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he had to King Edmund, who was lord of it, and left it to King Etheldred
or Edred his brother, and at his death it went to King Edwy, and after
him to King Edgar, his brother, who sold it to Wolstan, and at his death
to Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, for £40, and he gave it to the Abbey
of St. Etheldred, or Audrey, at Ely, who was in possession at the time of
the Norman Conquest. The village was then two miles long and a mile
broad, and paid £30 to the gelt or tax. Money in the same coin was then
worth ten times more than the present value.

The Church of St. Mary the Virgin is the mother Church, and has a
square tower with a spire on its top and six bells. The nave, south aislQ,
chancel, and porch are covered with lead. In the porch chamber lay many
court rolls and evidences of the manor, with armour, a broken organ, and
several brass plates reeved off the stones in the Church. There are monu-
ments to the families of the Aslacks, the Langs, the Jermys, and the Sayers. i^V ,

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalen is a good structure with a largec-^^^-'*
square tower, a clock and six bells, a handsome north porch, two aisles '

and nave all covered with lead. It is a very handsome edifice.

REDENHALL

Takes its name from Ruda, the dean, who was lord in the time of Edward
the Confessor, and held it of Edric, the predecessor of Robert Mulct,
lord of the honour of Eye. Its value was then £3 per annum, but it rose
to £8 value, and was a mile and a-half long and three perches broad, and
paid lOd. to the Dane gelt or tax. It extended into Alburgh and
Starston, and it contained twenty-three freemen, whose rents were £4 per
annum, but they were afterwards separated from the manor and added to
Earl Half s Hundred of Earsham. The Church is situated in the middle
of the parish, so that it might be equi-distant for the tenants of the
several manors and to the Hamlets of Hai'leston and Wortwell. It is
dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and is a good regular building, having
its north porch, nave, and two aisles leaded, and chancel tiled. It was
rebuilt of freestone by Thomas Brotherton, Earl of Norfolk, and the
chancel by William Neuport, rector, but the noble square tower, which
is very large and lofty, is of a mnch later foundation. It was begun about
1460, and was carried on as the legacies and benefactions came in.

HAELESTON,

A market town in the parish of Redenhall, nineteen miles (south) from
Norwich, and ninety-nine and a-half (north-east) from London. The



230 HISTORY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

original appellation of Herolfstone^ or Herolvestonj of which the present
is a corruption, was derived from Herolf, one of the Danish leaders, who
came over with Sweyn, and settled in this part of the kingdom. In the
centre of the town stands a stone, formerly called Herolf^s stone, whence
probably originated the name of a family to which belonged Sir John
Horolveston, who in the reign of Eichard II. quelled a formidable
disturbance in Norfolk and the neighbouring county. The town is situate
on the road from Bury St. Edmund^s to Yarmouth, about one mile from
the river Waveney, over which is a bridge ; it is lighted with gas, and
well supplied with water from spring&i. The manufacture of bombazines
was carried on here to a limited extent. The market, which is chiefly for
corn, is held on Wednesdays in a new hall, and well attended ; fairs are
held on July 15th and September 9th and 10th; the latter, which is still
a large sheep and cattle fair, was originally continued eight days. On the
first of December was formerly a fair for Scotch cattle, which continued
one month, and which was removed hither many years since from Hoxne,
in Suffolk ; but it has fallen into disuse in consequence of the preference
given to the cattle market at Norwich. A portion of the town is under
the superior jurisdiction of the Duke of Norfolk, who is lord of the
manor, and has the tolls of the markets and fairs, holding courts for the
manor occasionally. Petty Sessions are held on the first and third Fridays
in the month. In the centre of the town is a Chapel of Ease, dedicated
to St. John the Baptist. It is a free chapel, founded probably by Sir
John de Herofston for his own use. It never had an institution, but was
always dependent upon its mother church at Eedenhall, the rector of
which served here one part of the day every Sunday.

In 1688, being almost useless, and deserted for want of fit endowments,
that pious prelate, William Sandcroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, settled
on the master, fellows, and scholars of Emmanuel College, in Cambridge,
£54 per annum, payable quarterly out of the hereditary revenues of the
excise, in trust and special confidence that they will receive it, and
nominate a chaplain and schoolmaster here, and pay it so received to him,
" provided he perform divine service in the chapel daily except on
Sundays.'' The chapel was rebuilt in 1726, and enlarged in 1819, by
taking in the site of the market cross, which stood at the east end.
There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans. The rents
of an estate in the adjoining parish of Rushall, purchased with £200,
the gift of Mr. John Dove, who died in 1712, are paid to the National School,
which is also supported by subscriptions.

THE HUNDRED OP DISS

Is so called from its thriving market town, and is nearly a square district,



A DESCKlPflON OP NORFOLK. 231

about seven miles in length and breadth, bounded on the east by Barsham,
on the west by Guiltcross, on the north by Depwade, and on the south by
the river Waveney, which divides it from Suffolk. It is a well-wooded
and fertile district, generally level, but rising in some places in gentle
undulations. It is crossed by the railway from Norwich to Ipswich,
called the Eastern Union line. It contains 23,915 acres, sixteen parishes,
and 9851 inhabitants.

The parishes are Bressingham, Burston, Dickleburgh with Langmere,
Diss, Fersfield, Frenze, Gissing, Roydon, Scole, Shelfanger, Shimpling,
Thclveton, Thorpe Parva, Tivetshall St. Margaret, Tivetshall St. Mary,
Win farthing.

SCOLE, OK OSMONDISTON (ST. ANDEEW),

A parish twenty miles (south-south-west) from Norwich, bounded on the
south by the river Waveney, comprising about 800 acres. The village
was a great thoroughfare on the road from Ipswich to Norwich, and about
forty coaches passed through there daily before the opening of railways.
There was a very large inn built in the seventeenth century, and it had a
large sign across the road. There is a fair for cattle on Easter Monday.
The living is a discharged rectory ; patron, Sir E. Kerrison, Bart. The
tithes were commuted for a rent-charge of £250, and the glebe contains
twenty-five acres. The Church is an ancient structure in the decorated
style, with a square embattled tower.

TIVETSHALL (ST. MARY),

A large parish, Jifteen miles (south) from Norwich, on the road from the
city to London, close to the Eastern Union Railway. There is a branch
line from this place to Harleston, and through the valley of the Waveney
to Bungay and Beccles. The living here is a rectory, with that of Tivets-
hall St. Margaret annexed ; net income, £760 ; patron. Lord Orford. The
tithes were commuted for a rent-charge of £475 3s. 4d. There is a glebe
of twenty-three acres, and a good glebe-house. The Church is partly in
the early, and partly in the decorated style, and has an ancient square
tower at the west end.

PERSPIELD (ST. ANDREW)

A parish near Diss, comprising 1140 acres, chiefly the property of the
Duke of Norfolk, who is lord of the manor. It belonged in ancient time
to the family of Du Bois, the supposed founders of the Church. The
common was enclosed in 1799. The source of the river Waveney is near
the village. The living is a rectory, and the tithes were commuted for a
rent-charge of £360; the glebe comprises fifty-nine acres, valued at



(f.



232 HISTOEY OP EASTERN ENGLAND.

£74 7s. 6d. per annum. The Church is an ancient structure, in the
decorated English style, with a square embattled tower. The Church
lands comprise twenty acres, producing £32 per annum. The Rev. Francis
Blomefield, the Norfolk historian, was born and buried here. He pub-
lished two volumes of his '' History of Norfolk " between 1836 and 1843.
He did not live to finish it, and it was continued by the Rev. J. Parker,
who did not live to finish it, and it was never completed.

;7//V;'' j EGYSTON (ST. EEMIGIUS),

A parish near Diss, situated on the road to Thetford, is bounded on the
south by the river Waveney. It comprises 1135a. 1e. 38p., chiefly arable,
with a moderate proportion of meadow and pasture. The living is a rec-
tory ; patron, the Right Hon. J. H. Frere. The tithes were commuted
for a rent-charge of £440 ; and the glebe comprises forty-six acres, with
a good house. The Church is an ancient structure, chiefly in the decorated
style, with a circular tower. Mrs. M. Blowers left £1000 to the poor;
and Miss Frere, in 1839, bequeathed £400 for clothing six married persons,
Aboui twenty acres of land are let in small lots to the poor.

DISS (ST. MAEY),

A market town and parish in the Hundred of Diss, twenty-two miles
(south-south-west) from Norwich, and ninety-two (north-east) from
London.

This place (formerly Dixe, or Dice) was held in Royal demesne in the
reign of Henry I., and in that of Edward I. became the property of
Robert Fitz Walter, who obtained for it the privilege of a market. The
town is pleasantly situated near the river Waveney, by which it is
separated on the south from the county of Sufiblk, and consists of several
streets, of which the principal are spacious, and are macadamized and
lighted with gas. The houses are in general well built, and have a neat
and handsome appearance ; and the inliabitants are well suppHed with
water. A Book Society has been established for nearly a century, and it
is supported by subscription ; the collection exceeds 4000 volumes. There
is also a Subscription Library ; and a Literary and Scientific Institution
was established in 1828. At the extremity of the town, and nearly in
the centre of the parish, is a mere, five acres in extent, which abounds
with eels. The principal branch of manufacture is the weaving of coarse
cloth and sacking, and there are several breweries in the town. The
market is on Friday, and is chiefly for corn. A fair for lambs, on the
first Friday in July, has been established ; a statute fair is held on the
third Friday in September ; and a fair for cattle and toys on the 8th of
November. The Petty Sessions are held here on the second and fourth



A DESCRIPTION OP NORFOLK. 23^

Monday in the month. The parish, which is bounded on the south by the
river Waveney, comprises o625a. Or. 22p., of which about 3283 acres are
under cultivation, and about fifteen are in plantation. The soil is various,
but in general fertile ; the surface is gently undulated, and the low
grounds are watered by the river Frenze, which flows through the parish
into the Waveney. The living is a rectory, valued in the King^s books at
£33 6s. 8d. ; the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £900 ;
and the glebe comprises eleven acres, valued at £16 10s. per annum, to
which there is a glebe-house. The Church is an ancient structure in the
early and decorated English styles, with a square embattled tower. The
nave is lighted by a fine range of double clerestory windows ; and the south
porch has a semi-circular headed doorway, over which is a large window
of seven lights. There are places of worship for the Society of Friends,
and Particular Baptists, Independents, Wesleyans, and Unitarians, and a
Roman Catholic Chapel at Thelton. There is a School of Industry for
girls, supported by the Misses Taylor, and there is a house in the church-
yard, the rent of which (£25) is given to four poor widows. £100, the
produce of a farm, is applied to the repair of the Church and other
parochial uses.

Ralph de Dicete, Dean of St. Paul's in the reign of Henry II., and
Walter, a Carlemite monk of Norwich, confessor to John o' Gaunt, were
natives of this parish, of which also John Skelton, poet-laureate to
Henry VIII., was rector, and styled by Erasmus " the light and orna-
ment of English scholars."

Thomas Lombe Taylor, Esq., Lord of the Manor of Diss in 1854,
erected a new Corn Hall, at a cost of £10,000, and made a present of it
to the town. It is an elegant building in the Corinthian style of archi-
tecture, with a double glass roof, from which the interior is lighted. It
contains an entrance-hall lighted from above ; a Corn Exchange, seventy-
seven feet long, forty-two w^ide, and twenty-seven high, and two rooms
each thirty-three feet by twenty feet, the lower of which is used for
magistrates' meetings, and the upper is a public library and reading-room.
This rare act of generosity on the part of Mr. Taylor excited the grati-
tude of the inhabitants, who raised a subscription for his portrait, which
was painted by Boxall, and now hangs in the Hall. Miss Taylor pre-
sented an excellent organ, which is used here at concerts.

We have so far given a pretty full description of all the towns and the
most important villages in Norfolk and seats of the gentry, as an intro-
duction to our historical narrative, leading events, and memoirs of
eminent men of every period. We may here mention some of the most
eminent characters — the Howards, Dukes of Norfolk, the Warrens, the
Bigods, the Le Stranges, the Jerninghams, the Fastens, the Fitz Walters,



^34 HISTORY 01^ EASTERN ENGLAND.

the Lucys, the Mortimers, the Wodehouses, the Walpoles, the Townshends,
the Windhams, and the Cokes, all whose families flourished for many
ages. Most famous of all was Nelson, the Norfolk hero.

POPULATION Of NORFOLK.

The population of Norfolk in 1801 amounted to 273,479; in 1811 to
291,947; in 1821 to 344,368; in 1831 to 390,054; in 1841 to 412,664;
in 1851 to 442,714; showing a gradual increase every decade. But in
1861 the population decreased to 434,791, consisting of 209,005 males
and 225,793 females. There was consequently a decrease of 7916 per-
sons during the decade preceding 1861. During that period there were
registered in Norfolk 32,709 marriages and 137,594 births, but only
91,632 deaths. It is, therefore, apparent that 60,000 of the inhabitants
must have left the county to seek employment elsewhere. The population
continued to decrease in the rural districts till 1871. This decrease is
attributed to the emigration of agricultural laborers to America, &c., and
the colonies, the migration of young persons to the manufacturing dis-
tricts ; the depression of the shipping trade, owing to the transit of coals
and heavy goods by railways ; the discontinuance of hand-loom hemp
cloth weaving, the introduction of machinery for agricultural purposes,
and the want of a sufficient number of cottages in almost all parishes.
Norwich and Yarmouth are the only towns in Norfolk in which there has
been any considerable increase, the former on account of its manufactures,
and the latter on account of its fisheries.

In considering the condition of the common people, we must keep in
mind their gradual increase, and the proportion in counties and towns.
Down to the 18th century, the rural population was far greater than in
all the towns, and increased in every period till 1851. Since then the
population has decreased, while the production of food, value of land, and
rents have increased. The condition of the present rural labourers is very
little improved as regards dwellings, clothing, or food ; and certainly not
at all improved as regards their education or intelligence.

The Norfolk dialect is so peculiar that it might well interest a phi-
lologist. Prince Lucien has included it among his collection, and by way
of specimen here is a passage from his version of "The Song of
Solomon : " —

1. The Song o' songs as is Borloimin's.

2. Lerr 'mn kiss mc wi' the kisses of his mouth ; for yar love is better an' wine.

3. Becaze o' the smell o' yar good intemcnts yar name is as intements pored
out, therefore du the maAvtlicrs love ye.

4. Dror me, we'll run arter ye ; the king he ha' browt me into his chambers ;
we'll be glad and rejoice in ye : we'll remahmber yar love more 'an wine ; the
right-up love ye.



CHAPTER IV



A DESCRIPTION OF NORWICH.

4PHE capital of East Auglia is ou the east side of the oval forming
^\ the shape of the county of Norfolk. It stands on each side of the
navigable river Wcnsum, just above the confluence with the Yare. It is
situated twenty miles west of the sea coast at Yarmouth^ forty-eight and
a-quarter east-by-south from Lynn^ fifty-three and three-quarters from
Ely, sixty-eight and a-half from Cambridge, and 11 3| miles from London.
It is a city and county of itself, the seat of a bishopric, a municipal and
Parliamentary borough, assize town of the shire, place of election, and
railway station. The Great Eastern Railway system connects the city
with all other towns in England. It has a railway station at Thorpe for
the Norfolk line from Yarmouth to Ely ; another station at St. Stephen^s
Gates for the Suflblk lines to Ipswich and Bury St. Edmund's. It has
two channels to the sea, by the river Yare to Yarmouth, and by the river
Waveney to Lowestoft, from which ports steamers and sea-borne vessels
come up to Norwich.

The city and county of Norwich occupies so large a space in the
Eastern Division that it may be regarded as a separate district. It stands
for the most part on the sloping sides of a rising ground, running parallel
with the river Wensum, on the southern side, above its confluence with
the Yare. The greatest extent, from St. Clement's Hill (north) to
Hartford Bridges (south), is four and a-quarter miles; and following the
zig-zag line of the boundary, it is about seventeen miles in circumference,
comprising 6630 acres of land. Within its jurisdiction it includes the
picturesque hamlets of Lakenham and Bracondale'on the south, of Catton
on the north, of Thorpe on the east, and of Heigham on the west.

The city is partly built on a plain on the banks of the river Wensum,
and partly on the gentle acclivity of a hill. The ancient walls, of which
few fragments remain, enclosed a length of a mile and a-half from north to
south, and a mile and a-quarter from east to west. The modern suburbs,



2S6 HISTOKY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

however^ have long out-grown these limits. The chief features of the
city are its Castle^, crowning the summit of a sugar-loaf hill or mound in
the centre of the town ; its noble Cathedral ; its multitude of Churches,
nearly all built of flint ; its quaint Guildhall ; its spacious Market Place, and
narrow winding streets branching off from open spaces or plains.

We shall first give a brief sketch of the rise and progress of the city
(reserving modern events for our historical narrative), then a description
of the place, its antiquities. Castle, Cathedral, public buildings ; then an
account of charities, schools, manufactures, trades, and navigation.

The original sources of information respecting any city or county are
to some extent legendary and fictitious, but not on that account to be
entirely discarded. The rise of any great city is owing to such a variety
of causes that it is often difiicult to point out the principal one ; but with
respect to Norwich, there is good reason for the belief that its origin
may be traced to the erection of a British stronghold at the head of an
estuary on the eastern coast of the Iceiil, who inhabited the eastern
district.

Assuming then that the place called Caer Giuduiii by the leeui was the
Venta Icenonim of the Romans, we may believe that it was of some
extent, partly founded on the shoulder of a premonitory, overlooking the
Wensum, towards the great estuary which formed a natural stronghold
for many successsive races of inhabitants. Whilst the Romans fixing
their permanent camp at Caister on the Taas, where that river joined the
estuary, would command the passage into the interior of the country.
Making Caister the Ad Taum, we will find the distances agree with the
Roman Itineraries.

Sir Henry Spelman in his " Icenia " states that Norwich was the
capital of the Iccui — in British, Caer Gwynt — situated on the river
Wensum ; the Britons using the " w," which the Romans turned into
" y," Venta j but whether Norwich was the Venta Icenomm of the
Romans he leaves in doubt. Antiquaries are now generally of opinion
that the site of the present city must have been the Venta Icenoram, and
that it was originally a British stronghold, that the Angles built a castle
there, that the Danes destroyed this castle and the city, and subsequently
rebuilt both the city and castle.

According to Spelman, Norwich was a residence of East Anglian kings,
who established a mint here for coining money, and some of their coins
have been preserved. Ufia, first king of the East Angles, is stated to
have built a castle here in 575, and made it his residence. In 642 Anna,
another king of the East Angles, kept his court at the castle, and
succeeding kings did the same, sometimes residing at Thetford. The
city being often an object of contention between the Angles and the



A DESCRIPTION OP NORWICH. 237

Danes, it was alternately in the possession of each party, and was repaired
and fortified by Alfred the Great against the Danes, to whom, after a
treaty of peace, that monarch finally conceded it. They settled in it,
built a new castle, and made it a Danish city.

In 952 Edred made it a borough governed by an officer, who was
appointed by the King to keep his Courts and collect his revenues. The
Danes being subsequently driven out, it remained in the possession of the
Angles till 1004, when the Danish invaders being stimulated by the
weakness of Etheldred II. and the treachery of Afric, Earl of Mercia,
landed on the coast of Essex under Sweyn, then King, advanced into
Norfolk, burnt and plundered the city, and left it in a state of desola-
tion till their return in 1018, when they again took possession of it under
Canute, by whom it was re-built, and the fortifications of the castle were
restored. From this time the city began rapidly to increase, and it was a
great fishing town, the principal staithe being where St. Lawrence\s
Church now stands, but it appears that about this period the waters silted
up, or receded, so much as to leave the lower parts on the north side of
the river dry grounds, which from their low situations were called marshes,
and were soon after drained and built upon. The river gradually assumed
its present appearance all the way from Norwich to the sea at Yarmouth.
In 1049 Edward the Confessor gave the Earldom of Norwich to Harold,
afterwards King, but on his rebellion with his father Godwin, it was seized
by the King and given to Algar, son of Leofric, Earl of Chester, after
whose death it fell again to the King. From Domesday Book we learn
that the city contained 1320 burgesses, with their families residing therein,
and besides the new burgh westward, there were three manors in the
city ; this proves that it must have flourished greatly after it had been
re-built by the Danes. It is to be observed here that though we have
carried on the succession of Kings of East Anglia to this period, it ended,
strictly speaking, with Edmund the Martyr, as did the Heptarchy twenty-
two years before (828), when Egbert ascended the ^throne of all England.
In the Domesday survey of Edward the Confessor (1041 — 1063) the
entries point to the probability of the same relative position of the
inhabitants of Norwich to the King having existed there as at Leicester
and elsewhere. The usage was to pay to the Monarch certain dues, and
to enjoy local independence in return for the payment. The Norwich
burgesses paid £20 to the King, and £10 to the Earl, besides 20s. in the
shape of aids, six sextaries of honey, and a bear with six dogs to bait
him. When these tributes were paid to the King's officers, the citizens
were left free to manage their own local affairs, but they were ruled by
other local lords of the soil, for while 1 238 of them were amenable to the
jurisdiction of the King and the Earl, fifty others lived within the soke



238 IHSTOEY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

of Stigand, and thirty-two were settled on the land of Earl Harold,
afterwards King, and were under his authority. But the Sheriff had no
power of interference within the city, which constituted a Hundred of
itself. The burgesses owed suit and service only to their respective I;ords
in their Court Leet.

After the Norman Conquest in 1 066, William I. bestowed the city on



Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 27 of 70)