[Transcription copyright © Pat Newby]
COSTESSEY, or Cossey, is a large village, 1½ mile in length, pleasantly situated in the vale of the Wensum, 4 miles N.W. by W. of Norwich. Its parish contains 1074 inhabitants, and 2648 acres of land, exclusive of a common of 270A. Lord Stafford owns the greater part of the soil, and is lord of the manor, (fines arbitrary,) which extends into several other parishes.
His Lordship resides at his ancient family mansion - COSTESSEY HALL, delightfully seated in a beautiful and well-wooded park of 900 acres, crossed by a rivulet, and bounded on the north by the winding stream of the Wensum, and on the south by the road from Norwich to East Dereham. The park contains some of the finest forest trees in the county, and the vicinity is much celebrated for its diversified features of hill and dale.
The hall is an extensive pile, forming three sides of a quadrangle. The projecting wings terminate in zig-zag gables, crowned with square pinnacles. The mansion was erected by Sir Henry Jerningham, Kt., in the reign of Elizabeth, but was partly rebuilt and much enlarged about ten years ago, and improvements are still in progress. It is of brick, in the plain Tudor style, with battlements and square windows, and has several large and convenient apartments, with many fine paintings, one of which is a portrait of Queen Mary, by Holbein; another represents Thomas Earl of Arundel and his Countess Alethea, seated under a canopy, with all their children around them, designed by Vandyck, but finished by Philip Frutiers, of Antwerp, in 1640.
Contiguous to the hall is the family Catholic Chapel, a handsome edifice in the pointed Gothic style, erected from a design by the late Edward Jerningham, Esq., and measuring 90 feet long, 25 wide, and 20 high. It has 20 noble windows, filled with stained glass, collected from various monasteries on the continent.
The manor was given by the Norman Conqueror, to Alan Earl of Richmond. After passing through various families, it was granted by Queen Mary to her vice-chamberlain, Sir Henry Jernegan, or Jerningham, who founded the hall, which has ever since been the seat of his family, which was distinguished even before the conquest, for we find that one of them obtained several manors in Norfolk, from Canute, as a reward for the services which he had rendered to Sweyne, King of Denmark, when he invaded England.
Henry Jerningham, Esq., was created a baronet in 1621. His descendant, the late Sir George Jerningham, was heir-general of the bodies of Sir Wm. Howard, and Mary Stafford, his wife, - Baron and Baronness Stafford. Sir Wm. Howard was created Baron Stafford, after espousing the heiress of the Stafford family, in 1640; but being iniquitously attainted as a conspirator in the supposed Popish plot, he was beheaded in 1678, when all his honours were forfeited. By the reversal of this unjust attainder in 1824 Sir Geo. Jerningham succeeded to the title of Baron Stafford; but both he and his son and successor, Geo. Wm. Stafford Jerningham, the present Baron Stafford, were for several years greatly annoyed by Mr. Richard Stafford Cooke, who claimed to be heir of the barony, and instituted expensive law-suits, which ended in his disgrace, though he had gone so far as to take a sort of formal possession of the baronial estates in Staffordshire and Shropshire, where Lord Stafford has a seat at Shiffnall, and a castle at Stafford, the latter of which has been partly rebuilt since 1810.
The parish CHURCH (St. Edmund,) is a large structure, with a square tower, surmounted by a wooden spire. It had formerly three guilds, and has a florid Gothic screen between the nave and chancel. The rectorial tithes,&c., belong to the Great Hospital in Norwich (see page 134 [which is the entry for The Great Hospital, in the Charities of Norwich section],) together with the patronage of the perpetual curacy, which is certified at £40, and now enjoyed by the Rev. Thos. Watson, with 51A. of glebe.
In the village is a Baptist Chapel, and also a handsome Catholic Chapel. The latter is dedicated to St. Walstan, and was finished in 1841. Attached to it is a large burial ground.
The Catholic School here, built in 1820, is conducted in the Lancasterian system, and solely supported by Lord Stafford, for the education of 120 children, but those belonging to Protestant parents are not taught the Roman Catholic Catechism. Here is also a National School and a British School, each attended by about 80 children.
The poor parishioners have £2. 2s. a year from 1A. 1R. of land, given by an unknown donor, and a yearly rent-charge of 30s., left by John Hyrne, out of a meadow now belonging to Mr. Matthews. Lord Stafford, though a Roman Catholic, is extremely benevolent to the poor of all denominations, and allows them to gather fuel in his extensive plantations, on certain days in the year.
There is a Lodge of Odd Fellows at the Falcon Inn.
Lord Stafford, and the Hon. Henry Valentine Stafford Jerningham, Costessey Hall
Armes Philip & My. National schl Arthurton Jas. shopr. & land agent Banham James well sinker, &c Banham William butcher Barrett Samuel police officer Bealey Thomas shopr. & wheelgt Blowers John land agt. to Ld. Staf. Bond John gent Brown John blacksmith Cannell Jacob butcher & vict. Swan Carr Thomas veterinary surgeon Clarke John vict. White Hart Cole William gardener Cook John tailor Culley John, Esq Culley Hy. Utting corn miller, &c Curl T. fireman Cushion William shoemaker Dye Pp. postman Elwes Rev - chaplain to Ld. Staf Fairman Benjamin basket mkr. &c Frost William bricklayer Gaches Raymond surgeon Galley John beerhouse, Red Lion Grant Joseph glass stainer Gunton George brickmaker Hastings Edward, Wm., & James joiners, &c Hudson James vict. Falcon Inn Husenbeth Rev Fdk. Chas. (Cath.) Ivory John schoolr. & Baptist min Kidd Thomas bricklayer Laws Mark shoemaker Laws Robert tailor; [see note below] Laws Mr Jas. [see note below] Linall Thomas carver at the Hall Miller John brewer, &c. White Swan Money Elden lime burner Rogers Wm. maltster and joiner Roulston Thomas Catholic schoolmaster, and registrar of marriages Sadler John shoemkr. Temp. Hotel Savage John saddler, &c Sidney Mr John [see note below] Sidney Rt. C. shopr. &c [see note below] Spaul John tailor, Post-office Spaul John blacksmith & shopkpr Taylor John watchmkr. & vict. Bush Watcham Charles lime burner Watson Rev Thos. incbt. Cattage [sic] White Richard woodman FARMERS. Banham William Lovett Hy. Barker Robt Martin Edmund Culley John Salter Wm. P. Frost Philip Taylor Wm. Harman John & Hy. Watcham Robert
POST-OFFICE at J. Spaul's. Letters daily from Norwich.
CARRIER to Norwich, William Neville, Monday, Wed., and Sat.
See also the Costessey parish page.
Copyright © Pat Newby.