About a century ago a fire consumed the greater part of the town, but it was rebuilt in an improved style, and the market-place is distinguished for neatness: the inhabitants are well supplied with water. There is a book society, the members of which meet monthly, to exchange publications, and manage its concerns.
The market, which was formerly held on Saturday, has fallen into disuse, in consequence of its being on the same day as the principal market of Norwich: the fairs are held on the 7th of March, Whit-Tuesday, and October 2nd; the first is chiefly for horses, and the last for different kinds of live stock.
General courts baron and customary courts, for the manors of Hingham, Hingham-Gurney, and Hingham rectory, are held annually on the 25th of October. The town being part of the ancient demesne of the crown, the inhabitants are exempted from serving on juries at the assizes and sessions.
The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry of Norfolk, and diocese of Norwich, rated in the king's books at £24. 18. 4., and in the patronage of Lord Wodehouse.
The church, dedicated to St. Andrew, is a fine structure, chiefly in the decorated style of English architecture, with a handsome tower of flint and stone; it was rebuilt in the reign of Edward III., by the rector, Remigius de Hethersete, aided by the then patron, John le Marshall: it had anciently seven chantry chapels, and as many guilds.
Against the north wall of the chancel is a noble monument, erected to the memory of Thomas Parker, Lord Morley, who died in 1435; and on the east window of Trinity chapel are emblazoned the arms of Morley: the chapel itself is supposed, from the fragment of an inscription, to have been built at the expense of the young women of the place. The east window of the chancel, presented by Lord Wodehouse in 1812, is of fine ancient stained glass, brought from a nunnery in the Netherlands: it is thirty-six feet high, and eighteen feet wide, and is divided into seven compartments, emblematical of the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension of our Saviour.
The free school was founded by William Parlett, in 1727, for the education of all the sons of the inhabitants of Hingham, and one son of any inhabitant of the adjoining parish of Scoulton, except the minister, in reading, writing, arithmetic, Latin, and Greek; but the English and classical branches now form separate schools: the master of the grammar school has a good house; and the proceeds of an estate at Hingham, amounting to £156 per annum, are divided between the masters of the classical and English schools, in the ratio of two-thirds to the former, and one-third to the latter.
A National school, in which fifty boys and fifty girls are taught, is supported by subscription; the master has a salary of £25 a year.
Copyright © Pat Newby.