[Transcription copyright © Pat Newby]
BROOKE, a large and well-built village, and one of the three detached parishes of Clavering hundred, is 7 miles S.S.E. of Norwich, is in Loddon union, Norwich county court district and bankruptcy district, Loddon and Clavering petty sessional division, Loddon polling district of South Norfolk, West Brooke rural deanery and Norfolk archdeaconry. It had 706 inhabitants in 1881, living on 2135 acres, and has a rateable value of £3449.
George Holmes, Esq., J.P., is lord of the manor, in which the fines are certain. He resides at Brooke Hall, an elegant stuccoed mansion, standing in an extensive and well-wooded park, erected in 1830 near the site of the Old Hall. Brooke House, another handsome residence, surrounded by a beautiful park, is the seat of Viscount Canterbury. Brooke Cottage is the property of George Gillett, Esq., and Miss Maria Knight owns and lives at Brooke Lodge.
William the Conqueror gave this manor to the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds; and one of the abbots, in the 10th of Edward I., obtained for it a market and a fair, but both have long been obsolete.
The CHURCH (St. Peter) appears to have been mostly built late in the eleventh or early in the twelfth century, and comprises nave, chancel, north aisle, clerestory, south porch, and round tower. It was thoroughly restored and refitted about 1860, at a cost of £1200, of which the greater part was contributed by the late Rev. John Holmes. The dark oaken roof, with its bosses, its Tudor string course, and its corbels representing angels bearing shields, is one of the finest specimens of open wood-work in the neighbourhood. The open benches, of English oak, have carved poppy heads, and are nearly all free. The pulpit, the reading-desk, and the front of the gallery, are also of carved oak.
The font is of the Florid Gothic style, and its sides are charged with carvings of the Seven Sacraments and the Crucifixion, over figures of the four Evangelists and four other saints under rich canopies. It was formerly elaborately gilt. In the chancel is a double piscina, and here is also one of the few hour-glass stands originally set up by command of Queen Elizabeth. The south door is of transitional character, having an Early English arch springing from late Norman capitals. The organ, which was much enlarged and improved in 1877, by Mack, of Yarmouth, was given by the Rev. William Castell, a late vicar, who also gave a house worth £10 a year to provide for its repairs.
Here are also tablets to the Castell, Fowler, Seaman, Burshill, and Cooper families. During the restorations several highly interesting frescoes were discovered upon the walls of the building, after the numerous coats of whitewash had been cleared off. Some of the subjects were of so singular a character that it was impossible to decipher their meaning; but the parable of the Prodigal Son was represented with great beauty and detail; and in an arcade beneath it were emblematical representations of four of the seven deadly sins of the Romish Church, the figures in the act of sinking into the jaws of hell.
The vicarage, valued in the King's Book at £5, and now at £270 gross, is in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor, and incumbency of the Rev. Henry Murray Downton, M.A., who has a good residence, enlarged in 1849, a yearly rent-charge of £240, awarded in 1842 in lieu of tithes, and 2A. 3R. 32P. of glebe. George Holmes, Esq., J.P., is impropriator of the tithes.
The Baptist Chapel was built in 1839. Brooke Village Club, Reading and News Room was established in 1881, and has 70 members. Mr. Herbert Leeder is hon. secretary. A National School, for the parishes of Brooke and Howe, was built here about 20 years ago.
The Fuel Allotment, 5A., was awarded at the enclosure in 1800, and is let for £14, which is distributed in coal amongst the poor, who have also the following yearly doles, viz. 20s. left by John Kerrison in 1756, 40s. left by John Fowle in 1786, and the interest of £20, derived from a house left by William Brereton, but sold by the overseers about 1832.
The Town Lands consist of 43A. 3R. 2P. in this parish, and Pever's Farm, 53A. 2R. in Kirstead. To the latter is attached the reputed manor of Pevers, now yielding only a quit rent of 8s. 2d. per annum. This property was vested in trustees before the reign of Henry VIII., for the payment of tenths, fifteenths, and other taxes, levied by the king on the parishioners of Brooke: but from 1692 till 1858 the rents were applied with the poor rates; and they are now, under the powers of a decree of the Court of Chancery, applied towards the maintenance of the National School - except £25 a year, which is awarded in lieu of church rates. Part of the original trust lands were exchanged for others in 1813.
The celebrated surgeon, Sir Astley Paston Cooper, Bart., was born at Brooke Hall on August 23, 1768, and was the fourth son of the Rev. Dr. Cooper, then curate of this parish. As a boy he was remarkable for his liveliness and good humour. In 1784 he was placed with Mr. Cline, to whose influence much of young Cooper's success must be attributed. In London he at once began to devote himself with earnestness to the aquisition of a thorough knowledge of his profession, and attended the lectures of the great John Hunter, the value of whose theories and experiments was then but little understood. In 1792 he was appointed professor of anatomy at Surgeon's Hall, and was re-appointed in 1794 and 1795. In 1800 he obtained the situation of surgeon to Guy's Hospital, and in 1813 became professor of comparative anatomy to the College of Surgeons.
In 1820 he was called in to attend on George IV., although he then held no official position at court. Shortly after this he removed a steatomatous tumour from the head of the king, who within six months afterwards conferred on him a baronetcy, with special remainder in default of male issue. In 1822 Sir Astley was elected one of the Court of Examiners of the College of Surgeons, and in the same year brought out his great work on 'Dislocations and Fractures.' He was afterwards elected President of the College of Surgeons, Vice-President of the Royal Society, a member of the Royal Institute of France, and of the Royal Academy of Sciences. He also received the honorary degrees of D.C.L. from the University of Oxford, and LL.D. from that of Edinburgh. He died February 12, 1841, and was interred, at his own request, beneath the chapel of Guy's Hospital. Sir Astley Cooper is a striking instance of what unceasing industry will accomplish. As a teacher, his kindness and the easy manner with which he communicated his knowledge placed him far above his contemporaries; and his influence on the surgery of the day was very great. His mother was a popular authoress, and published several novels and other literary works.
POST OFFICE at Mr. Richard F. Yallop's. Letters arrive at 5.30 a.m., and are despatched 5.15 p.m. viâ Norwich. This is also a Money Order and Savings Bank.
Beckett Samuel farm bailiff Bond Robert frmr. & dlr. & surveyor Blazey Walter Hy. grocer & beerhouse Brigham Mr John Brinn James head gardener Bullen Robert shoemaker Canterbury Viscount Brooke house and Witchingham hall; and 12 Queensbury place, South Kensington, London, S.W. Cole Mrs Maria Chittock Jabez farm steward Collingford George gamekeeper Cossey William grocer, draper, flour, hop and malt dealer Daines Chas. wheelwright & machinist Dickinson Fredk. thatcher & basket mkr. Downton Rev. Henry Murray, M.A. vicar, The Vicarage Dickinson James thatcher and glover Dunt William tailor Earl Charles brazier, &c. Everitt Geo. & Son (Jno. Geo.) saddlers Ferder James shoemaker Fryer Mrs. National schoolmistress Gillett Geo. M.R.C.S., surgeon, medical officer of L.S.A.(Eng.) health for Loddon and Clavering union, public vaccinator, and landowner Gooderson Arthur blacksmith and agricultural machinist Harber William shoemaker Harber William, jun. shoemaker Hawes Mr William Mear Side cottage Hill George Valentine butcher Holmes George, Esq. J.P. landowner, Brooke Hall Holmes John, Esq. J.P. Brooke Hall Hunting George Samuel veterinary surgeon, and agent for Liverpool, London, and Globe Insurance Cos. Hupton Ezra miller, farmer, and assistant tax collector Hupton Henry joiner, builder, bricklayer, and farmer Johnson Jonathan George plumber and glazier, Porch House Knight Misses Maria & Selina Betsy Brooke Lodge Leeder Herbert sec. to Reading Room Leeder Palmer farmer, Welbeck and Hall farm Marston Mrs Jane frmr. Welbeck frm Mickleburgh Edward fruit dealer Middleton Frederick blacksmith Minns Mrs Mary grocer Moore Mrs Ellen caretkr. Reading Room Moore James bricklayer and builder Nichols Miss Elizabeth Welbeck cot Nunn James farmer Parfitt Robert Thomas butcher Rose John head gardener Savage James National schoolmaster Smith Misses Mary Ann & Elizabeth Vine cottage Steward Charles plumber & painter, gasfitter, &c Tibbenham Richard farmer and Income Tax Chamberlin collector Utting John porkbutcher Wasey George vict. King's Head Inn, farmer, pig dealer, and horse and carriage proprietor Weston James farmer and surveyor Williams Misses Ann day & boarding schl. Rowland & Sarah High Green hs Yallop Richd. Fryer postmaster, parish clerk, assistant overseer, clerk to Kirstead School Board, agent for the Suffolk Alliance Insurance Co. farmer and landowner
See also the Brooke parish page.
Copyright © Pat Newby.