DIDLINGTON parish, 8 miles S. by W. of Swaffham, has only 77 inhabitants, and about 1322 acres of land, all belonging to the Rt. Hon. and Rev. Henry Wilson, Lord Berners, who resides at Kirby Cane Rectory, and his son at Didlington Hall, a neat brick mansion, in a small park, with some fine water, lime trees, and an extensive heronry. The hall was built on the site of the old one, by the late Col. Wilson, father of the late Lord Berners, who died in 1838. It has a good collection of paintings, by Holbein, Vandyke, and other old masters.
The family of Bouchier held the title of BARON BERNERS, from 1455 till 1532; after which it lay dormant till 1720, when Catherine Bokenham was created Baroness Berners, as heiress of the Bouchier family. She was daughter of Sir John Knyvet, whose family long held this manor, and had previously claimed the barony, which again fell into abeyance at her decease, in 1743; but it was granted to Robert Wilson, the late Lord Berners, as the eldest co-heir of the Knyvet family.
The CHURCH (St. Michael) is an ancient fabric, in the park, and has some fragments of stained glass in its windows, and a large square tower. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the King's Book at £12.14s.7d., and in 1831 at £110, with the rectory of Colveston annexed to it, in the gift of Lord Berners, and incumbency of the Rev. Vincent Edward Eyre, of Cranwich.
The FUEL ALLOTMENT, awarded at the enclosure, is 1A.3R.8P. The poor have 6s.8d. a year, left by the Rev. Thomas Hopes, and £5.8s.4d. a year, left by an unknown donor.
Wilson Hon. Henry Wm. Didlington Hall Gathercole T. gamekeeper Bunting Edwin farmer Colman Wm. farmer
Copyright © Pat Newby.