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Norfolk: Binham

William White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk 1845

[Transcription copyright © Pat Newby]

BINHAM, 5 miles S.E. by E. of Wells, and 3 miles N.E. by E. of Walsingham, is a parish and large village, with 502 inhabitants, and 2,241A. 1R. 3P. of land, of which, Thomas Truesdale Clarke, Esq., is principal owner and lord of the manor, in which the copyholders are on the tenure called "Smockhold," noticed above [which is the entry for Barney]. Binham had a charter from Henry I., for a weekly market on Wednesday, and a fair on the Vigil of St. Mary and three following days; and the latter is still continued on July 26th.

This village is noted for the extensive ruins of its once splendid PRIORY, forming a highly interesting and picturesque object, in the vale of the river Stiffkey, and founded by Peter Lord Valoins, a nephew of the Norman Conqueror, and Albreda, his wife, for Benedictine monks, as a cell to the abbey of St. Albans, but subject only to the visitations of the abbot, and the yearly payment of a mark of silver. The priory was not finished till the beginning of the reign of Henry I., when Roger, the son of the founder, confirmed what his father had given, and was himself a considerable benefactor. Others of the same family contributed to support and augment the establishment, which was granted at the dissolution to Thomas Paston, Esq. In the reign of John, Robert Fitzwalter claimed the patronage of this priory, and besieged it, in order to reinstate Thomas the prior, who had been deposed by the Abbot of St. Albans; but he was frustrated in his design by the forces which the King had sent to oppose him. The ruins of the priory are still very considerable, but are gradually mouldering away.

Of the once spacious conventual CHURCH, only the nave, with the chief part of the grand western front, and fragments of the transepts, remain. Excepting the west façade, the whole is of the early Norman style of architecture, and most probably constituted part of the original structure. The nave is appropriated as the parish church. Its interior elevation shews three tiers of seven arches on each side; the two lowermost of which are semicircular, whilst those in the top row are partly of that shape, and partly pointed. The exterior of the western front is wholly in the pointed style, and is a beautiful specimen of the ecclesiastical architecture of the 14th century. In the lower part are displayed a grand central and two lateral doorways, with blank arcades between them. Over the former is a large centre window, which was originally ornamented with five upright columnar mullions, and three circular compartments of tracery mouldings. This, and the great north window, are now closed with bricks and plaster; and here is now only one bell, hanging in a spiral turret over the west front.

The benefice is a discharged vicarage, valued in the King's Book at £6 13s. 4d., and augmented with £800 of royal bounty, from 1767 to 1800, and £200 given by T.T. Clarke, Esq., the patron and impropriator, in the latter year. The £1,000 was laid out in the purchase of 36 acres of land, at Bodham. The Rev. Wm. Upjohn, A.M., of Field-Dalling, is the incumbent. In 1839, the rectorial tithes were commuted for £200, and the vicarial for £100 per annum.

A National School was established here by subscription, in 1815; and T.T. Clarke, Esq. supports a school, in which about 25 girls are educated and partly clothed.

At the east end of the village, is the lofty shaft of an ancient cross, where a market was formerly held, and where pilgrims counted their beads in their approach to the priory.

The Town Estate comprises a house occupied by paupers; the Chequers public house, and 16A. 3R. 26P. of land, mostly received at the enclosure, in exchange for land given by two maiden ladies. The public house and land are let for £41 5s. a year, which is applied in apprenticing poor children, and the distribution of 4 or 5 chaldrons of coals. The rent of 7A. 2R. 30P. of land, in Hindringham, left by Natl. Hooke, in 1693, and now let for £10 10s., is distributed in cloth for coats, and waistcoats, among poor married labourers. Twenty poor widows have £3 15s. yearly, as the rent of 3A. 2R. 23P. of land, left by Christopher Ringer, in 1678.

Marked * reside in Westgate.

	  Coe       Richard          butcher
	  Coker     Jas.             cattle dlr. & vict., Chequers
	  Davey     Matthew          bricklayer and vict. King's Arms
	  England   Richd., Esq.     chief constable
	  Evetts    Chas.            baker and confectioner
	  Flegg     Robert           baker
	* Frankling Mr. Saml.
	  Harmer    Robert           grocer and draper
	  Head      John             watchmaker and smith
	  Hooke     James            tailor and dentist
	  Hooke     Mrs.             schoolmistress
	  Mallet    James            blacksmith
	  Noughton  Zebulon          saddler
	* Peacock   Hy.              founder & machine mkr.
	  Peapes    George           bricklayer
	  Pegg      Miss E.
	  Pointer   James            butcher & shopkeeper
	  Sands     Thomas           grocer and draper
	  Sands     Hercules         tailor and draper
	* Williams  William          corn miller
	  Woodhouse William          cooper
	  Wright    William          butcher, &c.

	     Carpenters.

	  Barret    Benjamin
	  Cook      Francis
	  Fox       Samuel

	                    FARMERS.

	* Bird      Richard        * Jackson     John
	  Booty     Galloway       * Lawrence    Wm.
	  Dorr      Thomas B.      * Powell      Charles
	  Frankling Felix          * Reynolds    Wm.
	  Heyhoe    Martin           Riseborough Wm.
	  Holman    Richard

	     Shoemakers.

	* Ramm      J.
	  Timbers   William
	  Waller    James
	* Waller    John
	* Withers   Samuel           (& beer seller)

See also the Binham parish page.

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Copyright © Pat Newby.
December 2015