The new settlement of ‘Niwetuna’ or ‘New Town’ which stands by the River Tas was recorded in the Doomsday Book in 1086. At that time the river was a wide navigable waterway requiring the services of a ‘Flote’ or ‘Ferry’ man hence the new town became known as Newton Flotman. An alternative interpretation is that the name refers to a new farm owned by a ‘floating man’ otherwise known as a Viking!
The Village is situated seven miles South of Norwich and two miles north of Long Stratton on the A140 Ipswich Road. The settlement is built primarily to the west of the main road on the side of the Tas River valley although there are a number of houses located at Newton Greenways.
In recent times, there has been a steady growth in population due mainly to the location of the Village which is within easy reach of Norwich, the main employment centre. A number of dwellings have been constructed on the site adjacent to Flordon Road (Alan Avenue) and this development has provided a further access to the Playing Field and Village Centre which was completed in 1987. A further, smaller development (Waterside Gardens) is also being built to the rear of the Waterside Inn (now called ‘Relish’) in Old Street. In the year 2,005 the Village was comprised of approximately 500 dwellings and a population of 1,200.
Links with the past are still maintained via place names in Newton Flotman. Blundeville Manor is named after the Manor House (long since destroyed) occupied by the Blundevilles who lived in Newton Flotman for over 400 years from 1294 . The most notable member of the family being Thomas Blundeville (1522 – 1606) an Elizabethan scholar who published a large number of literary and scientific works. Subsequently, the patronage passed to the Long family (Longs Close) who were lords of the manor from 1721 until 1937, over 200 years. In addition, from 1797 to 1948, the pulpit was occupied by an uninterrupted succession of Rectors bearing the Long family name. In the 1880’s the Brighton family (Brightons Road) settled in the Village and by 1933 J L Brighton had established himself as a farmer, haulage contractor and sand and gravel merchant.
For many years the Village was a relatively poor farming community and this moved John Pye to establish a charity in 1647 for the benefit of the poor. Further charities were founded by Thomas Clabburn (Clabburn Close) in 1815 and John William Sewell (Sewells Close) in 1931. All three Charities have now been combined and are administered by the Chairman of the Parish Council.
In 1835 the original Rectory built by the Longs (now Holland House) was used to establish the first village school in Newton Flotman, the Longs having built a new Rectory (now called the ‘Old Rectory’) on Church Road. In 1865 the ‘National School’ was built by the Rector and although still visible on the site adjacent to the garage, is now used by ARTS (Anglia Regional Theatre School).
In May 1990 a Village Sign was erected by the Parish Council on Kings Green which was gifted to the Village by Mrs Joy King in memory of her late father, Mr J L Brighton who was chairman of the Parish Council for 41 years and her late husband Mr Alan King who succeeded him and served as chairman for 14 years. In 1996. The ‘Alan King Playing Field’ was also gifted to the Village by Mrs King as a permanent memorial.
The Village Sign depicts a Saxon ship which would have sailed the river when the Tas was navigable and also the 16th century bridge with it’s Gothic arches which has now been bypassed by it’s modern equivalent to support the increasing traffic travelling along the A140. The background comprises the 14th century Church of St Mary the Virgin, a landmark which is clearly visible on approaching the Village from Norwich. The sign is cast in iron and mounted on an oak post which is embedded in a mill stone to highlight the Village’s connection with milling which is still practised today by W L Duffield and Sons across the river at Saxlingham Thorpe.