HARPLEY is a parish and pleasant village on the crown and declivities of a lofty eminence, 12½ miles E.N.E. of Lynn, in Freebridge Lynn union, hundred, and petty sessional division, Lynn county court and bankruptcy district, Massingham polling district of West Norfolk, and Lynn (Norfolk) rural deanery of Norwich archdeaconry. It had 425 inhabitants in 1881, and comprises 2193 acres of land, including an extensive sheep-walk. The rateable value is £2549.
The Marquis of Cholmondeley is lord of the manor and owner of about 1650 acres, and the rest belongs to the Rev. N.J. Raven, except 90A. of glebe and 14A. of church land. In the 35th of Edward I. (1307), John de Gournay obtained a grant for an annual fair to be held here on July 25; but it is not now held.
The CHURCH (St. Lawrence) stands near the summit of the hill, and commands an extensive view of the surrounding country. It was built by Sir Robert Knowls, a famous general in the reigns of Edward III. and Richard II., and comprises nave with aisles and clerestory, chancel (restored in 1876 by Horace Beck, Esq., at a cost of £670), south porch, and south-western tower with five bells. It is of mixed Decorated and Perpendicular architecture, and was restored in 1806, at a cost of £1050. Some of the windows contain fragments of ancient stained glass. The rood screen, painted and gilt, which was restored in 1877, at a cost of £82 10s., and the staircase which anciently led to the rood loft, still remain.
In the nave is a number of old benches with carved poppies and figures of bishops, much mutilated. The chancel contains sedilia, and a piscina with a double drain; and the south aisle is similiarly provided. On the south side of the chancel is a small lychnoscope, and in the north wall a recess for the Easter sepulchre. In the pavement is a slab, stripped of its brasses, having a marginal inscription to John de Gournay, a former rector, and covering a grave in which a chalice was found in 1820. The south doorway bears mutilated figures of bishops and angels, and the porch has two windows on each side, and three niches in front. The parapet of the south aisle is richly panelled.
The rectory, valued in the King's Book at £22, is in the gift of Horace Beck, Esq., and incumbency of the Rev. Harry Edward Beck, M.A., who has a good residence, and a yearly rent-charge of £460 in lieu of tithes.
The SCHOOL was built by the lord of the manor in 1845, and is attended by 90 children. The Gospel hall, which contains 300 sittings, is occupied by the Methodist New Connexion, and was erected a few years ago at a cost of £350, the site being given by Mr. William Norman. The Primitive Methodist chapel, built in 1871 at a cost of £420, contains 170 sittings.
Harpley participates in the benefits of the free school at Great Massingham, and the parishioners have yearly doles of 16s., left by John Martin, in 1637; and £3 3s. from Gonville and Caius College, as the gift of Stephen Peirse, who died in 1615. In 1849, William Herring, Esq., left five tenements for ten poor people, and endowed them with 4s. a week for each inmate; but in 1850 Mr. Edward Beck built eight neat almshouses in lieu of them. Mr. Herring also left £20 per annum for a distribution of coals to the poor, £10 a year towards the support of the school, and £200 as a repairing fund for the almshouses.
POST OFFICE at Mr. James Mountain's. Letters arrive at 7.30, and are despatched at 5.15 p.m., viâ Rougham, which is the nearest Money Order Office.
Angell John bootmaker Balding William vict. Rose & Crown, and carpenter Bartle Abraham farmer Bartle Henry butcher Beck Rev. Harry Edwd. M.A. rector, The Rectory Beck Horace farmer and landowner Beeton John Dunn grocer, draper, assistant overseer, and agent for the Imperial Fire & Life, & Norwich & London Accident Offices Body John grcr. drpr. bricklyr. & bldr Butcher Nathaniel gardener, seedsman and florist Carpenter Mrs. Susannah shopkeeper Carter Henry greengrocer, fish dealer and carrier Claxton Edward vict. White Lion Claxton Francis bootmaker Fake Mrs Sarah baker Forster Mrs Ann Grieves James schoolmaster Mountain Charles blacksmith Mountain James postmaster Norman Wm. John corn miller, corn, cake, and seed merchant, & farmer Osbourne Robert plumber, glazier, painter, and paperhanger Porter Charles bootmaker Porter Robert parish clerk, coal agent, and carrier Simpson Alfred baker and farmer Spinks Jno. Masters frmr. Harpley hall Steel James plumber, glazier, painter, and paperhanger Steel William carpenter Tingay Edward farmer; h Rudham Tingay Mr Frederick Vincent Thomas farm bailiff
CARRIERS to Lynn, Robert Porter, Tues. Thurs. and Sat.; and Henry Carter, Tues. and Sat.
Beeston (not Beeton), John Dunn, removed to Bircham (Great), where insert his name and business.
Copyright © Pat Newby.