grew on the hill to the South of the River Chet, much as its neighbouring parish Chedgrave grew on the hill to the north of the river, close to the ford which gave a convenient river crossing on the westerly edge of the marshes.
“Never to be flooded by the highest of tides, by the wettest of winters nor sudden summer storms”- but close to the river for power and trade.
Loddon’s continued expansion can be attributed to two things – its manors and its market.
In Saxon times Loddon encompassed five “Manors”, areas of land often owned by separate Lords (Sir James Hobart, Attorney General to King Henry VII was one such). These owners were all powerful within their manor and, if they chose, could prevent development of the communities therein. Because Loddon covered five separate manors, owned by different lords, no such constraints could be applied and the village expanded.
Loddon received a Charter to hold a market in 1245 although there is evidence that a market was running before then. The market has continued to trade to this day but is sadly just a shadow of its former self.
Continued evidence of Loddon’s development and expansion therafter can be seen through its many fine buildings; from the 15th century parish church of Holy Trinity, which houses a splendid and informative pictorial display of “Loddon’s History”, through the fine 18th Century “Loddon House”, to “Farthing Green House”, which is a good example of Georgian architecture.
Loddon has continued to expand and change to the present day. Where wherries used to trade on the river, pleasure craft now cruise into the staithe. Business in the town is now centered on the industrial estate and rapid expansion of housing has made Loddon a desirable commuter town for Norwich, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.
Many visitors to Loddon come to search for their family history, they may have relatives who lived here, fathers who were stationed here during either World War or parents who were evacuated
They can find help in their quest for photographs and information happily given by the local history group, who have written a number of booklets on aspects of local history.
As our 19th Century jack of all trades said
“Neglect of hospitality is not our leading sin, For sure as any stranger comes, so sure we’ll take him in”