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Norfolk: Downham Market

Pigot's Directory of Norfolk 1839

Downham Market and Neighbourhoods.

[Transcription copyright © Elizabeth Howard]

Downham Market as its name implies, is a market town in the parish of its name and hundred of Clackclose, 86 miles N by E from London and 42 W from Norwich: pleasantly situated on the declivity of an eminence to the east of the river Ouse, over which and the adjacent fen-country it has an extensive view. It takes its name from its site a ham or dwelling on a dun or down or hill, and Spilman says the market here was of such antiquity that he finds it confirmed by Edward the Confessor. The principal manor with the hundred of Clackclose, was given by King Edgar to Ramsey Abbey; and it appears that King John in his 6th year granted or confirmed a fair here to the abbot and the privilege of having a gallows for hanging malefactors was allowed him in the time of King Henry lll. Since the Dissolution, this manor has passed through several hands to the family of Hare - Sir Thomas Hare, bart, of Stow Hall, being the present lord.

Over the river there is a wooden bridge leading to Wisbeach, near which the butter market once so celebrated was formerly held. The area has been much improved in its appearance within the last few years the streets (of which there are three principal ones) are well paved and the inhabitants are amply supplied with water. A considerable manufactury for mustard has been long established here; and in the vicinity are several maltings and corn mills; there is likewise a respectable brewery. The county magistrates hold a petty session for the division weekly, and the lord of the manor a court baron four times a year. Downham is one of the polling stations at the election of representatives for West Norfolk; and it is the centre of a union of thirty four parishes under the new poor law; the union workhouse is a convenient and handsome building.

The church, dedicated to St Edmund, is an ancient pile; it is built of carne ragstone, stuccoed and roofed with lead.. It consists of a nave, north and south aisles, and a chancel; at the west end stands a low square tower, embattled and surmounted by a spire; the interior of the roof is oak, the gallery veneered and of exquisite workmanship. The living is a Rectory of which the Rev John Richard Thackeray is the present incumbent.

There are places of worship for baptists, independents and the Society of Friends. The principal charity is a school, founded by the late Mr Clarke, in 1808, for sixty five boys. The market day is Saturday and the fairs are held on the 3rd March, 8th May, and 13th November. Population of the parish in 1831, 2,194.

Post Office., High Street, George Scarnell, Post Master. - Letters from London arrive every morning at half past five, and are despatched every night at a quarter past eight. - Letters from Lynn etc, arrive every night at a quarter past eight and are despatched every morning at half past five. - Letters from Stradsett and Setche arrive every evening at half past six, and are despatched every morning at seven.

Gentry and Clergy.

Allen, Rev Wm Maxey, Lynn Road.
Bagge, William esq, MP, Stradsett Hall.
Beechey, Rev Vincent, Hilgay.
Bell, Frederick Browne, esq, Wallington Hall.
Bellamy, Rev Edward, White House.
Browne, Rev Arthur, vicar, Marham.
Creasey, Mrs John, Swaffham Road.
Dashwood, Rev Geo, Stowbardolph.
Dixon, John, esq, Lynn Road.
Doyle Mrs Eliz, Crimplesham Hall.
Hare, Sir Thomas, bart, Stow Hall.
Henslow, Rev -, Southery.
Hewlett, Rev John, Hilgay.
Horsley, Mr Matthew Coats, Bridge St.
Howman, Rev Edward Jno, Bexwell.
Jones, William, esq, Wood Hall.
Lemman, Henry esq, Bridge St.
Lemman, Mrs -, Bridge St.
Loftus, Rev Arthur, Fincham.
Mann, Rev Charles, Denver.
Musgrave, Rev George, Bexwell.
Pratt, Edward Roger, esq, Ryston House.
Reed, James T, esq, Crow Hall.
Say, Col, William, High St.
Scott, Mrs Thomas, Retreat.
Smith, Rev Samuel C. Denver.
Thackeray, Rev John Richard, Rectory.
Villabois, Henry, esq, Marham House.
Wilson, Captain -, Denver.

Acadamies and schools.

Challis, Benjamin, Parsonage Lane.
Goodrick, Isaac, (boarding), Denver Road.
Johnson, Edward C, Lynn Road.
Moody, Martha and Ann (boarding and day), Lynn Road.
Webb and Lemon, (ladies bdng and day) High St.


Bell and Hett, Bridge St.
Brighton, Thomas, Denver Road.
Coulcher, Martin, Lynn Road.
Townley, William, High St.

Bakers and Flour dealers.

Baldwin, William, High St.
Brown, John, High St.
Cambridge, Charles, Lynn Road.
Clark, Edward, Bridge St.
Hall, James, Bridge St.
Johnson, Ellen, Lynn Road.
Merrington, Charles, Bridge St.
Parfrey, Robert, Bridge St.
Snelling, William, Lynn Road.
Wright, James, High St.


East of England (Branch of Lynn) Bridge St (draw on the London and Westminster Bank) - George Mumford, Agent.
Gurneys and Co (Branch of Lynn) High St - draw on Barclay, Bevan and co, London. - Thomas Wright, Agent.

Basket makers.

Burman, William, Bridge St.
Daines, Wright, Bridge St.
Gooden, Christopher, High St.


Challis, William, High St.
Hudson, John, Bridge St.
Vince, Robert, Denver road

Booksellers and Stationers.

Scarnell, George, High St.
Thorogood, Robert (and printer) High St.

Boot and shoe makers.

Andrews, John, Market Place.
Coe, William, Lynn Road.
Kinney, Edward, Lynn Road.
Kinney, James, Lynn Road.
Long, William, Bridge St.
Palmer, John, High St.
Park, James, Lynn Road.
Parker, William, Lynn, Road.
Whitehead, John, Denver Road.


Hall, Robert (retail) Bridge St.
Ward, G A junr and Co, Steam Mills.
Wright, Robins Steed, Bridge St.

Brick makers.

Bennett, William, Bridge St.
Kemp, Maria, Bridge St.
Rose, Thomas, Bridge St.


Bennett, William, Lynn Rd.
Johnson, John, Paradise Lane.
Juler, Henry, Lynn Road.
Milton, Robert, Wimbotsham Road.
Stevens, Francis, Swaffham Road.


Bolton, Henry, High St.
Bunkall, William, Market Place.
Gamble, Robert, Bridge St.
Scott, William, Bridge St.
Smart, Elizabeth, (pork) Lynn Road.
Smart, William, (pork) Bridge St.
Snelling, Thomas, Lynn Road.
Vinsons, James, Lynn Road.

Cabinet Makers.

Casebow, William, High St.
Langman, John, High St.

Chymists and Druggists.

Baker, Patrick, High St.
Tubbs, Thomas, High St.

Coal Dealers.

Chapman, William, High St.
Johnson, David, Wisbeach Road.
Snelling, Joseph, Wisbeach Road.
Ward G A and Co, Steam Mills.
Wenn, Wardel Wisbeach Road.


North, Charlotte and Martha, High St.
Poll, Charles, Market Place.


Easthall, Isaac, Lynn Road.
Edwards, Robert, Paradise Lane.
Meadows, Robert, Lynn Road.

Corn and Seed Merchants.

Harris, Thomas, High St.
Merrington, Chas, (and flour), Bridge St.
Miller, Winifred, High St.
Mumford and Wright, Bridge St.
Ward, G A and Co, Steam mills.

Engineers - Civil.

Dyson, Jno, (and to the Hon Corporation of the Bedford Level ) Bridge St.
Dyson, Thomas, Bridge St.

Fire etc Office agents.

County (Fire) and Provident (life), James Barnham, High St.
Crown (life) Martin Coulcher, Lynn Road.
Imperial, R Thorogood.
Norwich Union, Fredk Browne Bell; and Thomas Wright, High St.
Royal Exchange, Chas Mumford, Bridge St.
Sun, Frederick True, High St.

Grocers and Dealers in Sundries.

Brown, John, Bridge St.
Barnham, James, High St.
Clark, Edward, High St.
Lemon, Anne, High St.
Oakes, William, High St.
Scott, John, Bridge St.
Snasdell, Joel, High St.
Wignall, John, Bridge St.
Wilkin, Ann, High St.


Crisp, William, High St.
Willimott, John, Market Place.
Willimott, John, Bridge St.
Wilson, Frederick, Bridge St.


Castle (commercial and posting) Thomas Harris, High St.
Crown (commercial and posting) John Powell, Bridge St.
Swan (and commercial) Thomas Minton, High St.


True, Frederick, High St.
Weston, George, High St.

Joiners and Builders.

Bennett, Thomas, Lynn Road.
Flatman, John, Lynn Road.
Flower, Jonathan (and timber merchant) High St.
Goose, William Pymar, Denver Road.
Harpley, Joseph, Denver Road.
Harpley, William, Pasonage Lane.
Smith, Thomas, Lynn Road.
Stevens, Thomas, Bridge Road.

Linen and Woollen Drapers.

Andrews, Richard, High St.
Burnham, James, High St.
Lemon, Anne, High St.
Scott, Jno (and wool merchant) Bridge St.
Snasdell, Joel, High St.


Miller, Winifred, High St.
Mumford, George, Bridge St.
Wright, Robins Stead, Bridge St.


Cambridge, Charles, Lynn Road
Parfrey, Robert, Bridge St.
Poll, Susan, Denver Road.
Ward, G A junr, and Co, Steam Mills.

Milliners and Dress makers.

Beeston, Elizabeth, High St.
Newell, Ann. High St.
Poll, Susan, Denver Road.
Roper, Lydia, High St.
Snasdell, Sarah, High St.

Mustard Manufacturers.

Ward G A and Co. (& seed merchants), Steam Mills.

Nursery and Seedsmen.

Harrison, Joseph, Lynn Road.
Stebbing, Zachariah, Bridge St.

Plumbers, painters and glaziers

Beeston, Sarah, High St.
Spencer, Robert, Market Place.
Weston, Thomas, High St.

Saddlers and Patten makers.

Glasscock, George, High St.
Roper, John, High St.
Steggles, William, Bridge St.

Spirit merchants.

Miller, Winifred, High St.
Ward, G A and co, Steam Mills.
Wright, Robins Stead, Bridge St.


Hunter, Christopher, High St.
Patterson, James, M D, Bridge St.
Wales and Son, High St.


Flower, Jonathan, High St.
Mumford, George, Bridge St.

Tailors and Drapers.

Bailey, William, Swaffham Road,
Bennett, Arthur, High St.
Bunkall, Barker, High St.
Bunkall, Henry, Lynn Road.
Hourston and son, High St.
Warnes, John, Parsonage Lane.

Taverns and Public Houses.

Bridge House, John Brown, River side.
Bull, James Coe, High St.
Chequers, John Balding, Lynn Rd.
Coffee Pot, Samuel Edison, High St.
Hat and Feathers, Henry Glasscock, Market Place.
Queen`s Head, George Garman, Bridge St.
Rampant Horse, Charles Smith, High St.
White Hart, Margaret Smith, Bridge St.

Watch and clock makers and silversmiths.

Giscard, Wm (and broker) High St.
Howes, Benjamin, High St.


Baker, Rebecca, Bridge St.
Westwood, Tiffin Taylor, Swaffham Rd


Beets, Thomas, glover, Lynn Road.
Betts, Jas. Vetinary surgeon, Holliman`s Hill,
Cole, John, dyer, Bridge St.
Garrit and Casebow, auctioneers, High St.
Glasscock, Hy, whip thong maker, Market Place.
Herring, Thomas, coach maker, Lynn Road.
Johnson, Dav. Earthenware dealer, Wisbeach Rd.
Long, Edward, stone mason, Lynn Road.
Mace, Francis, gardener, Bridge St.
Mumford, George, tanner and wool merchant, Bridge St.
Newell, Pearson, tinman and brazier, High St.
Terrington, Wm, tallow chandler, Lynn Road.
Tooley, James, currier, High St.
Wallis, Ambrose, whitesmith and bellhanger, High St.
Witham, William, millwright, Swaffham Road.
Wright, Thos, stamp distributor, High St.

Union Workhouse. High St.

Treasurers - Gurney and Co.
Clerk - Edward Hett.
Governor - Thomas Pile
Relieving Officers - John Chamberlain for Downham and Wiggen district; Thomas Rose for Fincham district.


To London, the Royal Mail (from Lynn) calls at the Swan every night at a quarter past eight; goes through Ely, Cambridge, Royston, Buntingford, Puckford etc - and the Union calls at the Castle Inn every morning (Sunday excepted) at half past eight; goes thro` Ely, Cambridge, Barkway etc.

To Lynn - the Royal Mail (from London) calls at the Swan every morning at half past five - and the Union calls at the Castle Inn, every evening (Sunday excepted) at half past six.


To London, Swan and sons, and Deacon and Co, from High St, daily.
To East Dereham, Sarah Carter, from Bridge St, every Tuesday.
To Ely, John Roberts, from High St, every Thursday.
To Fincham, Thomas Southgate, from the Chequers, every Monday.
To Lynn, Swan and sons and Deacon and Co, from High St, daily - Robert Newton, from Parsonage Lane, and William Carter, from Bridge St, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. - and John Roberts, from High St, every Tuesday.
To Norwich and Swaffham, Sarah Carter, from Bridge St, every Tuesday.
To Stoke - Burnham, from the Chequers, every Monday.
To Upwell, Luke Lawrence, from the Swan Inn, every Monday.
To Wisbeach, Sarah Carter, from Bridge St, and John Roberts, from High St, every Saturday.

See also the Downham Market parish page.

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Copyright © Pat Newby.
January 2013