In the Domesday Book of 1086, Blakeney is recorded under the name Esnuterle (later, Snitterley); the main landholders are noted as Walter Gifford and William de Noyers. The settlement first appears under the name Blakeney in a document which dates from 1340. Around the same period Edward III’s wife, Queen Philippa is said to have dined on fish caught by Blakeney’s fishermen.
Blakeney Haven was a deeper inlet on the north coast of Norfolk into which the River Glaven flowed. Sheltered behind Blakeney Point, it was a major shipping area in the Middle Ages, with relatively important North Norfolk ports at Wiveton, Cley next the Sea and Blakeney itself. Cley and Wiveton silted up in the 17th century, but Blakeney prospered, especially after the channel to the Haven was deepened in 1817. Packet ships ran from that port to Hull and London from 1840. This trade declined as ships became too large for the harbour, and it is now silted up with access only for small boats
From the 12th century Blakeney had a reputation for acts of piracy: between 1328 and 1350 it is recorded that men of Blakeney boarded two vessels sailing from Flanders and sailed them back to Blakeney haven, where they were stripped of their cargoes. Many a foreign merchant ship which sought shelter in the haven found its cargo stolen. Such was the lawlessness of the residents that the village refused to supply a ship for the battle against the Spanish Armada.