WESTACRE is an ancient village, lying in a secluded dell on the north side of the river Nar, 4½ miles N.W. by N. of Swaffham, comprehending in its parish 490 inhabitants, and 3,338 acres of land, mostly of a sandy soil, and all belonging to Anthony Hamond, Esq., the lord of the manor, impropriator, and patron of the CHURCH, (All Saints,) which is a curacy, now enjoyed by the Rev. Geo. Hanbury, of Swaffham, and valued at only £31 per annum.
Near the church are the ruins of the celebrated PRIORY, founded for monks of the Clugniac order, about the year 1200, by Ralph de Tony, who endowed it with his manor of Westacre. Edward IV. granted the monks an annual fair.
Wm. Wingfield, the last friar, with eight monks, surrendered the priory, at the general dissolution, to Henry VIII., and in return they received pensions for life, - the prior having £40 a year. The convent boasted that they had a piece of St. Andrew's finger, set in silver, which they had pawned for £40, but the King's visitors did not think it worth redemption at such a price. The priory revenues were estimated by Dugdale at £260 13s. 7d., and by Speed at £308 9s. 11d. per annum.
Part of the tower of the conventual church is still standing, and under an arch is represented the Virgin and Child treading on a dragon; and on each side of them stands a monk in the attitude of prayer. Above these is a profane representation of the Trinity, as depicted in the Roman breviaries.
WESTACRE HIGH HOUSE, the seat of Anthony Hamond, Esq., stands in a pleasant situation, nearly two miles north of the village, and is a handsome building in the Italian style. The park and pleasure grounds are adorned with plantations and shrubberies, and the venison of the former is highly esteemed.
Floyd William & Son shopkeepers Miller Wm. blacksmith Joyce Stephen farm-steward farmers. Mark Thomas Cronchey George Davy Garner John Sherringham Edward
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