[Transcription copyright © Peter Green]
HAPPISBURGH, commonly called Hasbro', 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 15 S.E. by E. of Cromer. Its parish is in the union of Smallburgh, Happing hundred, North Walsham county court district, Happing and Tunstead petty sessional division, Norwich bankruptcy district, archdeaconry of Norfolk, rural deanery of Waxham, and Stalham polling district of North Norfolk. It had 547 inhabitants in 1881, living on 1953 acres. The rateable value is £4205 10s. and gross estimated rental of £4834 15s.
The soil belongs to a number of proprietors, but the representatives of the late Messrs. Andrew & Cubitt Johnson Siely are joint lords of the manor, which was anciently held by the Parkers, who had here and at Eccles many privileges and customs, among 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 of flint and stone, consisting of nave with aisles and clerestory, chancel, south porch with parvise, and fine embattled tower containing five bells and rising to the height of 112 feet. The font is octagonal, and bears carved representations of the symbols of the evangelists. The chancel screen, holy water stoup, and piscina, still remain. The building, which has been recently restored at a cost of over £2000, stands 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 away by the tides and storms, that it is more than probable that at some future time the church will be engulfed in the ocean, like the neighbouring church of Eccles.
The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the King's Book at £6 6s. 8d., and now in the patronage of the Bishop of Norwich. The Rev. James Slater, M.A., is the incumbent, and has a good residence, built in 1857 at a cost of £1000, and since enlarged. The tithes have been commuted for £687 to the Bishop, as appropriator of the rectory, and £230 to the vicar: but owing to the encroachments of the sea, these sums are now somewhat reduced. The vicarial glebe is 2 acres.
The Primitive Methodists have a small chapel here, built in 1862.
In 1727 the Rev. Jonathan Chaloner charged his estates, now belonging to Lord Suffield, with the following yearly payments, amounting to £21 per annum: viz. £10, for the education of poor children of Happisburgh and Lessingham; and £5 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, which is a large and handsome red brick structure of Gothic architecture, erected in 1861 at a cost of £600, raised by subscription and a Government grant.
The Poor's Allotment, 3A. 3R. 28P., awarded at the enclosure is let for £10 a year, which is distributed amongst the poor parishioners, who have also 30s. a year from several rent-charges, left by Robert Smith, Mary Williams, and Mr. Alison; and 21s. a year from the charities of James Scamler, from which the clerk has 2s. 6d., and the vicar £4 6s. 8d. for four sermons. Charles Summers, son of a late schoolmaster here, gave some years ago 10A. 3R. 27P. of land at East Ruston, in trust to apply the yearly rent as follows:- £5 in monthly distributions of bread at the parish church; £3 towards the support of the School; and the remainder to a gratuity fund in aid of the clothing club. The land is now let for £26 per annum.
There are TWO LIGHTHOUSES, one 90, and the other 70 feet high, distant 775 yards from each other. These, originally built in 1791, and then lighted with coal fires burnt in the open air, have been frequently altered, so as to keep pace with the advance of science as applied to lighthouse construction and illumination. At present the illuminating power used is Cannel coal gas, produced by special apparatus manufactured by Messrs. Edmundson of Dublin from patented designs furnished by Mr. Wigham. These are the only lighthouses in England which are lighted with gas manufactured on the premises.
This magnificent white fixed light is directed and distributed from the lanterns (20 feet high) placed on the top of each tower, by beautifully finished lenses aided by refracting and totally reflecting prisms of glass, designed and manufactured, for the Honourable Trinity Corporation, by Messrs. C. Lance, of Birmingham. These lights can, by a special arrangement of the patentees, be instantly increased or diminished in power, as the condition of the atmosphere may require. These lights may been seen in clear weather a distance of 25 to 30 miles, they light mariners through 'Haisborough gat' [sic].
On a clear day the cathedral spire at Norwich, together with some 40 church towers, can be seen from the summit of the High Light Tower.
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 fog-horn, worked by a powerful caloric engine, is sounded on the vessel every ten minutes. At the north end of Haisborough sand, off the coast, is another floating light vessel, with two fixed lights and a flag, moored in 13 fathoms.
The Coastguard Station was established here in 1820, and has an officer and three men. A new station was built in 1879, as the present one is in danger of being swallowed up by the ocean. There is a Lifeboat Station, established in 1866.
POST AND MONEY ORDER OFFICE AND SAVINGS BANK at David Ducker's. Letters from Norwich viâ Stalham, arrive at 8.45 a.m., and depart at 2.15 p.m.
Bartram Mrs Mary Ann Blackburn Mrs Juliana vict. Hill Hotel Bond George farmer Cannon John coxswain to lifeboat Clements Benj. blksmth & vict. Swan Inn Cooper Wm. Brett grocer & draper Ducker David grocer, draper, assist. overseer, rate collector & postmaster Ducker Miss Harrt. Frances schlmstress Faulke James farmer Frarey Mrs Mary miller and farmer Galbraith Mr Donald Green William parish clerk Hemp Robert shoemaker Humphries Mr Joseph Ireson Wm. James Cooke beerhouse and shopkeeper Mears Wm. Thomas chief coastguard boatman Mole William farm bailiff Palmer John farmer and owner Payne William shopkeeper and parish clerk for Walcott Purdy James carrier Siely James farmer Siely John farmer and owner Slater Rev. James, M.A. vicar, The Vicarage Slipper Benjamin Shipley farmer and owner, The Hall Spurr Frederick lighthouse officer Suffling William thatcher Thirst Thomas farmer and owner Thompson John farmer & blacksmith Watts Henry farmer Wenn Wm. farmer; h Walcott Wilkinson Jno. fmr.; h Nth. Walsham Wittleton Robt. farmer, Manor farm Young Mrs Bathsheba grocer & drprCARRIER - James Purdy, to Norwich, Wed. and Sat.
See also the Happisburgh parish page.
Copyright © Pat Newby.