The Holt Society
Pictures of Holt

Just Holt Articles

This is a small series of articles by Steve Benson (chairman of the society) for Just Holt magazine.

The Star shines brightly once more

Turning off the Norwich road into the pretty town of Holt and driving down the High Street and into the Market Place you will see on your left a group of shops huddled on a slight rise known as Fish Hill. When Holt was a thriving market town in medieval times this is where, from large, wooden and semi-permanent stalls, the fishmongers plied their trade.

On market day in May 1708 a terrible fire broke out destroying the stalls and many of the wattle and daub town buildings including the partly thatched parish church. In the wake of this disaster a gradual rebuilding programme created the Georgian centre of Holt today.

One flint and brick replacement on Fish Hill until recently housed 'Cottage Collectables' selling antiques. The back of this building greets visitors arriving along the Cromer Road. Until the last week or so it presented a sorry spectacle - grey, drab, delapidated - the worst possible first impression.

Now it gleams, white and welcoming, doors and windows faithfully replaced or repaired.

It is a grade II listed building and, though inevitably altered over the years, it has a proud history. We do not know exactly when it was built but we do know that it began as a public house and remained so through three incarnations first as Fish Hill House, then the Dolphin and finally the Star.

In Mary Hardy's Diaries occurs the entry: "In January 1784 William Hardy supped at the Dolphin House warming."

The word warming suggests a house warming or the time that Fish Hill House was renamed. In any case we know that the building must date back to the days of George III or even George II.

In 1854 The Dolphin became The Star which finally closed in 1968.

For 200 years under three guises this building welcomed in the good people of Holt to slake their thirst. For this reason alone it deserves to be restored to its pride and former glory. The Star shines brightly once more.

Steve Benson, Chairman The Holt Society