As early as the 13th Century the name Forncett
was applied to the whole area, and Forncett St. Peter appears to have been the
"centre" of the parish. The Saxon church of St. Peter's was built in around
1000 AD, with St. Mary's church founded later, in the 13th or 14th
Forncett St. Mary occupies the north-east part of the
present parish. It is bounded to the north by Hapton Common, to the east by
the river Tas and to the west by what was then known as Deepmore Beck. The
boundary with Forncett St. Peter to the south is not determined by any natural
feature and may have been defined much later.
Forncett St. Peter occupies the rest of the parish. It was bounded
in the south-west by Bunwell Beck and in the south and east by lanes (called Processional Way and Stubbing Lane) that now exist only as footpaths. At the western extremity was the extensive Forncett
Common which lay either side of what is now Common Road. A significant and
discrete community developed in the west of the parish and by the time that
Faden's Map of Norfolk was published, in 1797, we find the term "Forncett End"
being used for this settlement. The settlement of Bustards Green, in the east
of the parish, is also shown on Faden's map. The layout of roads within the
parish is essentially unchanged today from that shown in Faden's map. In
short, the major features of our parish have apparently changed very little for
The growth and development of the Forncetts from the end of the 18th C to the present day can be seen in the maps below (click on images to enlarge). By 1939 the parish had a total of 205 dwellings with a population of 723 individuals, and after the war Forncett continued to grow steadily with the majority of the new development concentrated in Forncett End.