About the Village 

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Scarning is situated in the heart of Norfolk and is the largest village in Breckland, it extends westwards from the boundaries of Dereham to Wendling and includes Podmore in the North and stretches to Daffy Green in the south. As can be seen from the signpost at the front of the Village Hall the village is very spread out. The population is in the region of 2900 of whom 2164 are on the electoral roll. The school is nearly a mile from Dereham and a mile from the church and Village Hall. You might be interested in looking at this link census data 2001 which has a wealth of information about our community.


This milestone is in the hedge on the layby by Scarning Grange.

Those seeking the origin of the name Scarning have a number of options. The Norfolk historian Walter Rye suggested the origin of the name was Danish and that those who settled in the area were from the village of Skjerning. It has also been suggested that the village derives its name from the Anglo-Saxon patronymic Scearningas, denoting the original settlement of a family or descendants of Sceam. Augustus Jessopp, the village's Victorian rector and author of a number of historical books, called it Skeorn's Inga. Scarn also means dirt or mud and Ing a meadow. On the other hand, a copse hidden rivulet called the Scar is said to separate Scarning from Dereham, while there are those who believe the village's name is born out of the numerous springs that are found within it.

What is certain is that the village can trace its origins to before the Norman Invasion. Archaeological evidence indicates the presence of some form of settlement in the area for thousands of years. In 1912, a bronze spearhead was found deep in the soil of Potter's Fen and twenty years later a Neolithic adze was discovered in a field overlooking Rushmeadow. Other finds in the parish include Iron Age brooches, Roman coins and medieval rings.

The abundance of names, however, continues. In the Domesday Book the settlement is called Scerningha. The village is also referred to in old documents as Skarning, Scernynge and Scherninge amongst other names, while an inscription in the parish church records the death of Mark Browne, 'deceased at Scharning the fifth day of July 1693.'

The one certainty would appear to be that there is no one certainty when it comes to the village and its name. For more on archaeological finds in the parish go to www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk description by Nick Hartley, Aug 2008.

If you want to kow more try and find a copy of his book "Scarning a portrait of a village" unfortunately it is currently out of print but a copy of the book can be obtained from Dereham Library.

Following the success of the book, it has been suggested that there should be some means for villagers to record and preserve their memories of life in Scarning. This would take the form of villagers writing, typing or recording their memories, the contents of which would then be stored in the Village Hall. At the same time, it is important to preserve photographs and documents, some of which could possibly be included in any subsequent reprint of the book. If you think this is a worthwhile project, or would like to be involved, please phone Sheila Eagle on 01362 687283.

The website is seen by people all over the world and if you have pictures, documents or memories you you would like to see on these pages you can contact us at  mail@scarning.info 

The Rev Jessop's grave in chuchyard which was knocked down by a falling tree was  cleaned and re-erected in 2014.

Signpost in Scarning Scarning view

The first picture shows a signpost at the centre of the village. The Black Horse Inn and the village post office used to be directly opposite.

The aerial view taken some years ago shows the village centre and the playing field behind the village hall. The route of the old Lynn and Dereham Railway which is now the main A47 can clearly be seen running along the centre of the picture.

For more views and details of how the centre of Scarning has changed see here: How the heart of Scarning has changed over the years.

The parish church of St Peter and St Paul has occupied its prominent position in the village of Scarning since the 12th century. Dr Augustus Jessopp, who was Rector of Scarning from 1879 to 1911, recorded that the village then comprised a few significant properties and about fifty hovels.
Scarning Hall, immediately to the west of the churchyard, was the former rectory. A new house was built but was never used as a rectory because of the reorganisation of the parishes. Both houses are now privately owned.
The oldest part of the church is the base of the tower and this dates from the 12th century. In the south wall there are fragments of masonry whicn are probably earlier.

Listed Buildings
Apart from the church and the War Memorial Cross the village has six grade II listed buildings:
Old Hall, Watery Lane
Park Farmhouse, Park lane
Railway Farmhouse, 2 Fen Road
Scarning Dale, Dale Road
The Grange, Dereham Road
Poplar Farmhouse, Manor Road