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Norfolk: Happisburgh

William White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk 1845

[Transcription copyright © Peter Green]

HAPPISBURGH, commonly Haisborough, is a considerable village, scattered on the summit and declivities of the sea-bank, 4 miles N. of Stalham, 7 miles E. of North Walsham, and 14 miles S.E. by E. of Cromer. Its parish has 631 souls and 1953A. of land. It has two herring and several small fishing-boats. The soil belongs to a number of proprietors; but Mr. Andrew Siely, of Walcot, is lord of the manor, which was anciently held by the Parkers, who had here, and at Eccles, many privileges and customs; amongst which were, view of frankpledge, waif, wreck, free warren, free fishing, gallows, tumbrel, &c. The copyholds are subject to fines certain.

The Church (St. Mary,) is a lofty pile, with a fine embattled tower, 112 feet high, standing on an elevated point of land, within a short distance of the sea-cliff, which, rising perpendicularly, and having an under stratum of sand and gravel, is so continually wasted by the agitation of the tides and storms, that it is calculated the church will be engulphed in the ocean before the close of the ensuing century, the sea having encroached upwards of 170 yards during the last sixty years.

The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the King's Book at £6. 6s. 8d. The Rev. Charles Birch is the incumbent, and the Bishop of Norwich is the patron and appropriator of the rectorial tithes, which are held by G. Wilkinson, Esq., and two smaller lessees, and have been commuted for £687, and the vicarial tithes for £230 per annum.

In 1727, the Rev. Jonathan Chaloner charged his estates, now belonging to Lord Suffield, with the following yearly payments, amounting to £20 per annum, viz., £10, for the education of poor children of Happisburgh and Lessingham; and £6. 14s. to the former, and £4. 6s. to the latter parish, to provide clothing and bread for the poor. In respect of the £6 for education at Happisburgh, several children are instructed at the National School.

There is here a large School, built about 80 years ago, by subscription, upon a piece of waste land, to which three roods were allotted at the enclosure, in 1803. Robert Summers kept this school from about 1770 till his death, in 1831, after which his son claimed it, and the land allotted to it, as his private property.

The Poor's Allotment, 3A. 3R. 28P., awarded at the enclosure, is let for £8. 8s. a year, which is distributed among the poor parishioners, who have also 30s. a year from several rent-charges, left by Robert Smith, Mary Williams, and Mr. Allison; and 21s. a year from the charities of James Scamler, from which the clerk has 2s. 6d., and the vicar £4. 6s. 8d. for a sermon.

There are two LIGHTHOUSES, within a mile S.E. of Happisburgh, or Haisbro,' erected in 1791; one a hundred, and the other eighty feet high. Both are lit with patent lamps and reflectors. The lights are red and fixed, and may be seen at the distance of from 15 to 17 miles in clear weather. They light mariners through Haisborough Gat [sic]. The NEWARP FLOATING LIGHT, at the north end of the Newarp sand, is moored in 21 fathoms, and carries three lights and a flag. During fogs, a gong is sounded on the vessel every ten minutes. The gross amount of light dues received in 1838, for the Haisborough Lighthouses and the Newarp Floating Light, was £4277, and the cost of maintenance during the same year was £5393. At the north end of Haisbro' Sand, off the coast, is another floating light vessel, with two fixed lights and a flag, moored in 13 fathoms. This was established in 1831, and in 1838, its gross receipt of dues was £4281, and its cost of maintenance £1198.

	  Beet       John               wheelwright
	  Birch      Rev Charles        vicar
	  Bird       Peter              vict. Swan
	  Clarke     Thomas             schoolmaster
	  Clipperton Wm.                saddler
	  Cushion    Chpr.              beerhouse and shopr
	  Ducker     Robt.              grocer, boatowner, and agent
	                                  to George Wilkinson, Esq.
	  Fletcher   Charles            Lower Lighthouse
	  Frarey     Thos. Harvey       corn miller
	  Green      Wm.                tailor
	  Hannent    Solomon            parish clerk
	  Kelsey     Wm.                Upper Lighthouse             
	  Knowles    John               joiner, &c.
	  Le Neve    Francis            vict. Hill House
	  Nickels    James              shopkeeper
	  Nickels    Mrs A.
	  Pilch      Henry              baker & boat owner
	  Postle     Mr Augstn.
	  Pye        Joseph & Wm.       farm stewards
	  Riches     Lieut Watson, R.N. coast gd
	  Thompson   John               blacksmith
	  Wright     James              joiner

	     FARMERS. (* are Owners.)

	* Baker      Robt.
	  Cato       Thomas
	* Faulke     James
	  Frarey     Thomas
	* Howes      Wm.
	  Lambert    James
	* Siely      Andrew
	* Siely      James
	  Siely      James, jun.
	  Vincent    George

	     Shoemakers.

	  Martin     John
	  Staff      Stephen
	  Wright     James

CARRIER. Willm. Lack, to Norwich, Wed. and Saturday


See also the Happisburgh parish page.

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Copyright © Pat Newby.
June 1999