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Norfolk: Great Bircham

William White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk 1883

[Transcription copyright © Ian Wegg]

BIRCHAM (GREAT) a village and parish, on the Burnham road, 14 miles N.E. of Lynn, is in Docking union, Fakenham county court district, Norwich bankruptcy district, Smithdon hundred, Smithdon and Brothercross petty sessional division, Docking polling district of West Norfolk, Heacham rural deanery and Norwich archdeaconry. It has a rateable value of £2445, and had 460 inhabitants in 1881, living on 3606 acres. Part of the parish is sheep walk, and 476A, are in woods and plantations. The Marquis of Cholmondeley is owner of the soil and lord of the manor.

The CHURCH (St. Mary) is a handsome structure in the Perpendicular style, comprising a nave with aisles and chancel, a large north porch, and a square tower at the west end of the south aisle, containing five bells and surmounted by a small wooden spire. The nave is of four bays, and the arches opening to the aisles are finely pointed and rest on quatrefoil columns. The rood screen and staircase still exist, and in the chancel are remains of the sedilia and a piscina. There is another piscina in the south aisle, and a holy water stoup in the porch. The doorway leading from the south aisle to the tower is a fine specimen of the transitional Norman style.

The church bells were rehung and one recast in 1879, at a cost of about £300, and in 1882 an organ was purchased by subscription at a cost of £110 and placed in the east end of the north aisle. The altar table bears the date 1640. On the floor of the nave were two ancient brasses, one of which represents a priest in his robes, and in the west window are two pieces of ancient stained glass. The brasses had to be removed when the heating apparatus, by Messrs. Jones and Co., London, was fixed. The Registers date from l668, and are in good preservation.

The rectory valued in K.B. at £22, has about 70 acres of glebe, and a yearly tithe rent-charge of £585, is in the patronage and incumbency of the Rev. John Bloomfield Winckworth, B.A., who is non-resident. The Rev. Clement B. Sneyd is the curate in charge and resides at the rectory house. In 1740, an Act of Parliament was passed for confirming and establishing an exchange between the lord of the manor and the rector, and for enclosing the commons.

A Primitive Methodist Chapel was erected in 1872, at a cost of £437, with 200 sittings.

The School, for the children of the three Birchham parishes, was built in 1842, by the late Marquis of Cholmondeley, who also erected an Infants' School in 1857. Both the schools were enlarged in 187l, by the present Marquis, who principally supports the school and partly clothes the scholars. The attendance is 120 boys and girls, and 54 infants.

POST OFFICE at Mrs. Jemima Bales's. Letters arrive at 6.40 a.m., and are despatched to Lynn at 5.55 p.m. Docking is the nearest Money Order and Telegraph Office and Railway Station.

	Bales      Mrs Jemima      postmistress
	Bell       George          cartowner and carrier
	Bell       Mrs Jane        shopkeeper
	Bowman     Mrs Elizabeth   shopkeeper
	Bradfield  Charles         (B. & Son)
	Bradfield  Joseph          (B. & Son)
	  & Son                    crpntrs. & whlwrights
	Cutter     Alfred John     frmr. Town farm
	Cutter     John            farmer, Heath house
	Cutter     J. T.           (Kitton & C.) Church farm
	Gooderson  Frederick       vict. King's Head, and farmer
	Groome     George          blacksmith
	Groome     Miss Lucy       mlnr. &, dressmkr
	Hopking    Wm. Clement     farmer, auctioneer and valuer, Moore farm
	Ives       Edward          managing brickmaker
	Jarvis     Mrs Sarah       dressmaker
	Kitton &
	  Cutter                   farmers, Church farm
	Kitton     Mrs Ellen Jane  (K. & Cutter), Church farm
	Kitton     Robert          grocer and draper and (h) Rudham
	Layland    Mrs Harriet     infant schlmstrs
	Layland    John            schoolmaster
	Layland    William Thomas  carpenter, builder and wheelwright
	Lown       Charles         bootmaker
	Mace       Thomas          blacksmith
	Pollard    Wm.             grcr. drpr. & hardware dlr
	Sheldrake  John            bootmaker
	Sneyd      Rev. Clement
	             Broughton     curate in charge, The Rectory
	Wadlough   Samuel          coal dealer
	Wagg       Jph.            corn miller; h Docking
CARRIER. -- Geo. Bell to Lynn, Tues
For 'Norwich' archdeaconry, read 'Norfolk.' In Directory insert: Beeston John Dunn, grocer, draper, assistant overseer, and agent for the Imperial Fire & Life, & Norwich & London Accident Offices. (Removed from Harpley)
See also the Great Bircham parish page.

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Copyright © Pat Newby.
December 1998