Situated a few miles from the North Norfolk coast Holt's history can be traced back to Saxon times. At the time of the Domesday Book in 1066 it had both a market and a port at the coastal village of Cley-next-the-sea. The town was already of some size, with five water mills and twelve plough teams to its name.
The Plague of 1348 decimated Holt's population, yet the town survived and continued to flourish. In 1556 a school opened in the town, named Gresham's after its founder John Gresham and today is one of the leading schools in the country with many famous old boys including the composer Benjamin Britten and the poet W H Auden.
In 1708 Holt was badly damaged by a huge fire. Many of the properties, including the thatched church, were destroyed or severely damaged with most of the houses in the town being rebuilt around and open market rather than the church. Despite its ancient connections, today the town has few houses that pre-date the fire.
In 1960 Holt market was formerly closed, however the town has continued to thrive and is today full of unusual shops and businesses, many utilising the former court yards and tradesmen’s yards which have been tastefully converted without loosing their original charm.