THE PARISH of Thorpe St Andrew, or Thorpe St Andrew Episcopi, to give it its full title is a suburb situated to the east of Norwich with common boundaries with the city to the west and north. It has a total population of about 15,000.
Its ‘Episcopi’ name comes from the fact that many years ago the Bishop of Norwich had his palace at Thorpe Hall which, much altered, still exists on the Yarmouth Road. A more commonly used name until about the 1920’s was Thorpe-next-Norwich which emphasises the fact that while it is indeed next to that fine city it has never technically been part of it. Currently it has its own Town Council, that of Broadland District Council and Norfolk County Council.
The older part of the parish is in the picturesque valley of the River Yare and along the roads leading northwards up a steep escarpment to a plateau. Subsequent largely inter-war development has taken place on this plateau and towards the eastern edge of the Parish there is a large modern housing estate known as Dussindale. The congregations come mostly from the Thorpe community, although some inevitably come from further away due either to family links or a preference for our style of worship. By tradition the Parish Church looks towards the more catholic spectrum of the Church of England in a moderate way.
THE DIOCESE of Norwich covers most of the beautiful county of Norfolk and a little part of Suffolk, principally around Lowestoft. It is largely a rural county with a number of attractive market towns, miles of uncrowded beaches and large tracts of open countryside, including of course The Broads. The county seat is the ancient city of Norwich in which are situated both the Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals. Norwich is a most attractive city with old buildings and narrow winding streets complemented by some well-planned and thriving shopping malls. Access is good via the A11 (Dual carriageway for nearly all its length to the M11) and a half- hourly train service to London, with other direct trains going to the Midlands and the North West.
THE COMMUNITY in Thorpe St Andrew is mixed, with some retirement, some social housing, and much ‘ordinary’ development both established and new. The people here mostly work in Norwich, to the centre of which it is only a 10-minute drive. There is also employment in Thorpe in its three large Primary Schools, one large High School, two Independent Schools, a large Business Park, many local shops including a huge Sainsburys and business enterprises connected with the river and boating, residential homes, a substantial Sports Club and Gym, and the hotel and catering industry.
THE PARISH CHURCH is a grade II listed building and is situated on the North side of Yarmouth Road, opposite River Green. It was consecrated in 1866, with the tower following in 1881. It replaces an earlier church which was largely demolished. The setting for the present church is very picturesque with the ruin of its predecessor in a well-kept churchyard. The church is a large building with all the necessary adjuncts added at the rear. The daughter church of The Good Shepherd is at the top of the escarpment, and was built in 1950. It is a simple building, and supports an older congregation. Behind it is the St. Andrew’s Centre; opened in 1994 it is a very useful hall and meeting facility with car parking. It is let out for various functions and concerns and provides useful income to the Parish.