Ghost Hill is a place in Taverham, near Norwich.
This is a (slightly edited) version of my
original article first written in December, 2000
I used to live on the back of Ghost Hill, which, once upon a time, used to be waste land (and a BMX track), and I always wondered why it was called Ghost Hill.
I have also always wondered whether on same BMX track, after the start did anyone ever manage to overtake? Because overtaking involved riding into waste high grass from which few returned… but I digress.
The photograph is of Ghost Hill Wood (taken in December 2000).
I thought perhaps the children at the first school are told every year about Ghost Hill and tell tall tales about the bendy tree (it can’t be old enough to have served as a gallows), but apparently not (that or the kids are not paying attention in classes).
When I was 10 I watched an elderly gentleman scanning the field with a metal detector and he dug up a rusty old .303 cartridge. He believed the field to have been a practice range for soldiers around about the time of the First World War. This might be true since during the First World War large numbers of soldiers were billeted in Taverham (some at Taverham Hall or the old paper mill). Most were put up in tents alongside the Fakenham Road – hence Camp Road next to Pip’s Chips (if that’s what the chippie is still called).
A trip to Norwich Record Office dug up a map printed 1891 and this shows the land between what is Orchard Bank and Shakespear Way today as Ghosthill Plantation. This is a bit of a surprise to me because as we all know Ghost Hill is over by the school..!
In 1845 Francis Greene Bradshaw Esq. was the landowner of the plot marked 28, and the occupier was Bunnett (or Burnett?) who was charged rent in lieu of tithes for 5 acres, 0 rods and 4 poles of land. The record only shows that the land consisted of hills and arable. This ties up with Ghost Hill formerly being called Bunnett Hill.
I found one little book about Taverham, published in 1969, which makes a single reference to Ghost Hill Plantation – there was no Shakespear Way or Norgate Way, and certainly no Cameron Green then. The lower half of Cypress Close was built in 1965 but that was about it.
No ghosts, just the usual histories of Taverham Hall, the paper mill and a little piece about silver fox farming. However, in Mr Norgate’s book he does point out that on a map dated 1826 (by A.Bryant) “Hanging Wood” on the way down to Ringland has no connection to gallows – the name refers to the trees that were “hanging” on the steep ground. I cannot think of a similar reason where Ghost Hill could have earned its name.
On another map the plots above 28 and 29 were labelled glebe which probably indicates it was owned by the clergy. A lot of this information gleaned from A History of Taverham by Thomas B.Norgate, 1969 (available on the shelves at Taverham Library).
A couple of years after posting this (about 2002) I received a nice email from Mr Charles Jarvis which gave lots of information – Updated: Where did Ghost Hill get its name includes Ghost Hill in 1985 (before it was built on, remember the sand humps?)