In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described East Dereham like this:
DEREHAM (East), a town, a parish, and a sub-district in Mitford district, Norfolk. The town stands on a rivulet between two branches of the Wensum, and on the East Anglian railway, 17 miles by road, but 21½ by railway, WNW of Norwich. It was a seat of the East Anglian kings; and it suffered severely from fire in 1581 and 1679, and from plague in 1646. A nunnery was founded at it, about 750, by Withburga, daughter of King Anna; destroyed by the Danes; and refounded as an abbey. The present parish church was the church of the abbey; is a large cruciform structure, with a central tower; has Norman parts, and various forms of columns; includes three chapels, and a singular porch; and contains an organ of 1667, mentioned by Dr. ...
Burney in his "History of Music, " a large, rich figured font of 1468, a curiously worked ancient chest, brought from the ruins of Buckenham Castle, a monument to the poet Cowper, who died in the town and was buried here, and tablets to Cowper's friends, Mrs. Unwin and Miss Perowne. A Norman arch, over St. Withburga's well, and a large tower, of the time of Henry VII., called the New Clocker, are in the churchyard. The town is sometimes called Market-Dereham; and it publishes a weekly newspaper, and is a seat of petty sessions and a polling-place. It is one of the handsomest towns in Norfolk; and has undergone much recent improvement. The assembly room, in the market-place, was built about 1755. The corn exchange was built in 1856; and cost £2, 400, exclusive of the site. There are a post office‡ under Thetford, a railway station with telegraph, three banking offices, two chief inns, six dissenting chapels, a mechanics' institute, an endowed school, a British school, town estates for the poor, £242, and other charities £205. Markets are held on Fridays; and fairs on the Thursdays before 6 July and 29 Sept. Manufactures of agricultural machines, malt, malt liquors, and sacking are carried on. Pop., 3, 070. Houses, 702.The parish includes also the hamlet of Dillington. Acres, 5, 222. Real property, £22, 832, -of which £200 are in gas-works. Pop., 4, 368. Houses, 998. The property is much subdivided. Quebec Hall is the seat of the Warners. Gardens and orchards are numerous and prolific. The living is a vicarge, united with the p. curacy of Hoo, in the diocese of Norwich; and there is a sinecure rectory. Value of the living, £478; of the sinecure, £704. Patrons, not reported. Bishop Bonner was vicar.The sub-district contains seven parishes. Acres, 18, 172. Pop., 7, 531. Houses, 1, 629.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing East Dereham has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Breckland. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering East Dereham and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of East Dereham, in Breckland and Norfolk | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 13th December 2013
Click here for more detailed advice on finding places within A Vision of Britain through Time, and maybe some references to other places called "East Dereham".