KIMBERLEY is a small village, scattered round a green, 3½ miles N.W. of Wymondham, in Forehoe union, hundred, and petty sessional division, Wymondham county court district, Norwich bankruptcy district, Wymondham polling district of South Norfolk, Forehoe division of Hingham rural deanery, and Norfolk archdeaconry. It had 101 inhabitants in 1881, living on 646 acres, and a rateable value of £2488.
The whole, except the poor's land, is the property of the Earl of Kimberley, of Kimberley House, which is situated 1½ mile E. of the village, in a beautiful park occupying 646A. 3R. 4P. of which 276A. 1R. 31P. are in the Downham division of Wymondham parish, 58A. 2R. in Carlton Forehoe, and the rest in Kimberley.
The first seat here belonged to the Fastolff family, and stood on the west side of the village until Sir John Wodehouse, who married the heiress of Sir John Fastolff, demolished it, and erected in 1401 a moated hall with a tower, at the west end of the park. This mansion became dilapidated in the 17th century, and at the beginning of the 18th, Sir John Wodehouse built the present house, which stands on the east side of the park, in the parish of Wymondham, and was afterwards enlarged and beautified by Sir Armine Wodehouse, who added four towers at the angles. It is a large and handsome brick mansion, with many convenient rooms, and some fine paintings, one of which is a portrait of Vandyck, painted by himself, when young.
Queen Elizabeth, in her progress through Norfolk in 1578, lodged at the old hall, and the dress of rich brocade which she wore is still in possession of the family. The park is richly ornamented with wood and water, and well stocked with deer. The rivulet on the west side of the hall divides the parishes, and is expanded into a lake, apparently environing a large wood of venerable oaks, below which the serpentine stream bounds a fine lawn.
The Wodehouse family has long been settled in Norfolk, and derives its descent through a succession of knights from the time of Henry I.; one of whom distinguished himself at Agincourt. The late Sir John Wodehouse, the seventh baronet of his family, represented the county of Norfolk in two Parliaments, and was created Baron Wodehouse, of Kimberley, in 1797, and died, aged 93, in 1834, when he was succeeded by his son John, who died in 1846, and was succeeded by his grandson John Wodehouse, who was born in 1826, graduated first class in classics at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1847; was under-secretary of state for foreign affairs from December 1352 [sic], to April 1856, and from June 1859, to July 1861; envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Russia from May 1856, to March 1858; and envoy on a special mission to Denmark in 1863; Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1864-6; Lord Privy Seal, 1868-70; Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1870-4, and again 1880-2; Secretary of State for India, December 1882. He was created Earl of Kimberley in 1866. His son and heir, Lord Wodehouse, was born in 1848.
Kimberley CHURCH (St. Peter) is a small but neat edifice in the Early Decorated style of architecture, comprising nave, chancel, south porch, and square tower with two bells. The upper part of the tower was rebuilt in 1631 by the Wodehouse family. The interior of the church was fitted with richly carved oak seats, pulpit, and reredos, in 1835, by the second Lord Wodehouse, and an organ and gallery were given by Lady Wodehouse, in 1839. The chancel contains a piscina, and two beautiful stained glass windows, but is dignified by a modern and nearly flat roof. Here are several marble tablets and old brasses of the Wodehouse family.
The vicarage, valued in the King's Book at £6 12s.3d., was augmented in 1722 with £200, given by Sir J. Wodehouse, and in 1744, with £200 of Queen Anne's Bounty. It is consolidated with the rectory of Barnham-Broom, as noticed at p. 139 [which is the entry for Barnham Broom]. The rectorial and vicarial tithes were both commuted for land at the enclosure.
The SCHOOL, a neat Elizabethan building, attended by about 25 children, was erected in 1850, by Mrs. Wodehouse, and is supported by the Earl of Kimberley. The Dereham branch of the Great Eastern Railway passes through the parish, and has a station near the village. The poor have £4 10s. a year as the rent of 2A. 2R. of land awarded at the enclosure in 1770.
POST viâ Wymondham. Letter-Box cleared at 6.45 p.m. Nearest Money Order and Telegraph Office at Hingham.
Allen Miss Mary Ann schoolmistress Atkins Sydney Geo. frmr. Park farm Claxton Edward butler, Kimberley hl Cubitt Thomas farmer, Manor farm How William farmer, Green farm Kiddle James parish clerk Kimberley Earl of Kimberley hall Palmer Walter general smith & frmr Raney James stationmaster Smith John C. mrcht.; h Wymondhm Smith Richard farmer, Station farm
CARRIERS - John Laskey, Hingham, & Norwich, Mon. Wed. and Sat.; John Risebrook, Hingham and Norwich, Tues. Thurs. and Sat.
Copyright © Pat Newby.