Thompson is situated about 3 miles south of Watton and between the A1075 and the Stanford training area (STANTA), known locally as the Battle Area.
Thompson is a historic village with a fascinating ancient past and many special features. The village is believed to have Danish origins and appears in the Domesday Book as Tomesteda and Tomestuna (Thompson’s Saxon name).
The three approaches to the village, all from the A1075, are through attractive wooded areas and in spring the road edges are lined with daffodils. There is no through traffic, which enables the village to maintain a peaceful environment for the benefit of the villagers and visitors.
There are a number of footpaths and bridleways within the parish, many of which are linked making it a popular destination for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
The church, St Martin’s Church, was once a Collegiate Church and there is still evidence of this aspect of its ancient past within the village.
St Martin’s Church is partly 14th century with 15th century additions. It was endowed as a Collegiate Church in 1350 by the de Shardelowe brothers and as a result the village enjoyed a period of prosperity and importance until the Dissolution of the College in 1541. The church is of flint construction with an interesting three tiered pulpit and other features, which include the carved initials of John Pory, born in Thompson in 1572, who became the first Speaker of the First Legislative assembly in Virginia in 1619.
Thompson Water is a well-known beauty spot, a man-made lake created in 1854 by Thomas Grey, Fifth baron Walsingham from the old peat common of Sandwade Fen. Local people call it the Watering and its now owned and run by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Fishing enthusiasts can get permits to fish there, or you can enjoy walking in the woodland that borders the lake. It’s a haven for wildlife.
The community benefits from a number of amenities which include Thompson Primary School, the church, the village hall, a post office, a millennium green, several bed and breakfast establishments and the Chequers Inn. There are numerous thatched properties, including the Chequers Inn, making the village very picturesque.
Thompson Common is one of the most important nature conservation sites in the country and is an important Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is full of rare plant and animal life and for this reason, dogs are not allowed on the common. It is also the reason visitors are warned to pack their insect repellent as mosquitoes can be a real pain, especially in hot weather. Thompson Common is also unique for having the highest density of pingos in Breckland.