The most central division of Norfolk, comprehends an area of about ten miles in length and six in breadth, bounded on the north by Eynesford; on the east, by Forehoe; on the south, by Wayland; and on the west; by South Greenhoe and Launditch Hundreds. It formerly abounded in extensive commons, nearly the whole of which have been enclosed during the last fifty years, so that it is now a highly cultivated and well wooded district.
At the Domesday survey, it belonged to the monastery founded in the Isle of Ely, by Ethelfreda, a princess of East Anglia; from which it passed to the See of Ely, with which it remained till granted to the Crown by an Act of Parliament in the first of Elizabeth. It has since passed to various lords, and forms, with Forehoe Hundred, the Deanery of Hingham, in the Archdeaconry of Norfolk.
It is in East Dereham Police Division, and petty sessions are held in that town every alternate Friday. "THE HUNDRED OF MITFORD SOCIETY for promoting and rewarding good conduct, and encouraging industrious habits, amongst Servants, Cottagers, and Labourers," is a very useful institution, supported by annual subscriptions, which are given in prizes to the most deserving, at the annual meeting held at Dereham, generally on the last Thursday in October.
Mitford contains eighteen parishes, of which the following is an enumeration, shewing their population in 1841, the annual value of their lands and buildings, as assessed to the county rate in 1843, and their territorial extent, in assessable acres:-
|Dereham (East) }||3797||16,658||5223|
|* Dillingtn.ham. }||40||552||438|
[There is more information about individual parishes]
* Dillington is in Launditch Hundred, but in Dereham parish.
+ The annual value of the Hundred, as assessed to the property tax, was £46,000, in 1815, and £64,962 in 1842. Its population, in 1831, was 11,528.
MITFORD AND LAUNDITCH UNION. -- All the fifty parishes of the Hundreds of Mitford and Launditch, were incorporated for the support of their poor, in 1775; but in 1801, the parish of East Dereham obtained an act by which it was separated from the incorporation. In 1836, the whole of these parishes, with ten parishes in Eynesford Hundred, were formed into an Union under the new poor law. These sixty parishes comprise an area of about 110,000 acres, and had in 1841 a population of 28,493 inhabitants, of whom 14,095 were males and 14,398 females.
The House of Industry, which belonged to the old incorporation, is at Gressenhall, and was built in 1776 and '7, at the cost of £16,242, including the purchase of 61A. 2R. 35P. of land. In 1835, it was valued at nearly £10,000, and in the following year, about £5000 was expended in repairs, alterations, &c., so as to adapt it as the Union Workhouse. The average annual expenditure of the sixty parishes of this extensive Union, from 1832 to 1835, was £26,684. In 1842, their expenditure, solely for the relief of in and out-door poor, was £9815, and in 1843, £9021. The number of persons in the Workhouse, in July, 1841, was 242. On March 18th, 1844, there were 320 paupers in the house; and at one period in 1800, it had as many as 670 inmates. They are maintained and clothed at the weekly cost of 2s. 4d. per head.
Though this large Workhouse stands in a high and healthy situation, cholera and scarlet fever, in 1834, swept away one-sixth of its inmates. Part of the land is enclosed as a burial ground, and the rest is cultivated by spade husbandry.
Mr. George Fras. and Mrs. Whelan are master and matron of the Workhouse; Mr. Chas. Wright, of Litcham, is clerk to the Board of Guardians; the Rev. Jph. Thompson is chaplain; and Messrs. Fras. Reynolds, Thos. Mendham, and John Francis Reynolds, are the relieving officers. Mr. Charles Wright is also SUPERINTENDENT REGISTRAR; and Mr. W. M. Warcup, of East Dereham, is Registrar of Marriages for the whole Union. The DISTRICTS and Registrars of Births and Deaths are - Litcham, Mr. P. Raven; Elmham, J. Goshawk; Bawdeswell, C. Baker; Mattishall, H. Daveney; Shipdham, J. R. Rivett; and East Dereham, W. M. Warcup.
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