FELTWELL is a parish and a large village, 6 miles W.N.W. of Brandon, and 6 miles S. of Stoke-Ferry, in Thetford union, Grimshoe hundred, Thetford county court district, Norwich bankruptcy district, and southern division of Cranwich rural deanery, and Norfolk archdeaconry. The parish includes Feltwell St. Mary, and St. Nicholas, which are in Grimshoe petty sessional division and Southrey [sic] polling district of West Norfolk. It had 1681 inhabitants in the year 1881, and comprises 1400 acres of land, including about 1200A. of open common, on which all the tenants have a right of pasturage and fuel. About half the parish is low fen land, for improving the drainage of which a twenty-horse power steam engine was erected in 1835.
A part of the mother parish of St. Mary and St. Nicholas, extending over 6069 acres, and containing 310 inhabitants in 1871, now forms part of the ecclesiastical parish of St. John, Little Ouse, Cambridgeshire, which also includes Feltwell Anchor, a part of Hilgay, in Norfolk, and part of Littleport, in Cambridgeshire (see page 59 [which is the Ecclesiastical History of Norfolk]). A small fair is held at Feltwell on November 20 and 21.
The parish is in several manors, and belongs to a large number of small freeholders, and some copyholders. The Rev. William C. Newcome, who has a neat mansion here, is lord of the capital or chief manor, anciently held by the Bishop of Ely. Mrs. Newcome is lady of South Hall manor; the representatives of the late Rev. E.B. Sparke are lords of Wendlings, Spenvilles, and Duntons manor; and the Masters and Fellows of Christ's College, Cambridge, are lords of the manor of East Hall or Broomhill.
Here are two parish CHURCHES, both of which were thoroughly repaired about the year 1834. St. Mary's, the larger, is a handsome edifice, comprising nave with aisles and clerestory, chancel, and a massive square tower with three bells and a clock. The north aisle was rebuilt in 1862, and furnished with new open benches. It has a fine roof, and the corbels and capitals of the pillars are beautifully carved. Many of the windows are filled with rich stained glass, representing a number of scriptural scenes, chiefly from the New Testament. The piscina, the sedilia, and the stairs which lead to the rood-loft still remain. The nave contains old open benches with carved poppies, and its roof is ornamented with figures of angels. The screen is modern, and has upon it seven figures playing musical instruments. Here are kneeling effigies of Francis and Osbert Mundeford, and a fine brass representing Margaret Mundeford, all of the sixteenth century. There is also a brass to the Rev. William Newcome, who died about fifteen years ago.
St. Nicholas Church is a small pile, on an eminence at the west end of the village, with a tower, round at the base and octagonal above, and containing five bells. It was nearly destroyed by fire in 1494, when 'an indulgence' was granted for its reparation. Its chancel was taken down in 1862, when the rest of the building was repaired; but it is now only used as a mortuary chapel. The Registers date from 1562.
The two rectories are consolidated, and are in the alternate patronage of the Lord Chancellor and the Bishop of Norwich. St Mary's is valued in the King's Book at £14 17s. 3½d., and St. Nicholas's at £19. The Rev. H.T. O'Rorke is the rector, and has a good residence, 160A. of glebe, and a yearly tithe rent-charge of £1328 per annum.
The Wesleyans, Independents, and Primitive Methodists have each a chapel here.
Sir Edmund Mundeford, in 1643, bequeathed about 840A. of low fen land in Feltwell parish, to certain trustees to improve by drainage, &c., and to apply the clear profits, one-third for a distribution of clothing among the poor, and two-thirds for the support of a Free School; but as soon as the clear rents had been augmented to more than £60 a year, he directed all the surplusage above that amount to be applied in founding an almshouse for the aged poor of the parish. Part of the bequeathed land was taken by the Commissioners for the drainage of the Bedford Level. The charity estate now consists of two houses, outbuildings, a draining-mill, and 623A. 1R. 18P. of poor fen-land. The drainage taxes, which, for many years, exceeded the rents, have now been reduced.
Though the trustees were obliged to discontinue the distributions of clothing, and afterwards the schoolmaster's salary, they expended, in 1829, £500 in the erection of an almshouse, divided into eight tenements. According to the donor's will, the clear yearly sums of £40 for the school and £20 for distributions of clothing ought to have been realised before the erection of the almshouse, to which eight poor parishioners are admitted by the trustees, who in 1839 erected a large School, which is conducted on the National system, and attended by boys, who are all educated free. A girls' school was also built about the year 1854, and the pupils pay small sums ranging from 1d. a week to 7s. 6d. a quarter. Good houses for the master and mistress are attached, and an infant school is about to be added.
The Fuel Allotment consists of 360A. of the West Fen, awarded at the enclosure in 1815, for the use of the poor, and now let for £114 a year, out of which about £85 are paid for drainage taxes. Six poor labourers occupy, rent free, 4A. 2R. 19P. of land, received at the enclosure, in exchange for 6A. given by Robert Clough, in 1737, to be so occupied, for the purpose of enabling six poor parishioners to send their children to school. The occupants are to be appointed by the owners of the donor's capital messuage.
As noticed with Foulden, the poor of Feltwell have about £20 every fifth year from Atmere's Charity, for distribution in kersey and flannel. In 1729, the Rev. Thomas Rawlins left for the poor of Feltwell £50, which were laid out in the purchase of 9A. of land at Hockwold, now let for £9 a year, out of which £5 are paid for taxes. About 17 years ago, Miss Pleasance Clough left about £664 13s. 4d. to the poor of this parish, and the interest, amounting to about £20 a year, is distributed on New Year's Day.
POST and MONEY ORDER OFFICE at Mr. William Spencer's. Letters viâ Brandon.
Those with * opposite their names should be addressed Southery, Downham.
Addison Henry hardware dealer Addison Henry jun. painter, plumber, and glazier Archer George surgeon & apothecary, medical officer for Methwold district of Thetford union and Foresters' & Odd Fellows' Societies, and medical referee for Norwich Union & National Provident Insurance offices Armstrong Geo. farmer, Popylot, Fen Ashton Job brazier and blacksmith Ashton Park ironmonger, brazier, and blacksmith Banham Thomas farmer, Fen * Barnes George Henry farmer, Fen * Barnes John Wm. farmer, Fen * Barnes Joseph farmer, Fen Bartlett John Robert seedsman Blyth Rev. Gwyn, B.A. curate Brewington Shedrach bootmaker Brown Mrs Ann Brown Anthony agricultural implemt. proprietor Brown Philip farmer Buckle Hy. cabinet mkr. upholsterer, and shopkeeper Caney George bootmaker Carr William farmer, Fen Cock Greenfield carpenter, builder, wheelwright, hurdle, field-gate, and bin maker, and corn miller Cock Robert beerhouse Cocks Miss Mary Ann grocer and fancy repository Currey William beerhouse Daines John carpenter Day Arthur blacksmith & machinist Edwards - bricklayer Edwards William bricklayer * Feetham James vict. Anchor, and farmer, Fen Foulsham Edward butcher Griffin Mrs Emma frmr. Manor house Gunstone Jacob farmer & landowner Harlock Henry farmer, The Grange Harwin Francis King butcher Heading Henry farmer & landowner, Cambridge house * Hollox John beerhouse, Fen Hudson John farmer Johnson George baker, miller, & corn merchant Kelland John victualler, Oak Tree, and veterinary surgeon King Horace Edmund bkr. & confctr King Francis butcher, grocer, & frmr Kingdon James inland revenue officer Lambert Daniel farmer Lambert William farmer and landowner, Glebe farm Lambley Mrs Martha grazier Leach Miss Susan Elizabeth Leach Mr Thomas Macnalley Miss Mary Ann day and boarding school Maggs James vict. Ship Inn, Fen Minns John farm bailiff, Shrubb hill Morley Miss Elizabeth schoolmistress Nattriss Mark schoolmaster Newcome Mrs Amelia The Hall Newcome Lieut. Frncs. D'Arcy The Hall Olliff Robt. grcr. pork btchr. & beerhse O'Rorke Rev. Hy. Thos. M.A. rector Palmer Jonathan grocer, draper, and wine and beer retailer Parker George grocer, draper, and clothier; and (h) Northwold Pearson John bricklayer Pightling Samuel farm bailiff Prior Mrs Susan druggist & stationer Pryer Edward farmer Pryer Robert farmer and landowner, Elm Tree farm Ray Frederick bootmaker Rice Robert farmer Rice Robert victualler, Chequers Richardson Walter tailor Riches John carpenter & wheelwright Rix Thos. Lincoln assessor & collector of taxes, and agent for the Norwich Union Fire office Rolph Richard farmer Rolph Robert farm bailiff Rowe Miss Sarah Ann Rudland Henry farmer & parish clerk Rudland Mrs Mary farmer Secker John farm bailiff Shearing Rudd Wilson carpenter, wheelwright, and blacksmith * Simpson Thomas engineer, Fen * Smith Charles farmer, Fen Southgate William turf dealer Sparke Mrs Catherine Spencer Mrs Elizabeth vict. The Cock Spencer Francis plmbr. glzr. painter, and farmer Spencer William assistant overseer, land surveyor, and postmaster Spencer Wm. jun. frmr. & land agent Stallon Edward farmer Stallon John beerhouse and farmer * Starling Robert farmer, Fen Stebbings William farm bailiff Steward Samuel saddler Taylor John beerhouse Turnell Jabez grocer and draper Upcher Henry Morris, Esq. J.P. Upcraft Walter farmer & bootmaker Watts Joseph bootmaker Watts Josiah bootmaker West Mrs Elizabeth (exors. of), frmrs West Mrs Susannah Whitmore Henry tailor and shopkpr Whitmore Mrs Mary Whitmore John Taylor blacksmith, coal merchant, and farmer Whittle George farmer Willingham William beerhouse
Copyright © Pat Newby.