AYLSHAM, which gives name to a large Union and Police Division, is a neat and well-built market town, pleasantly seated on the southern acclivity of the vale of the Bure, nearly 12 miles N. by W. of Norwich; 10 miles S. by W. of Cromer; 7 miles W.S.W. of North Walsham; and 120 miles N.E. by N. of London.
At the Norman Conquest, the manor extended into Tuttington, and had 18 carucates, 20 villains, and 28 bordars with woods sufficient for the maintenance of 400 swine.
During the reigns of Edward II. and III., Aylsham was the chief town in this part of the kingdom, for the manufacture of linen, then called "Aylsham Webbs," "Cloth of Aylsham," &c.; but in succeeding reigns, this branch of business was superseded by the woollen manufacture; and in the time of James I., the inhabitants were chiefly employed in knitting worsted stockings, breeches, and waistcoat pieces. Since the introduction of frame-work knitting, the latter trade has also been discontinued.
The town was formerly governed by a bailiff, and had a weekly market on Saturday, but this has been changed to Tuesday. Two cattle fairs are held annually, on March 23rd, and the last Tuesday in September; and a Hiring Session, on the first Tuesday in October, with a small fair on the following Tuesday, chiefly supported by servants, who come hither to renew their apparel, &c.
The Bure, which washes the foot of the town, was formerly only navigable from Yarmouth to Coltishall, (11 miles below Aylsham bridge by the water, and 7 by land;) but in 1773, an act was obtained for extending the navigation to Aylsham, for boats of 14 tons burthen, drawing two feet five inches water, which was completed after many difficulties and interruptions, in Oct., 1779, at a cost of upwards of £6000, including the cost of the basin and wharfs near the bridge, where much business is done in coal, corn, timber, &c.
The PARISH OF AYLSHAM, including many scattered houses and villas, and the hamlets of Dunkirk and Drabblegate on the opposite side of the river, has encreased its population since the year 1801, from 1667 to 2448 souls, and comprises 4311A.2R.4P., of which 4102 acres are assessable, and 100A. woods and plantations. The soil is generally fertile, and most of it arable. The parish is in four MANORS, viz., "Aylsham on the part of the Duchy of Lancaster," held by the Dowager Lady Suffield; Aylsham Wood or Sextons, of which Robert Copeman, Esq., is lord; Aylsham Vicarage, of which the Vicar is lord; and Bolwick Hall, of which John Warnes, Esq., is lord. The three first are subject to certain fines, but the last is held by copy of court roll, of Aylsham Lancaster, and subject to arbitrary fines.
The CHURCH (St. Michael,) is a handsome Gothic structure, situated near the summit of an abrupt acclivity, on the north side of the Market place, commanding an extensive and picturesque view of the surrounding country. It has a nave, with side aisles, two transepts, a chancel, and a square tower, surmounted by a small spire, and containing a clock and an excellent peal of ten bells. Is is said to have been built by the great John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, whose duchy court was once held here.
It has a fine-toned organ, and has recently been thoroughly repaired and beautified. The large east window, and that on the south side of the altar, were filled with stained glass in 1842-'3, representing various saints, arms, &c. Several windows on the north and south sides were similarly decorated in 1844, and all the designs are admirably executed, by Mr. Yarington, of Norwich. The font has basso-relievos of the four emblems of the Evangelists, the instruments of the passion, and the arms of Gaunt. The north transept was called St. Peter's Chapel, and had a guild in 1490.
In the church and chancel are numerous monumental inscriptions, some inlaid with brass; among which is one to Richard Howard, who built the porch about the year 1480; and another to Thomas Wymer, who is represented in his winding-sheet, and caused the screens and roof to be beautifully painted with saints, martyrs, &c., in 1507. Here is a monument of Bishop Jeggon, who died in 1617; and in 1841, a neat monument was erected in memory of the late vicar, the Reverend Philip Hunt, L.L.D., who died in 1838. In the churchyard, enclosed with iron rails, and planted with roses, hearts'-ease, &c., is the grave of Humphrey Repton, the celebrated landscape gardener, who died in 1818.
The benefice is a vicarage, valued in the King's Book at £17.19s.7d., and endowed with the rectorial tithes of all that part of the parish on the N.E. side of the Bure, with a small manor on the opposite side of that river, where the great tithes, (now leased to the Rev. S. Pitman,) belong to the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, together with the advowson of the living, which is now enjoyed by the Rev. E.T. Yates, M.A., who has contributed largely to the recent improvements in the church, and has now a yearly rent of £582, awarded in lieu of tithes in 1838, when the rectorial tithes, held by Mr. Pitman, were commuted for £642 per annum.
The Baptists and the Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists have each a chapel here; that occupied by the first-named sect, was purchased from the Methodists, who built it in 1789, and erected a new chapel in 1842.
The Free School, near the churchyard, was founded in 1517, by Robt. Jannys, who endowed it with £10 a year, paid by the Norwich Charity Trustees, out of the revenue of the Great Hospital. This endowment was for seven free scholars, but the house and school were rebuilt by a former master, Clement Overton; and the latter was enlarged by subscription, in 1814, and is now conducted on the National system, for 60 boys and 60 girls. In addition to the small weekly payments of the children, the master has the annuity of £10, and a yearly salary raised by voluntary subscription. Archbishop Parker founded two scholarships in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, for boys from this and Wymondham school, "each to have 12d. a week for their commons; their chamberer, barber, larderer, and other necessaries free." An Infant School, built here in 1840, is attended by about 80 children.
The Savings' Bank, established in 1818, has deposits amounting to about £16,500, belonging to 540 individuals, and 25 Friendly and Charitable Societies. Mr. Jas. Harrod is the actuary, and the bank is open every Monday from 12 to 1 o'clock.
The meetings of the South Erpingham Associations, for the prosecution of felons, and the encouragement of industry and good conduct among servants and labourers, are held at Aylsham. Mr. James Harrod is secretary to the former, and the Rev. J. Bulwer to the latter. The Aylsham Choral Society, established in 1840, for the study and practice of sacred music, holds its meetings at the Concert Room, in Red Lion street. At the Black Boy's Inn, is a large Assembly Room.
The Aylsham Medical Club, established in 1839, for this and the neighbouring parishes, has now about 300 subscribing members, who, for very small quarterly payments, are provided by this valuable institution with medical and surgical assistance for themselves and families. Additional nourishment is also afforded when necessary, and the number of persons now entitled to medical assistance is upwards of 600. The Rev. E.T. Yates is treasurer, and Mr. George Roe secretary.
A Branch Flax Association has recently been established here, and the labourers of the parish are considerably benefitted by two large pieces of land, let to them in garden plots, at low rents, by W. Repton and R. Copeman, Esqrs. Half an acre, called the Town Meadow, belongs to the poor, and is let for 16s. a year. They also have several cottages, given by Simon Porter, in 1730; the lord of the manor, in 1738; and Edward Snelling, in 1737; and 10s.6d. yearly, called Bread Money, paid by R. Marsham, Esq.
In the reign of James I., Thos. Cossey left two houses and 2A. of land, in Millgate street, for the poor. These premises, with additional buildings, were converted into a Workhouse many years ago, and were used for that purpose till 1836, when Aylsham and 45 other parishes were formed into a Union. The Bridewell, built here by Robert Marsham, Esq., in 1543, and rebuilt in 1787, was converted into private dwellings in 1825.
Aylsham was once noted for its SPA, which is situated about half a mile south of the town, and now belongs to Mr. E. Elvin. This chalybeate spring, though now but little used, was formerly much resorted to by invalids afflicted with asthma and other chronic diseases.
Messrs. James Bulwer, Robert Copeman, Thomas Rackham, William Repton, and some others have neat houses in the town, and are owners of a large portion of the parish, in which are Bolwick Hall, 1½ mile S.W., the seat of John Warnes, Esq.; Coldham Hall, 1½ mile N.N.E., the property of Mr. Geo. De Hague; Aylsham Wood House, 1 mile N. by E. the residence of Mr. J.W. Clover; and Bushy Place, on the Cromer road, the seat of Mr. Thos. Cook; besides which, there are several other neat residences in the parish, two of them belonging to Messrs. Geo. and H.E. Soame.
In 1805, an earthern pot, containing 500 pieces of ancient silver coin, chiefly groats of Henry VII., and pennies of the Edwards, were ploughed up in a field near Aylsham. On Stow Heath, about two miles to the east, are several large tumuli or barrows, in which two urns, containing human bones and ashes, were found in 1808.
In the following DIRECTORY OF AYLSHAM, those marked 1, reside in Churchgate or Church hill; 2, Hungate; 3, Market place; 4, Millgate; 5, Norwich road; 6, Pinfold street; 7, Red Lion street; 8, White Hart street; 9, Workhouse street; 10, Cawston road; 11, Cromer road; 12, Aylsham Wood; 13, Blickling road; and 14, Burgh road.
The POST-OFFICE is at Miss Mary Nobbs', in Hungate, where letters arrive at half-past 8 morning, and are despatched at 5 afternoon, by Norwich and Cromer mail.
2 Barnes Mr Jas. 10 Bond Rt. gent 2 Beckham Benj. net maker, &c Bowers Mrs Virtue Town lane; Briscoe Rev. John P. (Bapt. min.) 11 Brown Misses Martha and Mary Bulwer Rev Jas., M.A. Norwich rd 3 Butler Mr Jno. 8 Coleby Mrs M. 4 Case James Lee bookkeeper 3 Clements Charles bookseller, stationer, stamp seller, news agent, &c 3 Clements Charles, jun. printer and bookbinder Cook Thomas, gent. Bushy Place 3 Copeman Rt.& Geo. Esqs. bankers, (draw on Hankey & Co.) Copeman corn, oil-cake, &c. merchants, and Soame Canal Basin 14 Curtis Mrs A. 14 Davy John 8 Elvin Mrs Sarah 4 Freeman John stone mason Gotterson Mr P. 8 Gunton George gentleman 5 Harrod James bank clerk, &c 14 Hatcher Mr Charles 1 Holley Mrs Sarah and Mrs Ann Lubbock Mrs Eliz. Church terrace 9 Mayston Mrs Mary 9 Mileham Wm. artist 11 Mutten Richd. coach maker, &c 2 Nobbs Miss Mary postmistress Palmer Mrs Jane Burgh road 11 Parmenter Rt. Wm. Esq. solictor, and clerk of the peace for Norfolk 1 Platten Edward Suffolk brazier, Temperance Coffee House Porrett Thomas gent. Cromer road 7 Purdy James fishmonger 4 Purt Wm. horsebreaker Rackham Thomas gent. (chief constable,) Cromer road 3 Rainforth John clog & pattern mkr 3 Repton and Scott solicitors 3 Repton Wm. solicitor, and clerk to the Navigation proprietors Robins Wm. gent. Market place 6 Roe Frederick magistrates' clerk 7 Roe George solicitor's clerk 6 Saunders Mrs Emily 11 Sayer Mrs Wm. 11 Scott Wm. Henry solicitor 8 Seaman Sophia (see note below) 6 Sexton John 8 Short Miss Sarah (see note below) 2 Smith Thomas cattle dealer 13 Stoughton Miss Diana Tattam Mr Richard Red Lion st 9 Waller Mr John Clear 9 Warren Thomas tea dealer Warnes John, Esq. land agent, &c. Bolwick Hall 8 White George parish clerk Wickes Mrs Susan Millgate 10 Winterborn James millwright Wright George assistant overseer 4 Wright James land surveyor, agent, and valuer 4 Wright Rt. & Thos. boat builders Yates Rev Edmd. Telfer,M.A. vicar Youngs Mrs Elizabeth Millgate(Note: In the original, the entry is:
FIRE AND LIFE OFFICES.
3 Clerical, Medical, & General Life and Equitable Fire Thos. Connold Hail Storm John Clover Norwich Union James Harrod and Robert HubbardINNS AND TAVERNS.
Anchor Wm. Mash Millgate Black Boys' Inn James Spanton (posting house) Market place 7 Bull Dick Feek (horsebreaker) 7 Cross Keys Lucy Ulph Dog Inn & Excise Office Richard Smith (posting) Norwich road Fox Robert Herring Pinfold street New Inn Allen Pye Red Lion st 7 Red Lion Inn John Chapman Star George Clarke Red Lion st 2 Unicorn Peter Pike (horse letter)Academies.
8 Buchanan - 7 Breese H. & E. 14 Burke Jane Hindry Jas. (free) Horstead Jane Infant School 7 Morris Mary 2 Tillett Sarah 2 Woods Sarah 7 Wright Wm.Bakers and Confectioners.
6 Abbs Wm. 7 Barnes Fiddy 3 Clover John 4 Cory Thomas 7 Laxen Richd. 8 Soame John 2 Sexton Joseph 10 Turner Saml. 4 Wiley GeorgeBasket Makers.
7 Canfor Ellis 4 Starling Wm. 4 Watson JamesBeer Houses.
2 Dadley James 4 Freeman John 4 Hagen Robert 10 King George Lovell Thomas Dunkirk 8 Pearson Everett 8 Poll Henry (& brewer) 7 Temple JohnBlacksmiths.
7 Burton John 10 Butler Wm. 7 Pike Wm. & Son 11 Tattam George EdwardBoot and Shoe Mkrs.
2 Barnes Mrs 2 Barney James 3 Burrell Wm. 9 Burton Stephen 7 Carman Thos. 10 Culley John 3 Ford Thomas 10 Foxhall Thos. 2 George Philip 8 Goodson Wm. Johnson - 7 Mack Edward Mayston Samuel Town Lane 8 Ostick Robert 1 Payne James 7 Rust Wm. 4 Scott John 3 Thirtle Robert 4 Wilson JohnBricklayers.
10 Bird Stephen 10 Crask & Co. 2 Culley Benj. 2 Horstead JohnBrickmakers.
10 Soame James 5 Warnes JohnButchers.
7 Chapman John 7 Clark James 2 Sands John 7 Sands James 7 Smith James 7 Temple JohnChemsts. & Drgts
7 Bane Wm. 3 Symonds JohnCoal Dealers.
At Canal Basin. Copeman & Soame Howes Matthew Dunkirk 7 Margetson Rt. junior 11 Mayston John 2 Sexton JosephCoopers.
8 Parker John 2 Smith JamesCorn Millers.
4 Parmeter Saml. (and maltster) 10 Soame George 10 Tipple JohnCurriers.
6 Clark John 7 Cooper Wm. (& shoe warehouse) 2 Evans DavidFARMERS.
* are Yeomen. 13 Batson Potter Dyball Blyth Wm. Boddy Geo. Spa 2 Clark Richard Colk John Coldham Hall *Clover John Wright Wood House 12 Frostick Danl. 12 Frostick John Goodwin Fras. 10 Lake Wm. 4 Mash Wm. Robins William Burton 10*Soame Geo. 10*Soame Henry Edward 5 Smith Richard Tipple George Tipple Wm. *Warnes JohnGardeners, &c.
4 Fitt James 7 Fitt Edward 2 Randell Wm. 9 Stearman Jas. 10 Stearman Jas. junior Thaxter John 2 Ward GeorgeGlass, China, &c. Dealers.
7 Edwards John 8 Jarvis Robert 3 Skidmore Arthur WellingtonGrocers & Drprs.
7 Cooper Wm. 7 Elden Eliz. 7 England Mary 3 Hatcher Saml. 3 Hubbard Robt. 8 Jarvis Robert 3 Powell Benj. 4 Priest Chas. Rt. 4 Wilson Mattw.Hair Dressers.
3 Joslin Charles Warner 7 Dale Wm. & Rt. 3 Smithson Zeph.Ironmongers, Braziers, &c.
2 Cook William Barnard 3 Skidmore Arthur WellingtonJoiners, &c.
* Cabinet Makers also. 4 Bartram Wm. 1*Bowers Rt. (& turner & gilder) 3*Burrell Geo. (& auctioneer) 6 Glister Thomas 6*Grimson John 2 Proudfoot John 11 Tomlin John 9 Watts GeorgeMilliners, &c.
3 Ayton Harriet 8 Broughton E. 8 Clark Miss 3 Hatcher Jane 7 Sutton HarrietPainters, Plumbers, & Glaziers.
8 Elvin Robert 7 Pert Wm. 7 Pratt RobertSaddlers.
3 Butler John Marsh 7 Frankland Jas. 7 Hounsfield Ed. 3 Laxen Henry 7 Lemon Benj. (& organist)Surgeons.
1 Morton Rd. Kay 2 Perry Chas. Hy. 3 Smith Frederick PastonTailors.
7 Breese James 3 Burrell Wm. Duffield James Drabblegate 3 Flaxman John 7 Frary John 7 Haddon James 3 Powell John 8 Powell Stephn. 8 Stearman Fdk. 7 Sutton John 7 Ulph RichardTimber Merchts.
4 Bartram Wm. 3 Burrell George 2 Calver Thos. 9 Watts GeorgeVety. Surgeons.
6 Howes Robert 10 Howes Jph. 5 Smith Rd. (& horse dealer)Watchmakers, &c.
3 Connold Thos. 7 Fitt John 3 Mack James 8 Silence George 3 Wade Chs RiceWheelwrights.
1 Bowers Robert 10 Craft Henry 6 Glister Thos. 8 Ulph JohnCOACHES
From the Black Boys, to CROMER, ½ past 10 morning, and ½ past 7 evening; and to NORWICH, 9 morning, and ½ p.3 afternoon, daily.
From the Dog, to NORWICH, M. Wed. and Sat. ¼ before 9 morning, and to HOLT, 5 afternoon.
From the Red Lion, to NORWICH, Mon. Wed. and Sat. ½ past 8 morning, and a Van, every Mon. Tues. Thurs. and Sat. at 8 morning.
From Holt, Cromer, &c. to Norwich, call at the Inns on Mon. Wed. and Sat.
To Norwich, from Red Lion st. John Chapman & Jas. Purdy, Wed. and Sat. and Rt. Margetson, Mon. Wed. and Sat. 8 morning.
To Holt & Blakeney, Jas. Purdy, Monday, and to North Walsham, Tuesday.
To Yarmouth weekly, from the Canal Basin, Copeman and Soame, and Samuel Parmeter, owners.
See also the Aylsham parish page.
Copyright © Pat Newby.