LANGLEY is a parish extending from the river Yare southward to within 1 mile of Loddon, and about 10 miles S.E. of Norwich. It is in Loddon and Clavering union and petty sessional division, Loddon hundred, Norwich county court district and bankruptcy district, Loddon polling district of South Norfolk, and East Brooke rural deanery of Norfolk archdeaconry. It had 308 inhabitants in 1881, and comprises 2696 acres of land, of which 1000 acres are in low marshes. The rateable value is £4352.
Sir Reginald W.P. Beauchamp is owner of the soil and lord of the manor. He resides at Langley Hall, a large and elegant mansion in a beautiful park of 800 acres, chiefly erected about the year 1740 by Mr. Recorder Berney, of Norwich, and finished by George Proctor, Esq. It was afterwards enlarged by Sir W. Beauchamp-Proctor, who was created a baronet in 1744, and made a Knight of the Bath. Additions were made to its wings some years ago. The centre is in five divisions, and has a handsome Doric portico; and the wings are connected with it by a semicircular sweep, and at each end of them are statues from the antique, placed in niches.
The beautiful ceiling in the boudoir is by Clermont, painted during the eighteenth century. One room on the ground-floor is entirely of Japanese design. The apartments contain a large collection of paintings, statues, busts, &c. Several of the paintings have been exhibited at Burlington House, and amongst the old masters are Caravaggio (Michael Angelo), Leonardo da Vinci, Nicolas Pousin, Romney, Teniers, Vandyke, Gainsborough, Reynolds and others.
The CHURCH (St. Michael) is a long structure, comprising nave, chancel, north porch, and square tower with five bells. The east window is filled with stained glass of rich colour and rare shades, which was brought from Rouen Cathedral at the time of the first French Revolution, and placed here by a late Lady Beauchamp. It represents Pilate coming out of the Hall of Judgment, the Adoration of the Magi, &c. Two of the side windows of the chancel contain stained glass with the arms of the Berney and other families, and the windows of the nave have the four evangelists painted upon them. The roof of the nave is of the hammer-beam kind, and bears carvings of the Beauchamp arms.
The vicarage, certified at £20, and now valued at £45 per annum, was augmented from 1772 to 1824 with £600 of Queen Anne's Bounty, and is in the incumbency of the Rev. Henry Alfred Barrett, M.A., of Chedgrave. Sir Reginald William Proctor-Beauchamp, Bart., J.P., is patron. He is also impropriator of the tithes.
The first baronet, Sir William Beauchamp, was the son of the heiress of the Proctor family, and added their name and arms to his own. He represented Middlesex in Parliament from 1747 to 1768. In 1852 the late baronet took by royal licence the arms and surname of Proctor-Beauchamp in that sequence, instead of Beauchamp-Proctor.
In the park is a stone cross, ornamented with four statues in niches; and at a short distance are the ruins of Langley Abbey, founded in 1198 by Roger Fitz-Roger, for an abbot and 16 canons of the Præmonstratensian order. The ample endowment of the founder was confirmed by King John, who granted the parish a market and fair, with sac, soc, and other privileges. The abbey received considerable additions from the posterity of the founder, who took the name of De Clavering. It had many other benefactors, and its revenues were valued at £128 19s. 9d. per annum at the dissolution, and were granted, with the site of the abbey, to John Berney, Esq. The abbey farm house was burnt down in 1800, and afterwards rebuilt.
About a mile from the church is Langley Staithe, on a small navigable stream which crosses the marshes to the Yare. At the enclosure, 40 acres were allotted to the poor for fuel. The Church Land is 2A. 1R. 18P., and here is a parish gravel pit of one acre. Here is a large parochial School for the parishes of Langley and Hardley, supported by Sir R.W. Proctor-Beauchamp, Bart., built in 1878, and having a residence attached. In 1861 the late Sir Thomas Beauchamp built almshouses for six poor widows, as a tribute of affection to his parents.
Barrett Rev. Henry Alfred, M.A. vicar; h Chedgrave Beauchamp Sir Reginald William Proctor, Bart., J.P. The Hall Beaumont George farmer, Grange frm Chilvers George butcher and farmer Cossey Stephen farmer and milk dealer, Abbey farm Crisp William marsh farmer Cumby Charles blacksmith Cumby Moore beerhouse Des Forges Samuel Rowell farmer, Read's farm Ecclestone Mrs Jane cowkeeper Ecclestone William cowkeeper Ellis Edward parish clerk Forder William cowkeeper Goff John Johnson corn, coal, seed, cake, manure, timber, &c. merchant and farmer, The Staithe; and at Loddon and Yarmouth Jeffery John steward, Hall farm Owen Mrs Sarah shopkeeper Powell Wm. farmer, Manor farm Spence James farmer; h Loddon Spence Robt. farmer & churchwarden
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