2000 Years in one amazing visit

Civil War and Restoration

The town sided with Parliament during the Civil War but fared well at the Restoration with one of its prominent Parliamentarians donating the Civic Regalia.


During the Civil War the town supported Parliament, but after the Restoration in 1660 a number of important and influential figures in the court of Charles II rose to national prominence.

During the Civil War the Corporation of Thetford was staunchly parliamentarian, and two Mayors of Thetford, Henry Kettle and Thomas Lincoln, as well as the town’s MPs, sat on the Norfolk Committee of the Eastern Association to help organise funding for men and supplies for the Parliamentary army. During the Civil War Norfolk was relatively quiet in terms of military action, although Thetford’s position meant that it was an important staging post for Parliamentary troops.

After the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, the political situation in Thetford became more unstable than it had been during the Civil War. The Corporation of Thetford in this period was politically divided, the Charter of 1574 was withdrawn and reissued several times, and in 1682 the new charter gave the King the right to appoint the mayor and other members of the Corporation. This resulted in a turbulent period for the Corporation; some of the official records appear to have been deliberately destroyed, but those which survive suggest violent disputes between members of the Corporation. After a disastrous mayoral election in 1688 the Corporation effectively split into two factions, each with its own mayor and other officers, and each trying to enjoy the benefits of being the Corporation. The situation was partially resolved in 1693 when William and Mary reissued the town’s Charter of 1574, and giving the Whig faction their support, although the Tory faction continued to claim that the Charter was invalid into the early eighteenth century.


During this period Thetford was closely associated with a number of men who had distinguished careers in Parliament and in the government. The two key figures were Sir Joseph Williamson and Sir Henry Bennet, but also included Sir Allen Apsley and Sir William Harbord.
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Key dates
  • 1661
  • 1662
  • 1669
  • 1675
  • 1679
  • 1682
  • 1693