Many times I have heard Wroxham being referred to as the heart of the Broads. In terms of hire boat companies and holiday rentals I would have to conclude that is quite accurate. It is accurate now in the 21st century but not so long ago that could not have been further from the truth.
All Norfolk Broads boaters know that Norwich was once an active port on these waterways in times passed, however, was it the real heart of these waterways a very long time ago?
It would appear that Norwich was actually second to another location. A location called, ‘Venta Icenorum’, which translates as the capital of the Iceni tribe. That is the subject of todays article.
First of all, let us go back to the subject of the port of Norwich.
The sad reality of this nowadays is that it is the most unwelcoming stretch of navigation on the Norfolk Broads.
When one considers that Norwich could be just like Amsterdam in so many ways, it leaves many boaters visiting the city by river wondering what on Earth has gone wrong there. It is very odd in every perspective.
Looking back in time it is common knowledge that Norwich was a busy port in medieval times even up until 1960/70s was the port in regular use. It was only in 2012 that Norwich City Council considered the port defunct. So it stays till this day.
The Romans were believed to have used Norwich as a port when the port of Venta Icenorum silted up some three miles away.
The capital of the Iceni tribe was Venta Icenorum which is its translation ocated at Caistor St Edmund. The Iceni were well known for revolting against the Roman rule under their Queen Boudica in AD61.
It is clear that Norwich and the surrounding River Tas are the source of ancient ports.
Wikipedia states, ‘ The name Norwich comes from the Middle Saxon “north wic” meaning “north port” ‘
However, Gawtick Airport, which actually means Goat Farm suggests that the words ending in, ‘wick’ or ‘wich’ often denotes a market or some other form of trading settlement.
Therefore one can see that Norwich was evidently the north trading area whether it be a port, market or trading settlement.
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