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west by Freeb ridge Ijynn. It is a highly-cultivated district, rising in
some places into bold and picturesque swells, with many thri\nng planta-
tions and handsome mansions. It is watered by the Wensum, the Nar,
and several smaller streams. It takes its name from a long ditch extend-
ing from Wendling Cair to the lowlands near Mileham, made to carry off
the drain water. It comprises 57,416 acres, and thirty-three parishes
with a population of 13,152.

The parishes are Beeston All Saints, Beetley, Brisley, Colkirk, Elm-
ham, East Bilney, East Dereham (part), East Lexham, Gately, Great
Dunham, Great Fransham, Gi-essenhall, Hoe, Horningtoft, Kempston,
Litcham, Little Bitteriug, Little Dunham, Little Fransham, Longliam,



A DESCRIPTION OP NOKPOLK. 165

Mileham, North Elmham, Oxwick, Pattisley, Rougliani, Scarniug, Stan-
field^ Swanton Morley^ Tittlesliall, Weasenliam All Saints, Wcasenliain
St. Peter, Wellingham, Weudling, West Lexliam, Whissonsctt, Worthing.

ELMHAM {HT. MAEy)

Is a very ancient place five miles from East Dereham. On the division of
the kingdom of the East Angles into two dioceses about 673, one of the
episcopal seats was fixed here, and the other at Dnnwich. There was a
succession of ten bishops here till the martyrdom of Humbert by the Danes
in 870. Herbert, the first bishop of Norwich rebuilt the Parish Church
here, but the present edifice is of later date. The parish comprises
462oA. •2e., of which 2826 acres are arable, 1498 pasture, and 286 wood-
land. The surface is varied, and the scenery pleasingly diversified. The
Hall, a handsome mansion, is the residence of Lord Sondes, who fought at
Waterloo.

EYNESPOKD HUNDKED

Is twelve miles in length from north to south, and seven miles in breadth ;
bounded on the south by Forehoe and Mitford, on the west by Launditcli
and Gallow, on the north by Holt Hundred, and on the east by Taverham.
The soil is in general a fertile loam, with a substrata of chalk and
marl, and a large part of it lies in the vale of the Wensum, which
flows from Rudham, and forms the western boundary from Guist to
Bylaugh. This river in several places expands into a broad stream,
and several smaller streams add to the beauty and fertility of the
Hundred, which comprises thirty parishes, covering 47,795 acres.
Population, 10,748.

The parishes are — Alderford, Bawdeswell, Billingford, Bylaugh, Elsmg,
Foulsham, Foxley, Great Witchingham, Guestwick, Guist, Hackford by
Reepham, Haveringland, Hindolveston, Kerdistone, Little Witchingham
Lyng, Morton-on-the-Hill, Reepham, Ring-land, Sail, Sparham, Swanning
ton, Themelthorpe, Thurning, Twyford, West Longvillc, Whitwell, Wood
Dalling, and Wood Norton.

ilORETON-ON-THE-HILL, OK HELMINGHAM (ST. MAEGAREt),

Is a parish in the Union of St. Faith's, Hundred of Eynsford, eight miles
(north-west) from Norwich. The parish comprises 977 acres, of which 508
are arable, 202 pasture, and 265 woodland. The Hall, the seat of T.
Berney, Esq., who is lord of the manor, is a handsome mansion situated
in grounds tastefully laid out, and commanding a fine view of the valley.
No one can appreciate Norfolk scenery aright who had not seen the view
from the terrace of Morton Hall. The Park, rising with a bold hill slope



166 HISTORY OP EASTEEN ENGLAND.

from the river is crowned by a terrace which looks over the valley of the
Wensum, where wood^ water^ and a surface varied by gentle undulations^
form one of the most pleasing views in the county. The " i^rophetic eye
of taste " has been so exercised in the planting as to heighten the general
effect by the contrasts of form and colour^ which allure the beholder's
eye from the glen-like dip of foliage immediately beneath the terrace to
the grey willows by the shining curves of the river and the dark range of
the Deakle fir woods, on the opposite side of the valley.

BKOTHEECEOSS AND GALLOW HUNDEEDS

Belonged to the Crown till Henry I. gave them to Wilham Earl of
Warren and Surrey, to be held of the Castle of Norwich, paying two
marks yearly. Brothercross is one of' the smallest divisions of Norfolk,
being only eight miles in length from north to south, and five miles wide.
It is bounded on the east by. North Greenhoe, on the west by Smithdon,
on the north by the sea, and on the south by Gallow. This Hundred is
generally fertile and well cultivated. It contains 19,356 acres, and only
nine parishes, the six Burnhams, North and South Creake, and Waterden,
with 4,614 inhabitants.

THE 13UENHAMS

Are distinguished as Burnham Deepdale, Burnham Norton, Buruham
Overy, Burnham Ulpli and Sutton, and Burnham Thorpe. The last-
named parish was the birthplace of the celebrated Admiral Nelson, the
Norfolk Hero, whose father was for many years rector of this parish, and
also of Burnham Sutton. By which ever way you quit Holkham, you
will find something pretty in the descent to Burnhamthorpe, hill and hollow
and much wood, rimmed by the distant sea. You turn into a lane, cross
a meadow and a lively brook, and arrive at the pleasant park -like ground
round the old Rectory, where the Norfolk hero was born. ,

GALLOW HUNDEED

Is a tract of rich soil and highly-diversified country, extending fifteen
tnilcs in length from east to west, varying from five to eight miles in
breadth, being bounded on the north by Brothercross, and on the south
by Launditch. The River Wensum flows eastward through a fine vale,
by East Rudliam and Fakenham, and from Snoring another stream flows,
to the sea. Gallow is supposed to have derived its name from a hiU near
Dunton, where the Hundred Court was held. It contains 44,059 acres,
and thirty-one parishes with a population of 9947.

The parishes are Bagthorpe, Barmer, Broomsthorpe, Dunton- cum -
Doughton, East Barsham, Fakenham, Fulmodeston-cum-Croxton, Great



A DESCRIPTION OP NORFOLK. 167

Rybnrgh;, Hellionghton^ Hemptoii^ Kettlestonc, Little Ryburgli, Little
Snoring, New Hougliton, Nortli Barsliam, Ponstliorpe, Pudding Norton,,
Scultliorpc, Sliereford, Eamliam St. Martin, Ramham St. Margaret,
Stibbard, Syderstone, Tatterford, Tattersett, Testertou, Tof trees, . West
Barsliam, West Rudham.

FAKENHAM.

This is a parish and market town in the Hundred of Gallow, twenty-five
and a-half miles (north-west) of Norwich, and 109 (north-north-east) from
London. The town is on a declivity nortli of the River Wensum, over
which there is a white brick bridge of three arches. The living is a
rectory, and in the patronage of the Master and Fellows of Trinity
College, Cambridge. The Chnrch (St. Peter) consists of a nave, aisles,
chancel, and south porch, with a stately tower of stone at the west end,
which presents a noble doorway, surmounted by a lofty window, divided
into, six compartments, and sub -divided by horizontal mullions and tracery
mouldings. On each side of the door is a canopied niche, the buttresses
of which are adorned with panellings. The front is octangular, and
richly embellished with carvings of the arms of the Duchy of Lancaster.
An organ was presented by a late rector, to whom the parishioners were
also indebted for some emblematical designs in stained glass, which
decorate the chancel window.

The town is a polling place for the Western Division of the county. The
market is on Thursday, for corn and cattle, and is well attended by dealers
from a distance ; two Fairs, on Whit Tuesday and November 22nd, for
cattle, are held on Hempton Green. The parish comprises 2016a. 5r., of
which 1636 acres are arable, 240 pasture, and 140 heath ; it includes the
hamlet of Alethorpe, formerly a parish, and Thorpland, also anciently a
parish, in which stood an old mansion long the residence of the Calthorpe
family. Nonconformists are numerous in the town. There are chapels
for Baptists, Independents, and Methodists. A National School, recently
built, is supported by subscription. A new Corn Hall was built some
years since.

HOUGHTON NEW, OR HOUGHTON BY HARPLEY (ST. MARTIN)

Is in the Hundred of Gallow. The parish comprises 1495 acres, of which
about 715 are arable, 30 pasture, and the rest in the park and plantation
of the Hall, the seat of the Marquis of Cholmoudeley, which is situated on
a gentle eminence, surrounded by grounds for the most part level, but
tastefully laid out and beautifully picturesque. The mansion was begun
by Sir Robert Walpole in 1722, and finished in 1735, and is a magnificent
structure in freestone, consisting of two principal fronts, connected with



168 HISTORY OP EASTERN ENGLAND.

their respective wings by handsome balustraded colonnades. The interior
contains many apartments splendidly fitted up, and a large collection of
statues and paintings of the first order.

"raynham east (st. mary)

Is a parish in the Hundred of Gallow. The parish comprises 1635a. 1r.
9 p., of which 574 acres are arable, 821 pasture and meadow, and 212 wood-
land. Kaynham Hall, the admired seat of Lord Charles Townshend, was
built near the site of an ancient Hall in 1630, by Sir Roger Townshend,
Bart., from designs by Inigo Jones, but it was enlarged by Charles, second
Viscount Townshend, and further improvements were made by the first
Marquess Townshend. It is a handsome structure of brick and stone, and
contained some fine paintings, particularly the famous picture of Belisarius,
by Salvator Rosa, pres'ented to the second Viscount by the King of Prussia.

THE HUNDRED OF NORTH GREENHOE

Is of an irregular oblong figure, extending nine miles in length along the
coast, and averaging seven miles in breadth^from north to south, being
bounded on the east by Holt Hundred, on the south by Gallow, and on
the west by Brothercross. The soil is generally light, but well cultivated,
and the face of the country is beautifully diversified and seen to great ad-
vantage from Great Snoring Church, where the prospect to the north is
highly picturesque and is terminated by the ocean. Area, 34,204. Popu-
lation, 10,268.

This Hundred includes the parishes of Barney, Binham, Cockthorpe,
Egmere, Field Bailing, Gre^t Snoring, Great Walsingham, Hindringham,
Holkham, Houghton-in-the-Jlole, Little Walsingham, Stiffkey, Thursford,
Warham All Saints, Warham St. Mary, Wighton, Wells-next-the-sea.

WALSINGHAM (GREAt),

A parish in the Union of Walsingham, Hundred of North Greenlioe,
Western Division of the County of Norfolk, one mile (north-by-east) from
Little Walsingham, comprising the united parishes of All Saints and St.
Peter. This place, which is also called Old Walsingham, and was
formerly of considerable importance, is situated in the valley of the Stiff' key
river, on the road from Fakenham to Wells, and comprises 2407a. 2r. 24i'.^
of which about 2250 acres are arable, 100 meadow and pasture^ and 50
woodland ; the scenery is of pleasing character, and finely situated in the
vale ; below the Church is Berry Hall, the seat of the Bi-ook family, an
ancient mansion. The living is a perpetual curacy, net income, £100 ;
patron and impropriator, the Rev. D. H. Lee Warner; the tithes were
commuted for land under an act of inclosuie in 1808. The Church is



A DESCRIPTION OF NORFOLK, 169

remarkable for the fine proportions of its architecture^ is in the later
English style, with a square embattled tower. A School for Girls is sup-
ported by subscription. In 1658 from forty to fifty Roman urns were
dug up in a field near the village, and coins of the same people have been
frequently discovered.

WALSINGHAM LITTLE (ST. MARY),

A parish, formerly a market town, the head of a Union, in the Hundred of
North Greenhoe, Western Division of the County of Norfolk, 28 miles
(north-west) from Norwich, and 114 miles (north-north-east) from Loudon.
This place, also called New Walsingham, was of great celebrity for many
centuries, as containing a shrine of the Virgin, or Our Lady of Walsing-
ham, constructed of wood, after the plan of the Sancta Casa at Naza-
reth, and founded in 1061 by a widow of Ricoldie Fraverches, whose son.
Sir Gulfribus, confirmed her endowment and re-estabhshed a monastery
for Augustine Canons, with a Conventual Church ; this institution became
immensely rich, and at the dissolution its revenues were valued at £446
14s. 4d., exclusive of the valuable ofl'erings of the numerous devotees of
all nations who had visited the shrine, and which are said to have equalled
those presented at that of Our Lady of Lorette in Italy, and that of St.
Thomas a Becket at Canterbury. Among the illustrious visitants were
several of the Kings and Queens of England, especially Henry VIII., who
in the second year of his reign walked hither barefoot from Barsham, to
present a valuable necklace to the image of the Virgin. During the pre-
valence of superstition, the credulous were taught to believe that the
galaxy, or milky way in the heavens, was |,the peculiar residence of the
Virgin, whence it obtained the name of " Walsingham Way ; ^' the site,
after the dissolution, together with the lands belonging to the Abbey, was
granted to Sir Thomas Sydney. The venerable remains of this once noble
and stupendous pile are situated in the midst of a grove of stately trees,
in the pleasure grounds of the Rev. D. H. Lee Warner, and contiguous to
a fine stream of water, over which is a handsome bridge ; they chiefly
consist of the great western portal, a lofty and magnificent arch 75 feet
high, which formed the east end of the conventual church ; the spacious
refectory, 78 by 27 feet, with wall 26^ feet in height; a portion of the
cloisters ^ and a stone bath, with two wells, called St. Mary^s, or the
" Wishing Wells," near which is a Norman arch with zigzag mouldings,
removed hither from the mansion as an ornamental object. The devotees
who had permission to drink of these Wells were taught to believe that^
under certain restrictions, they should obtain whatever they might desii'e.
Here was also a house of Grey Friars, founded in 1346 by Ehzabeth de
Burge, Countess of Clare ; the buildings occupied an area of about seven



170 HISTORY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

acres,, and there are considerable remains of the refectory, cloisters, and
other portions of the conventual buildings, in which some of the windows
are nearly perfect.

The town is situated in a vale, surrounded by bold heights ; the scenery
is richly diversified, and the inhabitants are well supplied with water from
wells. A fair is held on the second Friday after Whit-Monday, and a
statute fair on the Friday before and the Friday after Michaelmas Day.
The General Quarter Sessions for the county take place here by adjourn-
ment ; and Petty Sessions on the first Monday in the month. The Bride-
well, or House of Correction, formerly a hospital for lepers, founded in
1486, has been considerably enlarged, and contains six wards and day
rooms, three airing yards, two work rooms, a room for the sick, a chapel,
and a treadmill. The place was formerly noted for the growth of saffron,
which has been discontinued some years. The parish comprises by mea-
surement 976 acres, and the lands are watered by a small stream which
flows near the town, and falls into the sea within a few miles. The living
is a perpetual curacy ; net income £100, with a glebe of nine acres, and a
handsome glebe house ; the tithes were commuted for land, under an
Act of Inclosure, in 1808. The Church is a spacious structure in the later
English style, with a square embattled tower, surmounted by a lofty
spire, and contains a very ancient and beautiful fort of octagonal foi'in,
resting on a plinth of four ornamented steps, representing in compartments
the seven sacraments of the Church of Rome, and the crucifixion. There
are some handsome monuments, among which is one to Sir Henry Sidney,
and several to the Warner family, with numerous sepulchral brasses.

There are places of worship for Independents, Primitive Methodists, and
Wesleyans. The Free Grammar School was founded in 1639 by Richard
Bond, Esq., who endowed it with £1040, which was vested in the purchase
of an estate at Great Snoring, producing £110 per annum for the main-
tenance of a master and usher to teach thirty boys. A handsome school-
house, in the Elizabethian style, was erected in 1841, at the expense of the
Rev. H.J. Warner, the present incumbent ; the School for girls is sup-
ported by the patron and the incumbent, and that for boys by subscrip-
tion. There are eight Almshouses occupied by widows and parishioners.
The Poor Law Union of Walsingham comprises fifty parishes or places.
The remains of a Danish encampment are visible towards the sea. This
place confers the title of Baron on the family of De Grey.

WELLS.

This is a seapol't town and parish in the northern part of the Hundred of
Greenhoe, thirty-three miles (north-west by north) from Norwich, and 120
(north-north-east) from London^ near the terminus of the branch i^ailway^



A DESCRIPTION OF NORFOLK. 171

This place is situated on a creek^ about a mile from tlie North Sea. It
consists principally of two streets of well-built houses. The harbour,
from the accumulation of sand_, is rather difficult of access, but some
improvements have been made in it. The Custom House is a brick
building situated in the Quay. A Fair is annually held here on Shrove
Tuesday. The living is a rectory in the patronage of E. E,. Hopper, Esq.
The Church, dedicated to St. Peter, is a handsome spacious edifice of flint
with a lofty embattled tower.



Is a parish two and a-half miles west of Wells, and is said to have been an
important place in early times. The manor of Holkham with Bui-gh Hall
was in the possession of the Boleyns till 1505, when it came to Lady Anne
Gresham Edmund Newgate, whose ancestors had held lands in Holkham in
1659, sold the whole of his property to John Coke, he having previously
purchased the manor and all the other land in the parish of Lord Berkley
and others. The property still continues in the same family, and is now
held by the present Earl of Leicester, whose father's extensive improve-
ments made the Holkham estate so celebrated. Thomas William Coke,
the great farmer was raised to the peerage in 1837. He quadrupled the
value of his great estate.

The parish comprises about 4300 acres, of which 300 are salt marsh,
and 1500 woods and plantations, inclosed with 1700 acres of lawns, mea-
dows, &c., in the Park round Holkham House. Within the Park there
is a beautiful drive of seven miles in the midst of trees, plantations, &c.,
of every kind, and commanding many views of richly-diversified scenery.
The Park contains a lake 1056 yards in length, with a small island and
Avell- wooded shore. The Mansion, begun in 1734 by the late Earl of
Leicester (from a design by Palladio), and finished by the Dowager
Countess in 1760, consists of a north and south front, each having two
wings, connected with their respective portions by rectilineal corridors,
the whole of which are built of white brick. The south front is 344 feet
in length, and has in the centre a bold portico, with an entablature, sup-
ported by six Corinthian columns. The north front, which is the grand
entrance, is also 344 feet in length, and the central part, containing the
principal apartments, measures 114 feet by 62 j the entrance hall measures
46 feet by 70, and is surrounded by a gallery, supported by twenty-four
fluted Ionic columns ; next comes the saloon and other apartments. The
saloon contains a fine collection of paintings, and the whole house is
splendidly furnished. The late Lord Leicester in September, 1835, was
honored with a visit by the Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria on
their return from their northern tour.



172 " HISTORY OP EASTEN ENGLAND.



SMITHDOWN HUNDRED



Is a fine agricultural district^ forming the most north-western division of
the county, averaging ten miles in length and breadth, bounded on the
north by the sea, on the south by Freebridge Lynn. The soil being a
deep rich clay is naturally fertile, except on some of the higher grounds,
where a light sand prevails. The lands near the sea shore are chiefly salt
marshes, which are often flooded at spring tides, and a strong gale from
the north-west often floods the fields and drowns the sheep. Smithdon
contains 44,701 acres, eighteen parishes, and a population of 9,175.

The parishes are Barwick, Bircham Newton, Bircham Tofts, Brancaster,
Docking, Fring, Great Bircham, Great Ringstead, Heacham, Holme-next-
the-Sea, Hunstanton, Ingoldsthorpe, Sedgeford, Shernborne, Snettisham,
Stanhoe, Thornham, Titchwell. Hunstanton has lately become a very
flourishing watering-place, and it is much frequented in the summer
months by holiday folks. This corner of Norfolk abounds with Anglo-
Saxon villages. Snettisham is a place of hill and dale, where the land is
as red and the trees are as grand as in Warwickshire.

HUNSTANTON

Stands at the north-east point of Norfolk, where it is washed by the
German Ocean, and is remarkable for its lofty cliff', about 100 feet high,
against which the raging sea comes with such force and fury that it is
supposed to have gained in the course of time about two miles of land.
The strata of the cliff" thus placed at this point are worthy of observation.
Under the surface of the earth or mould, which is about two or three feet
deepj lies a strong white chalk, then a red hard clunch stone, below that
a stone of yellow colour, and the lowest stratum is an exceedingly hard
rock stone of an iron colour, yet it is said that sometimes in great storms
the sea surmounts them all. The village is distant seventeen miles (north
by east) from Lynn, and with that town it is now connected by a branch
railway, opened in 1862. Since then the place has been rapidly extending
and improving. It now contains above thirty commodious lodging and
boarding houses, many private residences, villas, and shops. The Hall, a
fine Elizabethan mansion, stands in a beautiful park, and has been for
many centuries the seat of the distinguished family of Le Strange, which
dates back to the Conquest.

The most ancient part of the Hall now remaining is the north-west
angle, and though there is nothing in its preseut appearance to mark its
antiquity, there can bo no doubt that it dates as far back as the reign of
Edward IV. The gate house on the east side of the building was erected
by Sir Roger Le Strange who died in 1509. It was originally quite



A DESCRIPTION OF NORFOLK. 173

distinct from the rest of the structure, but in 1623 Sir Simon Le Strange
added the two wings, also the north and south sides of the inner quad-
rangle, thus uniting it with the other inhabited part of the Hall.

FREEBRIDGE LYNN HUNDRED

Is one of the largest divisions of Norfolk, lies at the west end of the
county, extends from twelve to fifteen miles in length and breadth in every
direction from the borough of Lynn. The Hundred affords a pleasing-
contrast to the flat district of Marshland on the opposite side of the
Ouse, having an undulated surface, rising in picturesque swells from the
marshes on the coast. The soil varies, being in some parts rich and loamy,
and in others light sand, which indeed prevails in the entire district. The
Hundred comprises 76,957 acres, divided into thirty-four parishes, with a
population of 14,170.

The parishes are Anmer, Ashmcken, Babingley, Bawsey, Castleacre,
Castle Rising, Congham, Dersingham, East Walton, East Winch, Sand-
ringham, Flitcham-cum-Dersingham, Gayton, Gayton Thorpe, Gaywood,
Great Massingham, Grimstone, Harpley, Hillington, Leziate, Little Mas-
singham, Middleton, Mintlyn, North Ruucton, North Wootton, West
Bilney, West Newton, West Winch, Westacre, Wolverton.

CASTLEACRE (ST. JAMES)

Is now a small village, noted chiefly for the remains of its ancient Castle
and Priory, from the former of which it takes its name. It appears fi'om
the vestiges of a Roman road leading from Thetford to Brancaster, the
discovery of a tesselated pavement, and lately of several Roman coins, to
have been a Roman station, on the site of which a Castle was built. This
fortress was erected by William Warren, first Earl of Surrey, to whom
the Manor, with 139 others, was given by William I., and it was made
the head of all his lordships in Norfolk. It was probably enlarged by
his descendant, who in 1297 entertained Edward I. as his guest.

CASTLE RISING,

A parish in the Hundred of Freebridge Lynn, four miles north-east from
Lynn Regis, is an ancient place. It was formerly a Sea Port inferior only
to Lynn, a Borough and Market town, but the harbour being choked up
with sand, its trade declined, and the Market ceased. The Borough for-
merly returned two members to Parliament, but it was disfi'anchised by
the Reform Act of 1832. The government of the town was originally



Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 20 of 70)