Hellesdon is a village and a suburb of Norwich in the District of Broadland in Norfolk, England. It lies approximately 4 miles (6.4 kilometres) north-west of Norwich and has 11,177 inhabitant, reducing to 10,957 at the 2011 Census.
Hellesdon has signs of very early settlement. A variety of flint instruments have been unearthed in and around Hellesdon, thought to date back at least 4,000 years. A collection of bronze axe heads were found near Hellesdon Hall and a skeleton dating from around 600 AD was discovered next to Hellesdon Lodge in Low Road.
The Dictionary of British Place-names indicates that the name Hellesdon comes from Hægelisdun (the spelling of the location c.985), meaning ‘hill of a man named Hægel’, with the spelling having changed to Hailesduna by 1086. Hægelisdun is recorded in tradition as the location where King Edmund was killed by Viking invaders in 869, although there is no consensus on the location of this event.
Hellesdon was one of several manors owned in the fifteenth century by Sir John Fastolf, the original of Shakespeare’s Falstaff, and as with other of his properties, his death in 1459 led to something close to a private war between the Paston family and John de la Pole, 2nd Duke of Suffolk for its possession.
In the 1880s the railway reached Hellesdon linking it to nearby Norwich. In 1915 Mann Egerton built H1s, Spads and Type B seaplanes in Hellesdon. In the 1920s construction of the Norwich ring road began, making Hellesdon much more accessible.
From 1930-64, motorcycle speedway team the Norwich Stars raced at the old Firs raceway. Ove Fundin was World Speedway Champion on a number of occasions in the early 1960s. The stadium was sold for housing in 1964 bringing the Norwich Stars speedway team to an end.
The area has now developed into a major suburb of Norwich.
Hellesdon has a number of small independent shops. There is also a large Asda superstore that opened in 1983, a petrol filling station was added to the store site in 1990. The area also has a B&Q store, six schools (one high school, two junior schools and three infant schools), and Norwich International Airport. The high school, Hellesdon High School, is a leading edge academy. Norwich airport is owned by the Rigby Group, flights travel to destinations throughout Europe as well as the British Isles.
There is a community centre for use by local clubs such as Hellesdon Horticultural Association, and a library. The local football team Hellesdon FC play at the community centre. The community centre was used to hold the World Cycle Speedway champion ships in 1987.
There is one remaining pub in Hellesdon, The Whiffler. The former pub The Man On The Moon is now the Hellesdon doctor’s surgery. Another former pub, The Bignold Arms, is now a fish restaurant and takeaway and “The Firs” is now a Tesco Express. The Falcon is now a Co-op Daily. Hellesdon railway station closed in the 1950s.
Hellesdon has a large psychiatric hospital (Hellesdon Hospital).
The parish church of St Mary dates from the 15th century and is a grade II* listed building.