DIDLINGTON parish, 8 miles S. by W. of Swaffham, is in Swaffham union and county court district, Lynn bankruptcy district, Grimshoe petty sessional district, South Greenhoe hundred, Methwold polling district of West Norfolk, Cranwich rural deanery, and Norfolk archdeaconry. It had 93 inhabitants in 1881, living on 1854 acres, and has a rateable value of £1257 2s. 6d.
All the soil, except six acres, belongs to William Amhurst Tyssen Amherst, Esq., M.P. for West Norfolk, lord of the manor, who resides at the Hall, a neat brick mansion in the Italian style, pleasantly situated in a well-wooded park of about 1500 acres, containing some good lime trees, an extensive heronry, and a beautiful sheet of water. The original part of the hall is the west wing, erected in the seventeenth century, the south front was added in 1774, and the north front in 1816 by the Wilson family. Colonel Wilson was father of the fourth Lord Berners, whose successor sold it in 1846 to Lord William Powlett, from whom it passed by sale in 1852 to W.G. Tyssen Amhurst, Esq., father of the present owner, who erected the existing centre of the building. It was again enlarged in 1856 by the addition of the east wing and tower by its present owner.
The interior contains a good gallery of pictures, a valuable library, including many rare books and manuscripts, and an interesting collection of Egyptian antiquities. The pleasure grounds and water cover 80 acres; the park extends into four parishes, Didlington, Colveston, Ickburgh, and Mundford. At the two principal entrances to the park are two handsome entrance lodges, built of flint, with red brick dressings.
The offices of the hall are lighted with gas supplied from works erected in 1857. The reception rooms, entrance hall, grand staircase, and billiard room, are now lighted with perfect success by electricity, obtained by Messrs. Siemens' dynamos, the lights being on Swan's incandescent system, fixed in 1882. The stables are extensive, and are built of dressed flint and white brick; on the doors are plates bearing the names of horses, and the different races won by them, one of which, Phosphorus, won the Derby in 1837. They were all trained on the ground here in the park.
The CHURCH (St. Michael) stands in the park, and is a neat edifice, comprising nave with aisles, south porch, chancel, and square tower with six bells, four of which were brought by the patron from Worcester Cathedral (one 13th century, two 14th, and one 15th); another cast at Norwich is of the early part of the 16th century, and the other is early 17th century.
It was thoroughly restored in 1857, at the expense of the patron. The nave and aisles are furnished with open benches of carved oak with poppies, and the chancel with handsome stalls. The pulpit and reading desk are also of richly carved oak, and several of the windows are of beautiful stained glass. The altar rails are of white marble, and in the chancel are several tablets of the Amherst and Wilson families, and a good piscina.
The discharged vicarage, valued in the King's Book at £12 14s. 7d., and now at £200, with Colveston and Cranwich rectories annexed, is in the patronage of W.A.T. Amherst, Esq., and incumbency of the Rev. Henry Ray, M.A.
The School is a good brick building, with stone dressings, in the Elizabethan style, erected in 1859 by the lord of the manor, and attended by 23 children; is entirely supported by Mr. Amherst.
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.
POST from Brandon, through Northwold, which is the nearest Money Order and Telegraph Office.
Amherst William Amhurst Didlington hall, and Tyssen, Esq., 88 Brook street, M.P., D.L., J.P. Grosvenor square, London Bunting Edwin farmer Foley Mr. William Ford Mrs Mary housekeeper, The Hall Ford William estate agent and house steward, The Hall Isley Alfred house carpenter Jacobs Mrs Elizabeth schoolmistress Palmer Elijah office clerk Stockings William gardener Surtees Ridley gamekeeper Wallis John Carpenter farm bailiff
Copyright © Pat Newby.