FRETTENHAM, 6 miles N. by E. of Norwich, had in its parish 222 inhabitants in 1881, and comprises 1581 acres of land. It is in St. Faith's union, Norwich county court district, and bankruptcy district, Taverham petty sessional division, St. Faith's polling district of South Norfolk, Taverham hundred, Taverham rural deanery and Norwich archdeaconry. It has a rateable value of £2547 15s., and a gross estimated rental of £2845 11s. E. Birkbeck, Esq., M.P., who is lord of the manor, Mr. Middleton, and Mr. J. Wortley of Skeyton are the principal landowners.
The CHURCH (St. Swithin) is a fine old building in the early Decorated style, comprising nave with aisles, chancel, porch, and lofty square tower with two bells. The pillars between the nave and the aisles are quatrefoil and support good arches, and here are some ancient brasses and a piscina. The chancel was rebuilt by the late rector, the Rev. James Shirley, in memory of his wife, and was opened October 13, 1869. In 1873 the present rector effected a partial restoration of the church which is a remarkably handsome and spacious edifice, and out of all proportion to the size of the parish. The windows, which were very old and dilapidated, were renewed and glazed with cathedral glass, and the roof stained and varnished.
In the process of restoration two piscinas were discovered, one in the north, and the other in the south aisle, also a very unique niche in the north aisle on the east side of the north door. Both the piscinas and the niche were blocked up with pieces of Purbeck marble, supposed to be fragments of the pedestal of the font. Surmounting the niche, underneath the whitewash which was nearly an eighth of an inch thick, was some elaborate painting, but it was too obscure for the design to be accurately deciphered, while on various parts of the walls were evident remains of mural figures.
A harmonium, a carved oak lectern (an eagle) after the design of the one at New College, Oxford, a most splendid altar cloth worked by a Clewer sister, as well as a bible, prayer-book, and office-book, bound in carved oak, were presented to the church by the rector and his friends. The cost of the restoration and the different gifts amounted to upwards of £300.
Lord Suffield is patron of the rectory, which was valued in the King's Book at £10, and is now worth £515 a year, with that of Stanninghall annexed. The Rev. Wm. Cooper, M.A. is incumbent, and has a rent-charge of only £5 10s. from Stanninghall. The rectory house is a good brick building near the church, enlarged 1855. The glebe here is 21A., and the tithes have been commuted for £481 per annum, inclusive of Stanninghall.
The SCHOOL BOARD established in 1875, consisting of the Rev. W. Cooper (chairman), E. Birkbeck, Esq., M.P., Joshua Harper, and H.E. Wortley (vice-chairman); Mr. S.J. Utting, clerk. The Board have the lease of the school (built in 1832 and enlarged in 1875), the freehold of which belongs to the rector and churchwardens in trust.
The late Lord Suffield apportioned to each cottage half an acre of land, so that the poor here are in better circumstances than those of most other parishes. The common was enclosed in 1846; and in a field which formed part of it, on the west side of the village, is a remarkable mound, called Court Hills, on which it is said, the manor courts were formerly held.
POST from Norwich, viâ St. Faith's.
BOWMAN William blacksmith COOPER Rev W., M.A. rector, Rectory FRYER Mr Jeremiah HARMAN Wm. joiner, wheelwright and parish clerk HARPER Joshua miller, farmer and owner, overseer and surveyor LODGE Samuel farm bailiff to E. Birkbeck, Esq., M.P., Meyton hall MASON --- victualler, Rose and Crown Inn MIDDLETON Edwd. Plane farmer and owner; h Hindringham PALMER Miss Jessie Board sch. mistrs. READ Mrs. Amelia frmr. Common farm RISEBOROUGH Wm. parish constable & shopkeeper UTTING Thos. Walter farmer; h Stanninghall WORTLEY Horatio Edwd. farmer
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