[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.
Copyright © Pat Newby.