The village is mentioned in the Norwich Domesday Book around 1286.
It was immortalised by the 14C poet Geoffrey Chaucer as the home of The Reeve in his Canterbury Tales – “Of Northfolk was this Reve of which I telle, biside a toun menclepen Baldeswelle.”
It has been an important stopping off point for the changing of horses and coaches and for refreshment. There were once four inns.
Today Bawdeswell is a thriving village with a population of over 700 people. It is perhaps best known for its neo-Georgian Church, its popular Garden Centre and its busy General Store. It is surrounded by arable farmland and there are many small businesses run from home. It is also a dormitory village for Norwich, Dereham and Fakenham.