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Norfolk: Gillingham

William White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk 1883

[Transcription copyright © Pat Newby]

GILLINGHAM ALL SAINTS and ST. MARY now form one consolidated parish, and the pleasant village of Gillingham adjoins the marshes on the north side of the Waveney, 1 mile N. of Beccles, and 16 miles S.E. of Norwich. It is in Loddon union, Clavering hundred and petty sessional division, Beccles county court district, East Brooke rural deanery, Norfolk archdeaconry, Yarmouth bankruptcy district, and Toft Monks polling district of South Norfolk. It had 450 inhabitants in 1881, living on 2008 acres, and has a rateable value of £3513.

The parish is mostly in J. Kerrich, Esq.'s, manor of Stockton-with-the-Soke; but a great part of the soil belongs to Vice-Admiral Eden, who resides at Gillingham hall, a handsome mansion of white brick, standing on a bold eminence, surrounded by a beautiful lawn and plantation, and built by the father of the first Sir Nicholas Bacon. The wharf, warehouses, &c., at the north end of Beccles Bridge, are in this parish. A very perfect denarius of Alexander Severus, and three pennies of Henry III. were found here some years ago.

Winston and Windell, two decayed parishes, have long been lost in the bounds of Gillingham, the former being consolidated with All Saints in 1440, and the latter in 1449. No vestige of their churches, which were both dedicated to St. Andrew, remains, though their sites are well known. The boundary of All Saints and St. Mary's is but little known; the two rectories, valued in the King's Book at £10 6s. 8d., being consolidated in 1748, when All Saints' Church was taken down, except the tower, which is now thickly mantled with ivy. Its burial ground is still used.

The CHURCH (St. Mary), on the opposite side of the road, is a fine specimen of pure Norman architecture, apparently built in the reign of Henry I. Its plan is very peculiar, being divided lengthwise into five parts - a western compartment, a tower, a nave, a chancel, and an apse. The western part is more than a mere porch, as it opens into the tower, not by a door, but by an arch similiar to that between the tower and the eastern part of the church; and the tower, being somewhat narrower than the nave and this compartment, is supported by arches to the north and south, as though it were the centre of a cross church. There is an arch between the nave and chancel, and also between the chancel and apse. There are modern aisles to the nave which are separated from it by three Norman arches, supported on massive shafts, having moulded bases and carved capitals, &c., both on the north and south sides.

The tower is of four stages, and contains three bells. The roof of the nave is of the hammer-beam kind, supported by corbels with winged angels; and the seats are good open benches. The flooring of both nave and chancel is formed of monumental slabs of black polished marble, and the rest of the church is paved with Staffordshire tiles. The apse is divided into three bays with shafts, &c., supporting moulded ribs, intersecting in the centre. It is enclosed by mediæval iron standards with oak capping, and contains three pretty Norman windows filled with rich stained glass by Mrs. Farr, in memory of her father, the late R.K. Cobbold, Esq. Under each of the windows is arranged double-arched stonework supported upon shafts and corbels, forming deeply recessed panels and serving as a reredos. The two remaining windows of the chancel have been filled with stained glass in memory of the late J.L. Farr, Esq., and his lady, by their children. The stoup remains near the south door.

In 1859, the whole building underwent a complete restoration at a cost of £1100, chiefly contributed by Lady George Beresford, Admiral and Mrs. Eden, and the rector; and in 1869 the south aisle was added. Some of the windows in this aisle are filled with stained glass, placed by Mr. Brundell in memory of members of his family. Part of a beautifully illuminated Perpendicular screen was discovered behind the Hall pew during the alterations. Here are tablets of the Lewis, Hussey, and Athow families, and also one to Sir Nicholas Bacon, Bart.

The rectory is in the patronage of Admiral and Mrs. Eden, and in the incumbency of the Rev. A. Dampier, M.A., who has a good residence about a mile west of the church. The NATIONAL SCHOOL, a neat building with residence for the mistress, was built in 1863, at the sole expense of Mrs. Eden. The glebe is 65A. 1R. 30P., and the tithes were commuted in 1840 for £482 18s. 1d. per annum. The Town Lands, &c., consist of 10A. 12P., and two tenements called the Leet-House, given by an unknown donor, and now let for £18 a year; and 18A. 1R. 35P., let for £45 a year, and given in 1596 by Edward Everard. The rents are applied yearly as follows:- About £30 in distributions of coal among the poor; and the remainder in the service of the church.

POST from Beccles arrives at 8 a.m., leaves at 6.30 p.m., on Sundays at 1.25 p.m.

	Barber   Miss Mary Ann       dressmaker
	Boggis   Joseph              farmer and overseer
	Bond     William             market gardener
	Boon     Martin              saddler and victualler, Swan Inn
	Brock    John                farmer, Winston hall
	Brundell John Mapes          farmer and plumber, &c. Beccles
	Cann     Mrs Eliza           farmer, Ivy house
	Dampier  Rev. Augustus, M.A. rector, The Rectory
	Darby    Edward Charles      manure agent (Lawes & Co.)
	Darby    Samuel              whol. and retail coal, slate, &
	                               English & foreign timber merchant,
	                               and sawmill proprietor, barge
	                               owner, wharfinger and water carrier, 
	                               Waveney Saw Mills, & brick maker, 
	                               sanitary tube, tile, pipe, &c. mnfr.
	                               Victoria Brick Works, Beccles
	Dowe     George              farmer, Hill house
	Ebbs     Joseph              farmer, Boundary farm
	Eden     Admiral Henry, J.P. The Hall; and 45 Eaton square,
	                               London, S.W.
	Falgate  Walter              grocer and draper
	Frost    Miss Annie          schoolmistress
	Gowing   John                parish clerk, sexton and thatcher
	Hawes    Jonathan            market gardener
	Merry    James Mobbs         shoemaker
	Mills    Arthur              wheelwright and joiner
	Osborne  William             blacksmith
	Owles    Mrs Harriet
	Poll     George Henry        farmer, Lodge farm
	Stammers Mrs Harriet         cowkeeper
	Thacker  Mr James
	Tripp    Geo.                blacksmith, assistant overseer,
	                               assessor and collector of taxes
	Tripp    John                farmer, Rose farm
	Watts    Charles Henry       farmer

See also the Gillingham parish page.

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Copyright © Pat Newby.
October 2015