Welcome to Gissing
Gissing is a small village at the centre of the South Norfolk claylands. Its origins are Saxon, as the name seems to refer to ‘the place of Geringa’s people’. Domesday Book shows it to have been a prosperous place by the standards of the time, and by the late middle ages it was definitely a place of some importance, being granted a fair on Saint James’s Day (25th July) by King Edward III, and a weekly market by Richard II.
The parish church, Saint Mary the Virgin, has been described as a ‘Faberge egg of a church’ and survives as a testament to the prosperity of those bygone centuries, with its early Norman, Saxon style round tower (a Norfolk specialty) and especially in its double hammer beam roof, one of only 32 in the country, with carved angels on the posts.
While the parish slipped into obscurity in subsequent centuries, it remained fairly populous, recording a population of just over 500 in the 1851 census. That’s about twice the number of people living here today. Shops, pubs, smithies, a mill and a school all supplied the local needs of this agricultural village well into the 20th century.
Today, Gissing is essentially a commuting village. The church remains, a stalwart survivor of many centuries; the village school is now a thriving pre-school, the ‘Gissing Children’s Centre’; and the Gissing Crown is a superb pub/restaurant. They’re grouped in the centre of the village, along with the new Community Building, which hosts a variety of social groups … gardening, reading, table tennis, exercise, etc. … drawing in people from all over the area and making Gissing a ‘magnet village’ for this part of south Norfolk.
Home now to about 250 people, Gissing is a friendly, prosperous village, off the beaten path, but within easy reach of the market towns of Diss and Harleston, the larger villages of Pulham Market and Long Stratton, and a short drive to both Norwich and Bury St. Edmunds. As with so many generations past, today’s residents are happy to call Gissing home.