The History of Ringstead in Norfolk
Ringstead is on the prehistoric Icknield Way from Wiltshire to Ringstead and on the Roman Peddars Way, from Coney Weston in Suffolk to Ringstead or Holme, at the junction of several minor roads at the east end of a shallow dry valley running westwards, through Ringstead Downs to the Wash.
People have lived here since at least 2,400 BC. From c1100 it was three settlements – Gt Ringstead around the church on the hill, Lt Ringstead in the valley, (and Barret Ringstead at the west end of the Downs, which was deserted c1350, which is in Hunstanton parish). It was consolidated as Gt Ringstead in 1771. Since the 1100s it has been part of the le Strange estate centred on Hunstanton Hall.
Its buildings reflect the agricultural prosperity of the area, based on sheep, cattle and corn farming, and changes in agriculture over the centuries. Many farm houses and buildings on the village street, are shown on a map of 1690. In the past most people worked on the land or in occupations related to farming. Since the 1970s very few people are employed in farming and many cottages and farm buildings have been converted to holiday homes. Ringstead has a parish church, General Stores (and antique centre) a pub, the Gin Trap, a nursery and garden centre, and village hall, but the school closed in 1984. It is on the popular Peddars Way long-distance walk, and a circular walk off the Norfolk Coastal Path from Holme.