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Norfolk: West Dereham

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

[Transcription copyright © Pat Newby]

DEREHAM (WEST) parish has a scattered village, 4 miles S.E. by E. of Downham, and is in Downham union and county court district, Lynn bankruptcy district, Clackclose petty sessional division and hundred, Downham polling district of West Norfolk, Fincham rural deanery, and Norfolk archdeaconry. It had 560 inhabitants in 1881, living on 3440 acres, and has a rateable value of £4832. Edward R.M. Pratt, Esq., and T.L. Reed, Esq., are lords of the manor, but Hugh Aylmer, Esq., and Sir Alfred Bagge, are the chief owners of the soil.

The manor was once celebrated for its splendid Abbey, standing about a mile south of the church, environed with wood and water, and founded in 1188 by a native of this parish, Hubert Walter, Dean of York, and successively Bishop of Salisbury, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Lord Chancellor, in the reign of Richard I. This abbey was dedicated to God and the Virgin Mary, for monks of the Præmonstratensian order. Its annual revenues were valued at the Dissolution at £252 12s. 11½d., and the site granted to the ancient family of Dereham, of which Francis Dereham, who figures so prominently in the history of Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII., was a member. Blomefield gives an account of the handsome mansion which was built on the site, about 200 years ago, by the descendant of the grantee, but little remains of the mansion, and still less of the original buildings of the abbey.

Coprolites were discovered in the parish in 1873, and are still worked.

The CHURCH (St. Andrew) is an ancient fabric, comprising nave, chancel, and south porch, with a tower round at the base and octagonal above, containing five bells. It has two handsome monuments of the Dereham family, and a beautifully-designed one of marble and alabaster with a fine statue of Colonel Edmund Soame, of Dereham Grange, who died in 1706. It was re-seated in 1843, and in 1863 a new window was placed at the west end.

The vicarage, certified at £17 13s. 4d., had been augmented at various times from Queen Anne's Bounty and other sources, and is now worth £100 (gross) per annum. It is in the patronage of the Rev. Leonard Blomefield, and incumbency of the Rev. John H. Clark, M.A. The tithes have been commuted for £220 a year, and will fall into the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners on the expiration of the present lease, which is held by the patron. The vicarage house was built in 1874 by private subscription, met by a grant from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

The Rev. Thomas Catton, B.D., F.R.S., &c., late senior fellow, and one of the head tutors of St. John's College, Cambridge, was born here in 1759, and died in 1838. He was a distinguished astronomer, and succeeded Mr. Ludlow in the management of the Observatory at St. John's College. In the church is a neat tablet in memory of his parents, who resided at Barsale House, in this parish. Thomas Tusier (flourished about 1564), whose quaint old poem on Husbandry, once a very popular work, was for some little time resident here.

In 1701, Gregory Lovell left £500 to be laid out in land, the rents and profits thereof to be distributed among the poor, except 40s. a year, for three sermons on St. Thomas's, Lady, and Midsummer days, when the doles are distributed. The estate purchased with this legacy consists of an estate in Upwell, let for £130 a year. The Town Close, held of the manor of Curpels, contains 2A. 3R., and is let for £7 10s. a year, which is distributed among the poor. Both these charities are now in Chancery.

The National School, built in 1840 by G.S. Kett, Esq., is attended by about 80 children. It is partly supported by subscription, and received £25 a year from Lovell's charity before the present proceedings.

Mr. Hugh Aylmer, owner of the Abbey estate in this parish, is one of the largest sheep-breeders in the kingdom, and is also noted for his breed of shorthorns.

POST OFFICE at E.E. Barrow's. Letters arrive at 8 A.M., and are despatched at 5 p.m., viâ Brandon, through Stoke Ferry, which is the nearest Money Order and Telegraph Office.

	Aylmer      Hugh              farmer and landowner
	Ball        T Thwaites & Co.  coprolite raisers
	Barrow      Edward Ebenzr     grocer, pork butcher, and postmaster
	Bennett     Mrs Mary Ann      farmer
	Blanchfield Charles           farmer
	Bushell     William           farmer
	Buttery     Edmund            blacksmith
	Clark       Rev John
	              Haldenby, M.A.  vicar
	Curson      Simon             beerhouse and molecatcher
	Fretwell    Robert            farmer
	Gaminara    Eml               farmer & landowner
	Germany     Miss Eliza        frmr & landowner
	Horn        Thomas            farmer
	Hubbard     Thomas            tailor
	Johnson     James             bootmaker
	Judd        Robert            farmer
	King        James             farmer
	Lines       James             higgler
	Nurse       Valentine         farmer & landowner
	Orford      James             farmer & landowner
	Porter      Robt.             beerhouse, pork butcher, and
	                                assistant overseer
	Riches      Robt.             vict, Chequers, carpenter,
	                                wheelwright, and blacksmith
	Rickard     Bradfield         farmer
	Rickard     Mrs Mary          schoolmistress
	Sharman     Elijah            vict. Bell Inn
	Sherwood    Barnabas          farmer
	Stalham     Stephen           farm bailiff to Mr S.L. Hunt
	Steward     Fredk             farmer & landowner
	Steward     Henry             farmer
	Thorrold    Edward George     farmer
	Thursby     William           parish clerk

CARRIERS pass through to Downham


See also the West Dereham parish page.

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Copyright © Pat Newby.
June 2015