The name Sprow is a Scandinavian personal name and Sprow’s-ton (‘ton’ meaning town or village) was probably founded in the 9th-century Danish invasion.

Sprowston, now a Town in Norfolk, was first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, and was then a small rather run-down village with two holdings.

These two holdings (later known as Manors), which finally united, dominated Sprowston until the late 19th century.

By 1186 one Manor was held by the Mounteney family on behalf of Sir Richard de Lucy, who kept it for some 250 years, whilst the other, held by the de Sproustons and then the Aslakes, was owned by the Bishop of Norwich.

In 1545 Mounteney Manor passed into the hands of the Corbets, one of whom, Miles Corbet, was the last signatory to the death warrant of Charles I and was himself executed at the restoration of Charles II. Monuments to the Corbet family can be found at the parish church of St Mary and St Margaret, Church Lane. The first Sprowston Hall was built by the Corbets around 1560.

In the 18th century Sir Lambert Blackwell, a Director of the notorious South Sea (‘Bubble’) Company owned the village and was created baronet in 1718.

Sometime prior to 1801 the estate was sold to John Boycott of Norwich whose kinsman Charles Cunningham Boycott, by his action in Ireland, caused his name to be added as a verb to the English language. It was sold in 1802 and became divided and leased to private residents. One of the better known of these was Michael Falcon who was Norfolk Cricket Captain for over 30 years until 1946.

The other Manor mentioned in the Domesday Book, which by the 15th century was known as Aslakes Manor, lost its original family identity when it passed to an eminent family of Norfolk Gentry, the Calthorpes (subsequently related by marriage to the Boleyns). It was later sold to Sir Thomas Corbett (owner of Mounteney Manor) and in 1592 the two Manors were united.

A reminder of Sprowston’s history can be found in the naming of its streets and public houses and as recently as 2002 the name Aslake was used to identify a new health centre.

Of the more important residences in the parish, the present hall (Sprowston Manor) was rebuilt on the site of the old hall in 1875 and is currently used as a hotel and leisure centre surrounded by an 18-hole golf course.

Sprowston parish sign, commissioned by the Women’s Institute and constructed by Sprowston High School students in 1970 depicts Sprowston Mill, St Mary and St Margaret’s church and a flying falcon. The Mill, built in 1730 and made famous by artists of the Norwich School of Painting, was burnt down in 1933. St Mary and St Margaret’s Church dates from the 14th century although the square tower was added in the 18th century. The flying falcon commemorates local dignitary Michael Falcon.

Also important to Sprowston’s history, and now within the boundary of the City of Norwich, is Mousehold Heath where Kett’s Army was encamped in 1549. Kett led a peasant revolt against the enclosure of common land by wealthy landowners and was subsequently hanged for treason at Norwich Castle.

The front of the Sprowston Street Plan and Guide pictures the Recreation Ground Pavilion, which was built in 1933 and provided accommodation for the first full time parish clerk, appointed in 1969. The picturesque pavilion was redeveloped for community use when the Council moved into a purpose-built office in 1988 until it moved again in 2012 to Sprowston Diamond Centre on School Lane

Development proposals for the area are likely to ensure that Sprowston will continue as a Town in the County for years to come.