BRANCASTER, 4½ miles W.N.W. of Burnham Market, is a large scattered village, with a Staith or Quay, about a mile E. of the church, where the tide rises 9 feet in a commodious creek which crosses the salt marshes to that part of the ocean called Brancaster Bay. It is in Docking union, and polling district of West Norfolk, Fakenham county court district, Norwich bankruptcy district, Smithdon and Brothercross petty sessional division, Heacham rural deanery, Norfolk archdeaconry, and Smithdon hundred. The rateable value is £4772 4s. 6d. The population increased from 563 in 1801 to 1079 in 1851, and decreased to 1002 in 1861, and 770 in 1881, and the parish contains 3669 acres of land, including 1207 acres of salt marsh, and about 80 acres of common. In the salt marsh there have been dug up, near the beach, oak and chestnut trees, and the antlers of deer.
Here is a lifeboat, first launched July 25, 1874, the gift of Miss Lily Bird, after whom it is named. Here is a coast-guard station, consisting of 1 chief officer, 1 chief boatman, and 4 men.
Brancaster was probably the Roman station Branodunum, which was garrisoned with the Dalmatian cavalry, under a general who was designated Count of the Saxon Shore. The castle and entrenchment occupied a square area of about 6 acres of ground above the marsh, where part of the ditch is still visible, with many stones on the north side; but all the other walls and foundation stones were cleared away many years ago. Numerous urns, coins, &c. have been found here, and knives and styles with handles exquisitely wrought, about the size of clasp knives, have also been discovered. One of the coins was inscribed 'Ianus Bifrons,' and another, 'Ti. Claudius Caes. Avg.' A Roman road, afterwards called the Jew's Way, passed from Brancaster along the coast, to the other great Roman station at Caister-next-Yarmouth.
Simms Reeve, Esq., J.P. recorder of Yarmouth, lord of the manor, and chief owner of the soil, resides at the Hall, a handsome brick mansion, standing on an eminence commanding a fine view of the ocean. Mr. George Philcox, of Lynn, Captain J. E. Groom, of Great Walsingham, Miss A. S. Reeve, of Burnham Market, and some smaller owners, have estates here.
The CHURCH, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, consists of nave with aisles and clerestory, south porch, chancel, and lofty square tower with one bell. It contains several tablets of the Terry and Foley families. The Registers date from 1538 (the year in which registers were first introduced), and are in good condition. The communion plate is of great antiquity, the paten dates from 1520, the cup from 1567, and the salver was the gift of the after-mentioned Rev. Francis Bell, in the year 1700. In the floor of the chancel are brasses in memory of the Rev. William Cotyng [sic], ob. 1480, and Rev. James Hobbys, ob. 1519, former rectors of the parish. In the floor of the nave are brasses in memory of the charitable Robert Smith, ob. 1596, with a curious inscription, and William Taylor, ob. 1641.
The rectory, valued in the King's Book at £24, is in the patronage and incumbency of the Rev. Charles George Robert Birch, LL.M, who has 7A. of glebe, a spacious residence, and a yearly tithe rent-charge of £824.
Here is an Almshouse for 4 poor parishioners, and also a Free School for the poor children of Brancaster, Titchwell, Thornham, and Burnham Deepdale: both founded in 1596 by Robert Smith, who endowed them with land, now consisting of 71 acres (as set out under the enclosure Act in 1775), let for £94 per annum, and applied for this purpose. Twenty-four boys - 12 boys from Brancaster, and 4 from each of the other 3 parishes, are free scholars. Pursuant to the founder's will, the four alms-people have each 20s. and a ton of coals annually. In 1878 the Charity Commissioners appointed the following as trustees for the management of this charity - the lords of the manors of Brancaster and Hunstanton, the rectors of Brancaster and Burnham Deepdale, and the two churchwardens of Brancaster. A new and handsome Gothic schoolroom was erected, and the master's house repaired, in 1862, at a cost of £800. Besides the 24 free boys, there are about 30 other scholars.
In 1651 Francis Brampton left a yearly rent-charge of 40s. on land belonging to the rector, who gives weekly 1s. worth of bread to the poor parishioners. In 1716 the Rev. Francis Bell left £50 to be laid out in land - the rents thereof to be applied in repairing his tomb, and in distribution to the poorest people of Brancaster, not receiving parochial relief. The land purchased with this legacy is 10A., at Ringstead, let for £18 a year, which is applied in charitable purposes.
The Girls' and Infant School, which is held in a neat building erected in 1861, at a cost of £450, is attended by 67 children, and is supported by school pence, Government grant, and subscriptions.
Here is a small Wesleyan Chapel, built in 1851, and a Primitive Methodist Chapel was erected in 1864, at a cost of £133, and will seat 120 people. There is also a Primitive Methodist Chapel at the Staith, which was erected in 1865, at a cost of £187, to hold 150 people.
POST, MONEY ORDER, TELEGRAPH OFFICE, and SAVINGS BANK at Mr. George Bennell's. Letters arrive at 8.10 a.m., and despatched at 4.20 p.m., via Lynn.
Annas Parlet fisherman, Staith Barmston William Stephen farmer Bennell George bootmaker, postmaster, and parish clerk Bennett Mrs Harriet Staith Bennett James blacksmith, Staith Billing Miss Elizbth. dressmkr. Staith Billing Frank plumber & pntr. Staith Billing Robt. farmer & carter, Staith Billing Mrs Susannah dressmkr. Staith Billing William mail contractor and pony and car letter Birch Rev. Charles George Robert, L.L.M. rector Blackburn Benjamin farmer Blackburn Charles farmer, Staith Bocking Mr Thomas Brown Mr John Staith Bul Robert carter Bunckle Hy. beerhs. & rabbit dlr. Staith Bunting Mrs Mary pork butcher Burgess - baker Butcher Isaac police constable Chastney Samuel fisherman, Staith Dix James Joseph fisherman, Staith Everett Jas. Chapman fisherman, Staith Fiddaman John B. grocer, draper, and farmer Fiddaman Matthew farmer & assistant overseer Godfrey Joseph farmer Goshawk Mrs Jane grocer and beerhs Green Francis shopkeeper Groom Wm. foreman carpenter, Staith Hales William George chief boatman of coast guard, Staith Heugh Thomas blacksmith, Staith Jarvis Henry victualler, Ship Inn Jickling George fisherman, Staith Lane Thomas fisherman, Staith Large Charles cart owner Loose Henry fisherman, Staith Loose Robert fisherman, Staith Loose William fisherman, Staith Lumsden George chief officer of coast guard, Staith McCreedy Alexander grocer, Staith Messer Reuben endowed schoolmaster Mussett Henry coal merchant, Staith Neale Alfred victualler, Life Boat Neal Charles carter, Staith Neale Dennis baker and farmer Oake Thomas Oake Thomas, jun. Petchey Edward Fox carpenter and wheelwright Philcox Misses Mary Ann & Adelaide Manor house Pickerell John carter Pitcher Edward butcher Pitcher Mrs Elizabeth farmer Pointer Charles farm bailiff Pooley Mrs H. vict. Jolly Sailor, Staith Powditch Thomas tailor, Staith Powell Charles (C. & Son) Powell Charles & Son blacksmiths, agricultural machine makers, iron and brassfounders Powell Joseph (Charles & Son) Ralph John shopkeeper, Staith Raven Robert fisherman, Staith Reeve Simms, Esq., J.P. barrister-at-law, and recorder of Yarmouth, Norwich, The Hall Robson Albert corn merchant, Staith Robson Thos. baker, corn miller & frmr Rodwell Mrs Mary A. frmr. Staith hs Roy Mrs Fanny Staith Sharpe Mr Samuel Skipper Mrs Alice Skipper Miss Caroline laundress Skipper Henry fisherman, Staith Skipper Robert fisherman Southerland George fisherman, Staith Southerland Isaac gardener, Staith Southerland Mrs S. dressmaker, Staith Stroulger Mrs Elizabeth shopkeeper, Staith Thompson Christopher Thos. grocer, draper, beer retailer, and farmer Thompson Edward fisherman, Staith Ulph Mrs Mary Staith Walden Thomas farm bailiff to S. Reeve Esq. Wilkin George farmer Winterbone Isaac victualler, White Horse; and fisherman, Staith Winterbone William coal dlr. Staith Woodbine Charles bootmaker, Staith Woodgelt George carter, Staith York Miss Anne Eliza schoolmistress
'Clock Close,' comprising about 1 acre, has recently been consecrated as a burial-ground.
Copyright © Pat Newby.