[Transcription copyright © Pat Newby]
DOWNHAM MARKET is a neat and clean market-town, consisting principally of two long and well-built streets, pleasantly seated on the eastern acclivity of the vale of the Great Ouse, overlooking the marshes and fens, and distant more than half a mile from the river; 11½ miles S. of Lynn, 13½ miles W. by S. of Swaffham, 13 miles E.S.E. of Wisbech, and 84 miles N. by E. of London.
It gives name to the large Union, noticed at page 609 [which is the entry for Clackclose Hundred] and is the polling place for Clackclose Hundred. It has increased its population since the year 1801, from 1,512 to 2,953 souls, and comprises in its parish about 2,500 acres of land, lying in several manors; and belonging to Robt. Fellowes, Esq., E.R. Pratt, Esq., Sir Thomas Hare, Bart., and a number of smaller owners. The latter is lord of the largest manor, which, with several others in this neighbourhood, was given by King Edgar to Ramsey Abbey, in Huntingdonshire. Henry III. invested the abbot with authority to try and execute malefactors, at "his gallows of Downham." The manors in which the abbot exercised this authority are called the Liberty of Sir Thos. Hare.
The MARKETS, held every Monday and Saturday, are of great antiquity, being confirmed by Edward the Confessor. They have greatly declined during the present century, owing to the increase of those at Lynn, Wisbech, and Swaffham. A row of old buildings, which stood in the centre of the Market-place, was removed, under the powers of an act of parliament, passed in July, 1835, for paving, lighting, watching, and improving the town. A large butter market was formerly held every Monday, near the bridge, where, in the height of summer and spring, about 90,000 firkins have been bought annually by factors, and sent to London, where it was sold under the name of Cambridge butter; but this trade was removed many years ago to Swaffham, where it is now obsolete; the growing of corn and wool, and the feeding of cattle, being now more attended to in this part of Norfolk, than the dairy.
Three large FAIRS for horses, cattle, &c., are held here yearly on March 3rd, May 8th, and November 13th. The first is called Winwall fair, being held on St. Winwoloe's day, and removed some years ago from the manor of Winwall, in Wereham parish. Hirings for Servants are held on the Saturday fortnight before, and the Saturday after, Old Michaelmas day.
The BRIDGE, which crosses the Great Ouse, about half a mile west of the town, is a large wooden structure, which was leased by the lord of the manor of Stow Bardolph, in the 32nd of Henry VI., to certain bridge reves [sic], at the yearly rent of 13s. 4d., they being obliged to keep it in repair, and to take the accustomed tolls, from which all the tenants of the said manor were to be exempt. At one end of the bridge is the toll-house, and at the other a large public-house, both belonging to the reves [sic], who have also several acres of land, allotted to them under the enclosure and drainage acts, the last of which were passed in 1798 and 1802. The spring-tides often rise here above 25 feet, and are confined between high embankments, part of which gave way on the Downham side of the river, on August 31st., 1833, and laid many hundred acres of the marshes under water, until the breach was repaired.
Near Well Creek, about 4 miles S.W. of Downham, is the fen hamlet of NORTH DELPH, extending into this, and the parishes of Denver, Upwell, Outwell, and Stow Bardolph, and having near it a handsome stone bridge over Tongs Drain, built in 1835, by the drainage commissioners of the Bedford level. (See p. 563 and 608 [which are the entries for Freebridge Marshland Hundred and Clackclose Hundred].) The soil in the neighbourhood of the town, except the marshes and fens, is in some places a light sand, and in others a loamy clay. In the sand pits are beautiful veins of different colours. In 1568, seventeen "monstrous fishes," measuring from 20 to 27 feet, were caught in the Ouse, near the bridge.
Martin King, a dwarf under 4 feet in height, and for some time boots at the Castle Inn, died here in 1807, from excessive drinking. Zachary Clarke, a member of the Society of Friends, who published an account of the "Norfolk Charities," died here in 1815, much lamented, especially by the poor of the town and neighbourhood, whom he had for some years periodically relieved with distributions of money, fuel, and provisions. Capt. Manby, the inventor of the ingenious apparatus for saving the lives of ship-wrecked mariners, was born near Downham, 1765, and has been long a resident at Yarmouth.
Downham CHURCH, dedicated to St. Edmund, is a neat edifice, standing on rising ground, approached on one side by a flight of brick steps, and on the other by a gradual ascent, ornamented with a row of lime trees. It has a nave, with aisles, (62 feet long, and 45 broad,) built of rag-stone, and covered with lead, and has at the west end a square tower, with five bells, and buttresses, quoins, &c., of freestone, crowned by a small spire of wood covered with lead. The vault of the nave is supported by pillars and ten arches; and at the west end is a gallery, the front of which is beautifully veneered and ornamented. The ancient octangular font has shields on each side, bearing emblems of several Saints and the Passion. The chancel is camerated, and measures in length 34 feet, and breadth 16 feet.
At the bridge there was anciently a hermitage, and near the church were several monastic buildings, the largest of which was a Priory, or cell of Benedictine monks, the site of which is occupied by the rectory-house. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the King's Book at £6 13s. 4d., and now having a yearly rent charge of about £500, awarded in lieu of tithes, in 1841. William Francks, Esq., is patron, and the Rev. John Richd. Thackeray, M.A., of Hadley, Hertfordshire, is incumbent.
In the town are four dissenting CHAPELS, belonging to the Particular Baptists, the Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists, and the Society of Friends, though there are none of the latter sect now resident in the parish.
Petty Sessions are held every Monday, at the office of Messrs. Bell and Hett. The large Union Workhouse at Downham, is noticed at page 609 [which is the entry for Clackclose Hundred]. A commodious National School, attended by about 90 boys and 80 girls, was built here in 1841; and in the same year a Savings' Bank, for the town and neighbourhood, was opened. Mr. Joseph Harrison, editor of the Floricultural Cabinet, has an extensive garden and nursery, on the Lynn road. The Downham Division of the West Norfolk Agricultural Association, holds an annual meeting in the town.
The CHURCH ESTATE, mostly acquired or received in exchange at the enclosure, in 1802, consists of a house and garden, and about 33A. of land, let for £93 16s. per annum, which is applied in the service of the church. At a vestry meeting, in 1813, it was determined to lay out about £1,300 in repairing the church. A Committee, of whom the rector was one, borrowed £1,000, and the repairs were proceeded with, but no faculty was obtained till after the work was completed. After a long litigation with part of the parishioners, the Committee were deterred, by the fear of expense, from attempting to recover more than £1,500, which they had laid out, either from the parish or the church estate.
In 1660, the REV. THOMAS BATCHCROFT, D.D., left £100 to be laid out in land, and the rents to be distributed among the poor in fuel and clothing. The land purchased, comprises nearly 7A., let for £34 a year, subject to a deduction for drainage tax, &c. The poor parishioners have also £2 a year, left by JOHN SAFFERY, in 1687, out of land at Wimbotsham. At the enclosure of the fen lands, &c., about 100A., called the HUNDRED ACRE COMMON, was vested with the churchwardens of Downham Market, Wimbotsham, and Stow Bardolph, in trust, that, after paying the drainage rates and other expenses, the clear yearly rents should be divided into three parts, for distribution among the poor of these parishes. The Eau-Brink and Downham drainage taxes, on this land, amount to about £25 per annum, and it is now let for £60 a year. An Act for more effectually draining the fen lands, &c., in these and nine other parishes, was obtained in the 4th of Wm. IV.
POST OFFICE at Mr. George Scarnell's, Market-place. Letters despatched to London and the S.W. and N., at a ¼ past 8 evening; to Lynn, Wells, &c., at ½ past 5 morning; to Stradsett, Setch, &c., at ½ past 6 morning; and to Denver, Southery, &c., (by foot post) at 7 or 8 morning.
In the following DIRECTORY OF DOWNHAM MARKET, those marked 1 reside in Bexwell-road; 2 Bridge-road; 3 Bridge-street; 4 Denver-road; 5 High-street; 6 Salamanca-place; 7 Lynn-road; 8 Market-place; 9 North-Delph; 10 Paradise-lane; 11 Parson's-lane; 12 Union-terrace; and 13 in Regent-street.
11 Addison William fishmonger 5 Andrews Richard gentleman 11 Beeston John Dunn gentleman 6 Beeten Edmund gentleman 4 Bell Francis Brown solicitor, and clerk to magistrates 3 Brecken George excise officer 7 Bunkall Mr. Wm. 3 Clark Misses 5 Cole Jno. dyer 3 Crockford Mrs. H. 2 Dixon John gent. 7 Dyson Thos. civil engineer, Retreat 7 Hall Mr. T. Herring Thomas coach builder Hett Edward solicitor, Union clerk & superintendent registrar 3 Hobson George corn miller 3 Horsley Matthew Coats gentleman 1 Jameson Rev. Philip (Wes. Min.) 7 Knowles John postman 3 Lemon Mr. Hy. Long Jno. constable 4 Markham Mrs. Sarah 3 Merrington Chas. corn, &c., mercht. 3 Mumford Chas. land agent & survyr. 3 Mumford George fellmonger, tanner, & wool merchant 5 Murrell Rt. Newman solr.'s clerk 4 Oldham Mrs. Elizabeth 5 Palmer John sheriff's officer 3 Patterson James physician 2 Rawling Samuel brick mkr., flower & chimney pot, &c. manufacturer 7 Reed Mrs. My. Ried Rev. John curate 2 Rose Mrs. Emma Rose Thos. Negus govnr. Workhouse Savage Mr. Jno. 6 Smith Thomas relieving officer 7 Snelling William coal dealer 10 Southgate Samuel fellmonger and leather dresser 7 Thompson Sus. furniture broker 4 Tiffin Roger land surveyor Tongate Mr. Wm. 5 Tooley Jas. leather cutter (& Swffm.) 5 True Frederick iron founder, agrcl. implement mnfr., bar iron, &c., merchant, Phœnix Foundry 12 Ward Benj. gent. Ward Geo. Augustus corn millers, seed crushers, mustard & Co. mfrs., corn, coal & spirit merchants, brewers, and maltsters 2 Wenn Mary coal dealer 3 Weston Mr. W. 3 Whittome James millwright, brass founder, & machine maker 7 Withnoe Mr. Thomas 3 Wood Thomas corn merchant, &c. 3 Wood & corn and coal merchants, Mumford maltsters, &c. Wright Robins Steed corn, coal, and spirit merchant, brewer, & maltster ATTORNEYS. 3 Bell & Hett (clerks to magistrates) 7 Coulcher Martin (coroner for Clackclose Hundred) 3 Reed Thos. Lancelot (sec. to West Norfolk Agricultural Society) 5 Townley Wm. (coroner for the Half Hundred of Clackclose) BANKS. 5 Gurneys & Co., (of Lynn) Thomas Wright, agent, (Stamp Office) 3 Savings' Bank, (open Saturday) Edward Johnson, secretary FIRE & LIFE OFFICES. Equitable Joseph Twydell 5 Farmers' Thomas L. Reed 3 Norwich Union Bell & Hett 3 Royal Exchange C. Mumford 5 Sun Frederick True INNS & TAVERNS. 5 Bull John Oakes 2 Bridge House John Johnson, sen. 5 Castle Inn, (posting) Thos. Harris 7 Chequers Richard Fairchild 5 Coffee Pot Samuel Edison 5 County & Provident W. Bartram 8 Crown Inn, (posting) Sar. Powell 8 Hat & Feather Henry Glasscock (whip-thong manufacturer) 3 Queen's Head William Brown 5 Rampant Horse Robert Brown 9 Red Hart Thomas Gregory 5 Swan Inn Ozias Fuller 9 Swan Wm. Kay, North Delph 3 White Hart John Capurn Brown Academies. (* take Boarders.) 7 Burnard Sarah 11 Challis Benj. 7*Dunlop Archbd. *Goodrick Isaac Hill House 7*Johnson Edw. Ullyett Jph. S. & Mary Ann National School Wright Maria Auctioneers. 5 Mumford and Casebow 5 Wallis Ambrose Bakers and Confectioners. 5 Baldwin Wm. 7 North Sarah & Charlotte 3 Clark Edward 8 Poll Charles 3 Clark John 7 Snelling Thomas 3 Hobson George 8 Wright James 4 Moore Joseph Basket Makers. 3 Burman Wm. 3 Daines Wright 7 Gooden Richard Beer Houses. 7 Beets Thomas, 3 Mann George (and glover) 3 Mann James 4 Cawdron James 7 Melton Robert 3 Coates James 7 Roberts John 3 Ely Thomas 3 Rose Thomas 2 Fenton William 2 Snelling Joseph 9 Jackson John 7 Stevens John 3 Mace Francis Blacksmiths. 3 Benstead Daniel 3 Hudson John 7 Parnell William 1 Taylor Tiffin W. 5 Vince Robert Booksellers, &c. 8 Scarnell George Post Office 5 Thorogood Robt. (and printer) 3 Twydell Joseph (printer & surveyor) Boot & Shoemakers. 8 Andrews John 1 Loose Robert 3 Banham Thomas 7 Parker William 3 Brighton Wm. 3 Savage Osborn 11 Fretwell Wm. 3 Vince William 7 Kinney John Braziers & Tinners. 1 Coe Robert 5 Newell Pearson Bricklayers. (* are Stonemasons) 3 Bennett William 7 Harper Noah 7 Juler Henry 7 Melton Robert Butchers. 5 Brown J.C. 3 Lack William 8 Bunkall Keen 3 Scott William 5 Bunkall W., jun. 7 Smart Elizabeth 3 Coe William 3 Smart William 3 Gamble Samuel 7 Vincent James 3 Haylett Robert Cabinet Makers, &c. 5 Casebow Wm. 5 Langman John Chemists & Druggists. 5 Baker Patrick 8 Cowper John FARMERS. 1 Brown Bennet 1 Chapman Wm. 9 Farrer Thomas 7 Savage Dynn 9 Ward Robert 2 Whyer Robert Gardeners & Nurserymen. 7 Harrison Joseph Mount Pleasant 3 Stebbing Zach. Green Grocers. 3 Eagle Elizabeth 3 Jackson Mary GROCERS AND DRAPERS. 5 Bartram Wm. 3 Scott James 3 King William 5 Snasdell Joel 5 Oakes William 7 Terrington Wm., (and 3 Savory William chandler) 8 Scarnell Geo., jun Hair Dressers. 5 Crisp William 8 Willimot John 3 Willimot J., jun. Ironmongers. 5 Mole Charles Tingey 5 True Frederick 5 Wallis Ambrose 5 Weston George Joiners, &c. 7 Bennett Thos. 4 Harpley Joseph 11 Cater Henry 11 Harpley Wm. 5 Cowper Thomas 7 Juler Henry 3 Flatman John 7 Smith Thomas 12 Goose James Linen and Woollen Drapers. (See also Grocers.) 7 Sewell William 5 Vince Wm., and Reddington W. [See note below] Milliners, &c. 3 Banham My. Ann 3 Raby Harriet 7 Carter Eliza 3 Rawling My. Ann 5 Clark Miss 3 Riches My. Ann 1 Holland My. Ann 3 Shinn Sarah 3 Johnson Eliza & Sophia 7 Wright Maria Painters, Plumbers, and Glaziers. 3 Mallett James 8 Spencer Robert 7 Weston Thomas Saddlers & Patten Makers. 5 Glasscock James 3 Steggles William Shopkeepers. 3 Brown John 7 Reeson Robert 3 Clark Edward 3 Weston Jonah 9 Copeman M.B. 3 Wignall Rachel 2 Kendall Martha 7 Wilkin Ann Stone Masons. 6 Brown William 3 Hainsworth Fdk. 5 Long Edmund SURGEONS. 5 Hunter Chpr., M.R.C. 3 Patterson James, M.D. 5 Wales Thomas Garneys TAILORS. 1 Bailey William 5 Hourston Thos. and Son 5 Bennett Arthur 3 Lock Stephen 3 Bunkall Barker 5 Long Charles 3 Bunkall Charles 3 Searle Richard (& clothier) 7 Bunkall Henry 5 Warnes William 7 Coulcher Wm. Veternry. Surgns. 4 Betts James 5 Calver Benjamin Howes 5 Heffer Robert Watch Makers. 5 Howes Benjamin 5 Giscard Wm. (& furniture brkr.) Wheelwrights. 3 Snasdell Joseph 1 Swinger John 1 Taylor Tiffin Westwood 3 Whittome James Whitesmiths. 5 True Frederick 5 Wallis Ambrose
Note: in the original this is:
5 Vince Wm., and Reddington W.
See also the Downham Market parish page.
Copyright © Pat Newby.