St. Withburh, or Withburga, established a monastery at Dereham in the year 653 or thereabouts. Tradition remembers her as the youngest of King Anna’s sainted daughters. Her older siblings – St. Etheldreda and St. Sexbura of Ely, and St. Ethelbuga and St. Sethryth of Faramoutier – also followed the religious life.
In 10th Century the Withburga’s body was stolen from Dereham by monks of Ely and laid to rest beside her sisters. Where upon, though some doubt this, a miraculous spring appeared in the churchyard.
A spur to connect East Dereham with the Walsingham Way would allow pilgrims to start, finish, or break the journey at Dereham. Dereham has an express bus service linking the town with Norwich and Kings Lynn.
In the future, it would be good to establish a Withburga Trail linking Holkham (where she is said to have grown-up ); via North Elmham, where St. Felix established a church in the 7th Century that became Norfolk’s first cathedral, Dereham; and Ely.