The county seat in Norfolk, the city of Norwich has the most American connections in the county.

In the early seventeenth century, a number of ministers and parishes relocated from the city due to religious conflicts with the Bishop of Norwich. Also under pressure were the Dutch migrants in the city who were seen as ‘strangers’ to the English.  Peter Folger, one of these early strangers who left for America was the ancestor of Benjamin Franklin. The religious influences in the city led to a strong anti-slavery, and abolitionist movement in the late eighteenth-century, the chapter formed in 1787 was one of the first in the nation.

In the twentieth century a large number of US Air Force servicemen and women were based in Norfolk, and frequented the night spots of Norwich when they were able to get time off their bases.

In recent times Norwich been visited by a number of famous Americans including Barnum and Bailey’s Circus, Laurel and Hardy, Cary Grant, Glenn Miller, James Stewart, Jimi Hendrix, Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band, and Muhammad Ali.

Other famous people with a connection to Norwich and North America are Francis Lawes, Michael Metcalf, Thomas Allen, the Pettus family, Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, Olaudah Equiano, Harriet Martineau and Vernon Castle.

A portrait of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin