FOULSHAM is a small but well-built town, pleasantly situated on the East Norfolk Extension Railway, 8 miles S.E. of Fakenham, 5 miles W.N.W. of Reepham, and 18 miles N.W. of Norwich. Its parish is in Aylsham union and county court district, Norwich bankruptcy district, Eynsford petty sessional division and hundred, Reepham polling district of North Norfolk, Sparham rural deanery, and Norwich archdeaconry. It had 950 inhabitants in 1881 living on 3226 acres, and has a rateable value of £6217. A large portion of the parish was in Themelthorpe common, enclosed in 1811.
Lord Hastings is principal owner of the soil and lord of the manor; but about 600A., with Foulsham Hall, an old farm-house in the Elizabethan style, belong to G.A. Aufrere, Esq. Keeling Hall, one mile to the east, is the property of C.M. Tatham, Esq.; and the Rev. Sir E.R. Jodrell, Bart., the Rev. H. Evans Lombe, Col. W.E.G.L. Bulwer, and Robt. J W. Purdy, Esq., have estates here.
In Domesday Book, Foulsham is described as a royal demesne, being one of the lordships of which Edward the Confessor died possessed. It continued to form part of the domains of the Crown till Richard I. granted it, with many other estates, to Baldwin de Betune, Earl of Albemarle and Holderness, whose daughter Alice carried it in marriage to William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, with whose family it remained till 1317, when it passed by marriage to the Morleys. It was purchased in 1582 by Sir Thomas Hunt, Kt., whose grandson sold it to Sir Jacob Astley, Bart., an ancestor of Lord Hastings.
The market, formerly held here every Tuesday, has long been obsolete; but a fair, for the sale of stock, &c., is still continued on the first Tuesday in May. In the market-place once stood a cross, the foundations of which are still visible on a hoar-frosty morning. Its form was hexagonal, in imitation of those beautiful crosses erected to the memory of Eleanor, Queen of Edward I.
The town suffered greatly by a fire in 1770, which destroyed 14 dwelling-houses, and reduced the church to a ruinous shell. The damage amounted to several thousand pounds, but a collection was made and a play performed at Norwich for the benefit of the sufferers.
There was a church here at the time of the Domesday survey, but its site is unknown. The present CHURCH (Holy Innocents) was probably founded by Sir Robert Morley about the middle of the 14th century, as the lower windows of the chancel, the porch, and other portions are in the style which prevailed at that period; but the greater part of the building is of Late Perpendicular architecture, and appears to have been built by one of the Lords Morley about 1489, and restored to its original form after the great fire in 1770.
It is a large and handsome edifice, comprising nave with aisles, chancel, and south porch. Its lofty square embattled tower, of four stages, contains two bells, and has diagonal buttresses at each corner, terminated by crocketed pinnacles. The porch is now used as a vestry, and before the fire had a parvis, which had served as a schoolroom from time immemorial. There is a clerestory over both the nave and chancel, lighted by numerous large windows, which, like those of the aisles, have nearly flat arches. The nave has a plastered wagon-headed ceiling, but the roof of the chancel is of high pitch. The east window is filled in with stained glass, and several other windows contain fragments of ancient painted glass.
The interior of the building was restored and refitted with open seats in 1859. The sedilia and piscina remain on the south side of the chancel, and opposite to them, over the small north door is a monument to Sir Thomas Hunt, who died in 1616, and is represented in armour with his three wives kneeling behind him. Here is a small oblong brass bearing the following lines:-
In the churchyard is a curious altar monument of stone to the memory of 'Robart Colles and Cecili his vif.'
The rectory, valued in the King's Book at £27 14s. 9½d., has 22A. 3R. 15P. of glebe, and a yearly rent-charge of £780, awarded in 1840 in lieu of tithes. Lord Hastings is patron, and the Rev. Charles Henry Frost, B.A., is incumbent. There is a spacious residence, which was considerably enlarged and improved in 1862.
The Baptist chapel was built in 1826, and the Primitive Methodists chapel in 1871.
A School Board was formed in 1874, and schools, with master's house, were erected at an outlay of £1650. The present board consists of the Rev. C.H. Frost (chairman), W.A. Mesney (vice), and Messrs T.M. Austin, A.G. Gibbs, C.A. Hamond, and for Themelthorpe contributory district, the Rev. R.R. Rackham, and Mr. E. Yarham. Mr. W. Newport is the clerk.
A Reading Room was established, and a Mutual Improvement Society formed in 1877. Mr. S. Blade is the secretary. Foulsham and District Horticultural Society was formed in 1877. The Rev. C.H. Frost is secretary. There is an Oddfellows' lodge at the Ship Inn once a month.
The poor have 9A. of land at Guestwick, left by Richard Fenn in 1563; 6A. 3R. 14P. in this parish, left by Henry Semicroft in 1693; and 5A. 3R. 38P. allotted at the enclosure. The rents of these lands, amounting to £53 10s. per annum, are distributed at Christmas among the poor of the parish. To provide gowns, &c., for poor widows and other poor women of Foulsham, John Chapman, in 1661, left 10A. 2R. 6P. of land now let for £31 a year.
The Church Lands comprise 4A. at Sandhills; two allotments, containing 1A. 20P.; and about 3A. in four pieces; the whole producing a yearly rent of about £15.
In October, 1846, a large solid gold torques, weighing 5½ ounces, and measuring 42 inches in length, was turned up by the plough on Bittering Common, in this parish, and is now in the possession of Lord Hastings.
(see also Addenda).
POST, MONEY ORDER and TELEGRAPH OFFICE and SAVINGS BANK, at Mr. Samuel Gee's. Letters arrive at 7.30 a.m., despatched 5.10 p.m.; and on Sundays arrive at 7.30 a.m., and despatched 10 a.m., viâ East Dereham.
Amiss Wm. shopkeeper Austin Thomas Matthew farmer Austin Watts farmer Balls Miss Martha farmer Barber Cornelius bootmaker & baker Bell Wm. draper, tailor, & ironmonger Blade Samuel grocer, draper, newsagent and collector of taxes, and clerk and attendance officer to School Board Blyth Thos. Hy. builder & contractor Boyle Allan draper and grocer Bush Arthur Wm. farmer Chapman James vict. King's Arms Chapman John gunsmith Chipperfield Marshall engineer and machinist Clarke Mrs Ann Collison Thompson butcher & dealer Cooper Benjamin bootmaker Cooper Miss Sophia day and boarding school Crowe John hairdresser Dack John blacksmith and vict. Bull Dack Matthew farmer Damant Thos. M.R.C.S. L.S.A. and medical officer 3rd district of the Aylsham Union, & public vaccinator Emms Hy. provision dealer Emms Hy. farmer, High house Empson Josiah vict. & machinist Fairman Saml. basket maker Frost Rev. Chas. rector, The Rectory Henry, B.A. Gee Samuel baker & confctnr. parish clerk, postmaster, & assist. overseer Gibbs Alf. Geo. farmer & miller, The Old Hall. Graver John gardener and sexton Groom Thomas beerhouse Hurrell Thomas Mace grocer Jeary Edgar Harvey tailor Lake Samuel farmer Leamon Edmund ironmonger & frmr Leamon Edmund Robt. plmbr. & glzr Leamon Phlp. saddler & harness mkr Long Jeremiah brick and tile manufr Mace Mrs Sarah Ann Maddison Henry Gildon chemist, druggist, dentist, stationer, and agt. for London & Provncl. Ins. Co Maidstone Wm. pork butcher Massingham Henry beerhs. & butcher Massingham Mrs Sarah butcher Mesney Wltr. Alex. fmr. Keeling hall Mildenhall Jno. & Mrs Brd. Sch. tchrs Moore Mrs Ann Newport Walter chemist, druggist, stationer, newsagent, registered accountant, seed & manure merchant, agent for Royal Insurance Co., and agent for Allen Line of steamers Nobbs Wm. fishmonger Overton Capt. Frederick Post Office Samuel Gee postmaster Price Mrs Emily Prior John bootmaker Purdy Mrs Susan Raven Thomas grocer, draper, corn dealer and farmer Theophilis Reyner Mrs Sarah Rix Richard farmer & carrier Russell Edward watchmaker, grocer, & draper Sainty Hy. Chapman baker & corn dlr Springall John vict. White Horse Smith John blacksmith Stroulger Hy. painter & paper hanger, plumber & glazier Stroulger Isaac farmer Stroulger Isaac, jun. farmer Stroulger Wm. farmer Thrower Thomas wheelwright Thurling Peter farmer Towler Mrs Phoebe Turner Jno. grocer, draper & gnrl. dlr Vince Rev. Hy. (Baptist) Wayman Clmnt. Page L.S.A. and public vaccinator for Scott,M.R.C.S. 3rd district, Aylsham Williams Wm. Hy. fmr. & vict. Ship Woodhouse Herbert vet. srgn. & fmr Woodhouse Saml. Jas. bldr. & cntrctr Wright Wm. marine store dealer, coal merchant and furniture broker(See also Addenda.)
R. Rix, to Norwich, on Mon. Wed. and Sat.;
John Holsey to Norwich, Sat.
To Description add
'A fire engine is kept at the engine-house, adjoining the rector's school-room. Mr. John Rosier is superintendent. The Baptists and Primitive Methodists have each a chapel & school here.'
In Directory insert
Amies Wm. shopkeeper and brazier Austin Watts, jun. farmer, Church farm Bullock - fishmonger Butler Jno. farmer Carter Wm. Geo. G.E.R. stationmaster Egmere Chas. sweep & dealer Emms Mr Hy. G. Girling Robt. shoemaker Graver James gardener Gunton - farm steward Hindry Philip, jun. machine proprietor and farmer Hammond Charles A. farmer Ireland (A.W.) millers & corn dealers & Gibbs (A.G.) Lambert Philip bootmaker Leeds Stephen farmer Norton Richardson farmer & dealer Pegg John farmer Phillipo Skinner farmer, Woodrow farm Starling Mrs Ruth coffee and reading rooms Skipper - bootmaker Seaman William carpenter and builder Spooner Geo. baker & confectioner Vince Rev. - (Baptist)
See also the Foulsham parish page.
Copyright © Pat Newby.