BLICKLING, a pleasant village and parish, 1½ mile N.N.W. of Aylsham, has 356 inhabitants, and 2081 acres of land, of which about 200 acres belong to the Earl of Orford, and nearly all the rest to the Dowager Lady Suffield, (the lady of the manor), who resides at BLICKLING HALL, a large quadrangular mansion of brick, with stone quoins, &c., in the Elizabethan style, with two open courts in the centre, turrets at the angles, and a large clock-tower over the entrance, seated in a beautiful park of about 800 acres, well stocked with deer, and extending into the adjacent parishes of Oulton and Itteringham.
Before the Norman Conquest, this manor was held by Harold, (for a short time King;) but at the Domesday survey, it was held in two moieties, one by the Crown, and the other by the Bishop of Thetford. Both were invested with the privileges of ancient demesne, and had a leet independent of the hundred, with view of frankpledge, gallows, tumbrell, or cucking stool, and free warren. The Conqueror settled the whole manor and advowson on the See; and after the foundation of Norwich cathedral, the bishops held the demesne in their own hands, and had here a palace or country seat, with a fine park adjoining.
In 1431, Blickling became the property of Sir Thomas Erpingham, who sold it to Sir John Fastolf, by whom it was sold, in 1452, to Sir Geoffrey Buleyne, who made it his country seat, and was lord mayor of London in 1457. -- From him it passed to Sir Thos. Boleyn, father of the unfortunate Anne Boleyn, and Viscount Rochford, who were both born here, and were beheaded under the merciless tyranny of the lascivious Henry VIII., the former being one of his martyred queens.
From the Boleyns, the manor passed to the Cleves (sic: should be Cleres), one of whom sold it to Henry Hobart, lord chief justice of the Common Pleas. His son, Sir John, rebuilt Blickling Hall, which he completed in 1620, when the domestic chapel was consecrated. One of his descendants, John Hobart, was created Earl of Buckinghamshire, in 1746. The second Earl rebuilt the west front in 1769, and made great improvements in the internal decorations of the hall. Charles II., with his queen, visited it in their progress through the county, in 1671.
On the death of the second Earl of Buckinghamshire, without male issue, in 1793, this estate passed to his second daughter, the present Dowager Lady Caroline Hans Suffield, relict of the late Wm. Asheton Harbord, Lord Suffield, who died in 1821, without issue.
The hall is nearly environed with large old trees, and "the moat, the bridges, the turrets, and the battlements, are all impressed with the ideas of antiquity." It contains many superb apartments, with richly decorated chimney-pieces, ceilings, wainscots, &c.; the whole expensively furnished, and some of them having valuable paintings. The entrance-hall, 42 feet by 33, and 33 feet in height, opens to the staircase, which is ornamented with various small figures, carved in wood, and has a gallery at the top, with statutes (sic) of Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth, in niches. Among the portraits in the principal apartments are full-lengths of George III., and his Queen, by Sir Joshua Reynolds; George II., on horseback; Judge Hobart, in his robes; and a variety of other distinguished individuals.
The library, (upwards of 10,000 volumes,) occupies a room 127 feet in length, by 21 feet in breadth, with a ceiling divided into compartments, containing figures emblematical of the five senses, the elements, the passions, and a variety of drolleries and oddities in relief.
The extensive park and gardens are ornamented by a fine lake, extending in a crescent shape, about one mile in length, and 400 yards in its greatest breadth, and skirted by verdant lawns and thickly wooded hills, rising in various forms from the pellucid water, over which the umbrageous foliage casts a shady but pleasant hue. The conduit and statues which formerly adorned the platform of Oxnead Hall, are preserved here.
About a mile away from the hall, is a stone Mausoleum, built in the form of a pyramid, upon a base of 45 feet, in which are deposited the remains of the late Earl of Buckinghamshire, and his two wives; but the remains of nineteen of his ancestors and relations are deposited in a vault, under the north aisle of the CHURCH, (St. Andrew,) which is a neat Gothic fabric, on an eminence near the hall. It contains many inscriptions to the former lords of the manor, with a few fine brasses, and a handsome monument in memory of the late Marquis of Lothian, who died here in 1841, and was the son of the elder sister of the Dowager Lady Suffield. His son, the present Marquis of Lothian, and heir to the Blickling estate, is only about 12 years of age. The chancel window was decorated with stained glass, about fourteen years ago.
The rectory, valued in the King's Book at £10.13s.4d., and in 1831 at £533, with that of Erpingham annexed to it, is in the gift of the Dowager Lady Suffield, and incumbency of her domestic chaplain, the Rev. John Custance, B.C.L. Her ladyship supports a school for poor children. The tithes were commuted in 1839.
Suffield Dowager Lady Hall Butler Miss Mary housekeeper Butler Richard shoemaker Copeman Fredk. corn & mert. Custance Rev. John, B.C.L. Rectory Harvey Wm. farm bailiff Hindry Edmund grocer Lambert John park keeper Mott John Thomas, Esq. Parlby Thomas house steward Robinson Wm. joiner, &c. Salmon John blacksmith Varder Mary schoolmistress Wells Robt. vict. Buckingham Arms FARMERS. Bloss Alfred Palmer Robert Pearson Phillis Raymes John Smith Thomas Sooby Wightman Ward John
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