DISS, which gives name to this hundred, is a small but pleasant and well-built MARKET TOWN, on the acclivities of a deep lake, or mere, on the north side of the vale of the river Waveney, which divides it from Suffolk, 22 miles S.S.W. of Norwich, 23 miles N. by W. of Ipswich, and 91 miles N.E. by N. of London. The projected Ipswich and Norwich Railway is intended to pass through Diss, and it has been proposed to extend a railway from Diss to Beccles and Yarmouth.
The parish of Diss has increased its population, since the year 1801, from 2246 to 3205 souls, and contains 3382 acres of land; of which 243 acres were enclosed in 1814. The soil is generally fertile, belongs to a great number of proprietors, and lies in the four MANORS of Diss-cum-membris, Heywood, Heywood Hall, and the Rectory manor. Thomas L. Taylor, Esq., is lord of the first; the Earl of Albemarle, of the second; the trustees of the late Charles Layton, Esq., are lords of the third; and the Rector is lord of the fourth. The copyholds are all subject to arbitrary fines, and many of the owners are resident here, some in large and handsome mansions.
Heywood is a large district of farms, on the north side of the parish, extending to the distance of five miles, and having on its northern verge, Heywood Hall, now a farm-house, held by copy of court-roll, by the Rev. Temple Frere. The other hamlets are Walcot Green, 1 mile N.E., and Westby Green, 1 mile N.W.
The MERE, or lake, round which the town is built, is a large natural pool, having an outlet to the river, and supplied only by springs, rising from its own oozy bed, and by the rain and sewer water collected on its banks. This singular basin was formerly considered to be of unfathomable depth, and supposed by some to have been the crater of a volcano; but in 1835, it was carefully measured, and found to cover a surface of 5A. 1R. 11½P., and to average in depth 17¼ feet, the greatest depth being 19½ feet. Its muddy bottom is well stored with eels, and a rare fish called chasers, similar to the china carp found in Germany; having only three large scales, nearly on the dorsal fin.
As most of the sewers of the town have no other outlet than the lake, the water is considered unfit for culinary purposes, so that the inhabitants have been at much expense in sinking wells and pumps. The brewery, on the highest point of the town, is supplied by a well, sunk to the depth of 615 feet, of which 500 feet is through chalk, above which the water springs to within fifty feet of the surface, and is thence raised by a horse-pump, at the rate of 36 gallons per minute.
The chief part of the town is on the acclivities on the west and north sides of the mere, the steep banks of which are mostly laid out in ornamental gardens, forming a delightful contrast with the expansive sheet of water below, and the town above; especially when viewed from the south and east, where the banks are lower than on the other sides, and would be overflowed if the passage out of the mere was stopped up. Near the mere is Park House, the residence of Mr. Samuel Brook, lately erected in the Italian style.
The town is said to derive its name from the mere; Dise, or Diss, signifying, in the Saxon tongue, standing water, lake, or ditch. It has about a dozen streets, the principal of which are well paved, and have many neat houses and well-stocked shops. They were first lit with GAS in Dec., 1835, from the works erected by Messrs. J. and T. Whaite, whose gasometer is on the telescope principle, and, when all its sliding joints are extended, it will contain 2200 cubic feet of gas.
The MARKET, held every Friday, for the sale of corn, swine, provisions, &c., is held in a small square, and the open street, extending from the church to Scole road. A large FAIR is held on November 8th, upon the large green at the foot of Cock street; where a lamb fair is held on the first Friday in July.
Diss was formerly noted for the manufacture of "Suffolk hempen cloth," worsted yarn, and knit hosiery; but when the hand-loom commissioners were here, some years ago, they found only one manufacturer, giving out materials for sheeting, drabbets, &c.; and the business is now wholly discontinued. Weaver's Hall, at the Saracen's Head, was formerly the great mart, for the hempen linen manufactured in the town and the surrounding villages.
Here are two large breweries, and several windmills; a Book Club, formed in 1777; and a Subscription Library and Scientific Institution, commenced in 1828, and now having more than 1000 volumes.
The early annals of Diss are barren of all that is momentous; but we find that the plague raged here in the year 1579; and in 1640, the town suffered by an alarming fire, which was ultimately quenched by an ample supply of water carried out of the mere.
The CHURCH (Virgin Mary,) is a large and handsome Gothic structure, consisting of a nave, chancel, aisles, north and south porch, and a square tower at the west end, containing a peal of eight bells, cast by Mr. Dobson, of Downham, and put up January 6, 1832, in place of the old peal of six. The tenor weighs 24 cwt., and is in the key of D natural. The peal is allowed to be as musical and perfect as any in the kingdom. A set of chimes play upon the bells every four hours, viz., at 4, 8, and 12.
The church was founded by the Fitzwalters, one of whom was Sir Robt. Fitzwalter, who eminently distinguished himself in the reign of King John. That monarch, because he could not obtain the knight's consent to gratify an illicit passion he entertained for his daughter, Matilda, surnamed the Fair, banished the father, and afterwards caused the daughter to be poisoned.
The heads of the cleristory windows are neither round, pointed, nor flat, but the arch is formed by a waving line. At the west end of the aisles are two chapels, anciently belonging to the Guilds of Corpus Christi and St. Nicholas.
The rectory, valued in the King's Book at £33. 6s. 8d., is in the patronage and incumbency of the Rev. Wm. Mauning [sic], M.A., who has about 12A. of glebe, a large Rectory House, and a yearly rent of £903, recently awarded in lieu of tithes; but of this £200 is absorbed by the parochial rates.
There are in the town six Dissenters' chapels; two belonging to the Baptists, and one each to the Wesleyans, Independents, Unitarians, and the Society of Friends; but only one family of the latter sect is now resident here. The present Independent Chapel is a handsome building, erected in 1839, at the cost of £2000, and has a good organ. The Unitarian Chapel was built in 1822, and is licensed for marriages. The Wesleyan Chapel was rebuilt in 1833, by a congregation formed in 1799, and adjoining it is a large school, erected in 1819.
Here is a National School, and also a British School, for children of both sexes; and a Clothing Charity, was established in 1842. At the King's Head, is a large and handsome Assembly Room. Petty Sessions are held at this Inn, as noted at page 710 [ This is the entry for Diss Hundred ].
The TOWN ESTATE, which has been held in trust since the reign of Elizabeth, for repairing the church and streets, and other public uses in Diss, consists of the Guildhall, let for £25, and a farm of 95A. 3R. 31P. at Framlingham, in Suffolk, let for £120 a year. More than half of these rents are applied to the use of the church, and the remainder in improving the streets, &c. From 1830 to 1833, about £250 was applied by the trustees to the rebuilding of Cock street bridge.
Vested with the same trustees were eight Almshouses, which were taken down a few years ago, for the purpose of enlarging the churchyard. These tenements, for eight poor widows, were given by Richard Fisher, in 1601, and repaired out of the rent of the town estate. Apartments have been provided for the eight almspeople, in the building, which was erected as the parish Workhouse, in 1730, and in which there is a large Committee Room, decorated with a full-length portrait of the worthy rector, painted by Thomas Roods, Esq., of London, at the expense of a numerous list of subscribers.
The CHURCH ESTATE consists of several small parcels of land, at Penning's Green, Walcot, and Roydon, let for £9. 1s. 8d. a year, which is applied in the service of the church. In 1833, £462 was borrowed to make up a deficiency which had arisen from having the church bells re-cast.
Two cottages, called Town Houses, were given by Robert Buxton and John Notley, in 1715 and 1757. A close of 1½A., called Bell Acre, was purchased for the poor with £24 benefaction money, in 1596, and is now let for about £7 a year, which is distributed in bread, with the following yearly doles:- £18 from 6A. of land, purchased with £100 left by Wm. Burton, in 1705; 20s. from a piece of waste ground, called Cock street Fairstead Green; 25s. as a rent-charge left by Wm. Camell, in 1700; 11s. charged on land at Stradbroke, by Richmond Girling, in 1658; and 20s. a year left by Ralph Chapman, in 1618. A house and meadow, formerly called the Unicorn, were charged by Wm. Pettit, in 1727, with the yearly payments of 10s. for the poor of Diss; 10s. for the repairs of the south porch, 10s. for a sermon, and 1s. each for the clerk and sexton.
In the following DIRECTORY OF DISS , those marked 1, reside in Brook street; 2, Chapel street; 3, Cherrytree lane; 4, Church street; 5, Cock street; 6, Cock street green; 7, Crown street; 8, Half-Moon street; 9, Heywood; 10, Market place; 11, Mere street; 12, Mount street; 13, Scole road; 14, Shelfanger road; 15, Walcot green; 16, Westby green; and 17, in St. Nicholas street.
The POST-OFFICE is at Miss Mary Ann Musgrave's. Letters are despatched to London, &c., at half-past 7 evening; to Bury, &c., at half-past 5 evening; and to Norwich, &c., at four morning, via Scole.
17 Abbot Theophilus banker's clerk and accountant 11 Aldis Rev James (Wes. min.) 12 Baldwin Wm. clog, &c. maker 7 Bardwell Mr Wm. and Miss Har. 7 Barkham Mr Thomas 12 Barkway John clog, &c. maker 4 Brown Charles vety. surgeon 6 Bryant Edmund clothes dealer Buckingham James chimney sweep 2 Burrows Robert clerk 11 Button Wm. Fredk. postmaster at the King's Head 6 Calver James book-keeper 15 Calver Mrs Eliz [see note below] 4 Clarke Mary [see note below] Cobb Mary Ann toy dealer 6 Cotman Ts. corn inspector & regr. 7 Cook James sack manufacturer 4 Curson Mrs My. [see note below] 13 Curtis Henry horse dealer Darby Mrs Eliz. [see note below] 11 Drewett Rev Wm. (Wes. min.) Dyson Thos. Esq. banker & brewer 12 Eaton Mrs Sarah Mount street 7 Farrow Samuel chief constable 13 Field Rev Joseph (Indpt. min.) 10 Fincham Robert, Esq. banker 4 Galloway Atchison excise officer 6 Garrard Mrs Dinah 11 Girling Nathaniel solr.'s clerk 17 Gray Frederick Wm. organist 7 Harrison Wm. house, &c. agent 13 Haynes Mr Henry 11 Holmes John dyer 17 Legood Mrs Eliz. [see note below] 3 Lewis Rev John Philip (Bapt.) 17 Long Caroline music teacher Manning Rev Wm. M.A. Rectory 13 Manning Miss Frances Cottage 11 Marsh Sar. [see note below] 6 McCammon Rev Fras. (Unitarn.) 11 Mines Edward, Esq. Terrace Morris Rev Thomas Brooke, M.A. rector of Shelfanger 4 Moyce Mr Rt. [see note below] 17 Nice Mrs. glover, &c 4 Nunn Robert solicitor's clerk 2 Parr Robert sexton and organist 7 Parsley Mrs M.A. [see note below] Plummer John gent. Rose Cottage Powis Rev Henry D. (Wes. min.) 17 Rayner Robert hay & straw dlr 12 Redgrave John solicitor's clerk 4 Rix John Blofield bank clerk 12 Robinson Mr John Thomas 12 Shelverton Mr John 10 Simpson Zach. banker's clerk 4 Slack Richard vety. surgeon 13 Smith Mark botanist 12 Smith Thomas solicitor's clerk 12 Taylor Miss Mary gentlewoman Thorn John excise officer 11 Ward Rev Charles, M.A. curate 4 Welham Robert solicitor's clerk 9 Williams Mr Southby gentleman, Walcott Hall 10 Womack Miss Mary Ann Watson ElizabethNote: in the original these entries are written:-
BANKERS. 10 Oakes, Fincham, Bevan, & Moor, (on Barclay and Co.) 10 Taylor and Dyson, (on Barnett, Hoare, and Co.) FIRE AND LIFE OFFICES. 12 Browne George F. Pelican 6 Cotman Thomas Royal Farmers 7 Crowe Jas. Norwich Equitable 10 Eldridge J.U. Fam. Endowment 12 Heffill Henry Norwich Union 12 Norton Edward Promoter 4 Rix J.B. Suffolk Amicable HOTELS, INNS, AND TAVERNS. 10 Ayton Charles Bell 11 Berrett Benjamin Cross Keys 7 Brooks James Bee Hive 8 Buckingham Timy. Half Moon 10 Calver Ann Star 7 Chapman John Greyhound 13 Chapman Wm. White Hart 7 Church Sarah Chequers 3 Crowe Eliza Cherry Tree 12 Edwards Fras. Saracen's Head 4 Garrett Nathaniel Dolphin 14 Goold Philip Ship 10 Maplestone Jane King's Head Inn (posting,) 6 Payne Jonathan Cock 11 Rayner Philip Sun 7 Shaw John Two Brewers 10 Stowers Samuel White Horse 7 Wincup Robert B. Crown & Commercial
__________ACADEMIES. Bakers. Bird John 11 Baxter Margt. 11 Billings Mrs Mary 4 Cattermole Isc. & Miss Alice 6 Cobb Charles 12 Cuthbert Cornelius Driver Harriet 4 Fulcher Maria 6 Frost John 6 Herne Edward 10 Juby Thomas 7 Legood Eliz. 12 Scrivener Rd. 4 Nunn Edward Cooke 11 Shepherd H. 4 Tripp Eliza 6 Whiting Robt. 13 Tucker Jas. 12 Whitby Saml. James ATTORNEYS. Basket Makers. 11 Brook John Calver 11 Berrett Benj. 12 Browne Geo. Frederick 6 Shemend Robt. 12 Heffill (Hy.) & Norton (Edward) 12 Muskett John (coroner and clerk to magistrates) Beer Houses. 11 Taylor Thos. Lombe Wallace (Thos. Edw.) 11 Barrett Philip & Lyus (Geo.) Terrace 7 Church Sarah 13 Easto Richd. Auctioneers. 6 Ellis James 9 Fordham John 17 Alger Cleer Sewell 6 Froud David (and surveyor) 16 Levi Samuel 17 Elliott Wm. Waller 9 Moore Mary 11 Gostling Ths. 13 Payne John __________Blacksmiths. Brewers and Maltsters. 12 Blomfield Jas. 4 Baker Geo. C. 12 Garrett Nath. 7 Cuthbert Hy. 11 Goold Philip 6 Farrow Chas. 3 Haywood Hy. 7 Taylor 12 Reeve Abslm. & Dyson 2 Slack Richard Woolnough Wm. (Parkfields) 12 Towel Wm. Booksellers, Printers, &c. Brush Makers. 11 Abbott Edw. 7 Aldrich Robt. 11 Gostling Thos. 7 Broad George 7 Todd John Boot & Shoe Mkrs. Bricklayers. 13 Barker Ebzr. 7 Downing Robt. 10 Bloomfield W. 7 Garrard Robt. 4 Bloomfield Jas. 13 Houchen Geo. 11 Hammond W. 12 Hubbard Spha 7 Haywood Thos. 7 Rout John 7 Knowles Saml. 12 Welham Hy. 17 Legood Eliz. 12 Pierce Thos. 4 Ready Richd. Braziers & Tinrs. Butchers. 11 Brook Saml. 10 Baker George 11 Bryant Robt. 7 Browning My. 13 Smith Saml. 12 Leggett John 10 Loocock Jas. 11 Plummer Edm. 7 Robinson Jas. 3 Sandy Samuel 10 Tyrrell Geo. __________Cabinet Makers and Joiners. 10 Barkham Wm. Henry 12 Battel Wm. 7 Harrison Wm. 7 Parker John Chemists & Dgsts 11 Cupiss Fras. (oil & colourman, vety. surgeon, & propr. of the constitutional horse balls) 10 Eldridge Jas. __________Corn and Coach Makers. Coal Merchants. 11 Garrett Nathl. 4 Baker George Clarke Garrett Sylvester Bond 13 Chaplyn Wm. 7 Lait Thomas 11 Cutting John 11 Lait Charles 6 Levick Wm. Confectioners. Corn Millers. 17 Alger James 13 Chaplyn Wm. 10 Browning Sl. 3 Cornell Saml. 11 Baxter Ann 9 Ellis Stimpson 11 Berrett Philip 13 Jay Thomas 11 Leeder Sampn. 11 Leathers Chas. Jay 6 Whiting Wm. 6 Pike Henry 13 Rush Thomas Coopers. Curriers, &c. 11 Berrett Benj. 4 Baldwin John 7 Burch Thomas 10 Leech John 4 Harvey Martin __________FARMERS (* are owners.) 9 Booty Rhoda 9 Harbourd Wm. 9 Chapman Geo. 9 Johnson James 9 Coe Charles 9*Murton Robt. 9*Ellis Stimpson 9 Murton R. jun. 13*Ellis Robert 9 Newdick Wm. 9 Ellis Henry 9*Palmer George 9 Esling John 13 Payne Nunn 13*Fincham Jas. 9 Pim Wm. 9 Fisher Ann 9*Smith Edmund 15 Fulcer Isaac 9 Smith John 12 Fulcher Hy. 9 Stollery Chas. 9 Fordham John 9 Tacon Joseph 9 Grant John 9 Well Fredk. __________Gardeners. GROCERS. 2 Cornell Wm. 17 Aldrich Robt. 13 Goldsmith Mk. 11 Alger James 7 Gooderam Edw. 17 Alger Charles 7 Parker Richd. 10 Browning Sl. 11 Burrows Gibson Lucas Glass & China 7 Churchyard Rt. Dealers. 13 Chaplyn Wm. 10 Cory John Sendall 17 Alger Charles 6 Cotman Thos. 10 Cory John. S. 7 Crowe James 11 Gostling Thos. 8 Read John 3 Sandy Samuel 7 Spelman Geo. 4 Witting Chas. __________Gunsmith. Iron Founders & Machine Mkrs. 11 Mallett John 12 Swootman W. Hair Dressers. 10 Whaite J. & T. 10 Burrows Bdly. Iron Merchant. 11 Chaplyn Wm. (ornamental) 6 Sandy Stephen 11 Brook Saml. 10 Whitehead Rt. Ironmongers. Hosier & Worsted 11 Brook Saml. Manufacturer. 8 Lines John 10 Whaite John and Thos. 17 Leech Thos. (gas fitters) __________Painters, Plumbers, Joiners & Buldrs & Glaziers. 12 Angold Henry 12 Aldrich John 2 Atkins George 11 Cobb Andrew 11 Cobb Samuel 11 Cobb Samuel 7 Farrow Joseph 11 Coe Jno. & Jrvs 7 Farrow Thos. 4 Evinson Robt. 12 Porcher Thos. 12 Hunting Wm. 10 Whaite J.&T. Linen & Woollen Drapers. Porter Merchts. 10 Blake Jno. G. 11 Berrett Philip 8 Bobby Jas. Horatio 11 Berrett Thos. (Norfolk House) 10 Bulwer Wm. Saddlers. 17 Chamberlain and Son 17 Church Wm. 10 Cracknell Jno. Smith 7 Terry James 7 Debenham Ed. 17 Walne Belnda. 17 Eglinton Sml. 10 Hall Wm. Milliners. Stone Masons. 12 Cooper Hanh. 4 Alger Charles 12 Elsey Jane 7 Farrow Thos. 17 Legood M.A. (& timber dlr.) 7 Turner Eliz. __________Straw Hat Mkrs. Turners. (Wood) 7 Knowles Rachl. 7 Meadows Robt. 12 Martin J. 3 Tipple George 12 Towel Eliz. 12 Youels Har. Surgeons. Watchmakers. 7 Harrison Php. 6 Dove John 11 Haydon Hy. Phippard (& umbrella mfr.) 12 Mines Wm. 10 Marsh Wm. 11 Rose Fdk. Rt. 10 Scrivener Edward Keer 7 Thompson Chs. 11 Taylor Dennis 7 Ward Henry 17 Whitrod Benj. Tailors. Wheelwrights. 7 Andrews Wm. 13 Everett Robt. 12 Bailey Mark 12 Kerry Jonth. 7 Bond George 4 Nicholson Terah 11 Bryant Danl. (par. clk.) 11 Cooper David 17 Eglinton Sol. Wine and Spirit Merchants. 7 Goold Philip 7 Hague Wm. 7 Cuthbert Hy. 7 Lait Thomas 10 Browning Sl. 7 Lait T. jun. 6 Farrow Chas. 17 Stannard Rt. 7 Taylor 12 Towel Robert & Dyson 13 Trudgill Chas. Woolnough Wm. (Parkfields)
From the King's Head to Norwich, 6 evg.; to London, 11 mg.; to Cambridge, ½ p. 12 noon; to Yarmouth, ½ p. 11 mg., and ½ p. 3 aft.; and to Bury, ½ p. 3 aft.
From the Crown, every Sat., to Norwich, ¼ bef. 8 mng., and to Botesdale, ½ p. 7 evening.
To London, Norwich, &c., Deacon and Co.'s Vans from the King's
Head; S. Noller's Van from the Crown; and Salter and Co.'s Van from the
Star, three days a week.
Attlebro', J. Johnson, Tuesday.
Botesdale. &c., Bidwell, from the Greyhound, Friday.
Harleston, Jas. Reeve, from the Saracen's Head, Monday.
Hopton, Jas. Brock, from the Dolphin, Friday.
Ipswich, N Garrett, from the Dolphin, twice a week.
New Buckenham, J. Hewitt, from the Bell, Thursday.
Norwich, (see London, &c.,) and Nunn Payne, from Scole road, and John Brown, Tues. and Fri.; also N. Garrett from the Dolphin, twice a week.
Thetford, Clark from the Greyhound, and Miller from the Star, Friday.
See also the Diss parish page.
Copyright © Pat Newby.