[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.
Copyright © Pat Newby.