LESSINGHAM is 8 miles E. by S. of North Walsham, and 3½ miles N.N.E. of Stalham. It is in Smallburgh union, Happing hundred, Happing and Tunstead petty sessional division, North Walsham county court district, Norwich bankruptcy district, Stalham polling district of North Norfolk, Happing division of Waxham rural deanery, and Norfolk archdeaconry. The rateable value is £1329, and the gross estimated rental £1501.5s. It had 176 inhabitants in 1881, and comprises 640 acres of land, mostly belonging to Miss Nickells, but the manor is held by King's College, Cambridge.
Lessingham was after the Conquest given away from the Crown to De Gournay, and subsequently to the Benedictine Abbey of Bec. It was suppressed in the reign of Henry V. (anno 1414), and settled by Henry VI. (1441) on King's College. The Provost of King's first presented to it in 1480; it was consolidated with Hempstead in 1740. Richard Chase became the first rector of the united parishes in 1751.
The CHURCH (All Saints) is an ancient thatched fabric, with nave, chancel, south porch and square embattled tower containing three bells. The base panels of the chancel screen have twelve figures painted upon them, representing St. Giles, St. Matthew, St. Simon, St. James the Greater, St. Andrew, St. Jerome, St. Gregory, St. Augustin, St. Ambrose, St. Phillip, St. Jude, and St. James the Less. The original figures were the twelve apostles, but probably, in consequence of their being injured at the Reformation, the places of five of them appear to have been filled with paintings of the Fathers, delicately executed upon paper and pasted over their predecessors. The heads of the apostles may still be traced above the new figures, which are less in height. The doors of the screen have paintings of St. Catherine, St. Appolonia, St. Mary Magdalen, and St. Margaret upon them. An ancient black-letter copy of the book of Martyrs, chained to a box, is preserved in the chancel.
The living is a rectory, valued in the King's Book at £6, and consolidated with Hempstead. The Rev. J.E. Yonge, M.A. is the incumbent. The glebe here is 21A.1R.16P., and the tithes were commuted in 1841 for £240 per annum. The rector also receives £20 a year from the tithes of Happisburgh.
Here was a Priory, subject to Bec Abbey, in Normandy, but it was suppressed in the reign of Henry V.
The Poor's Allotment, 3A.32P., was awarded at the enclosure, and is let for £3.15s. a year. In 1727, the Rev. Jonathan Chaloner left to this parish the yearly sums of £4 for schooling poor children, and £4.6s. for the poor, who had also £1.7s.8d. per annum, left by John Ringer, Oliver Hartstrong, and Thos. Smith, out of a piece of land behind the Star Inn, but now lost.
The Primitive Methodists have a small chapel here, built in 1843, at a cost of £70.
Owners of property in Lessingham Court are exempt from serving on juries.
A SCHOOL BOARD was established here in 1876: consists of Rev. J.E. Yonge (chairman), C.F. Littlewood (treasurer), Benjamin Barney, J. Clements, and John Harvey. Mr. J.C. Littlewood is the clerk. The school, built in 1876, at a cost of £266, will accommodate 52 scholars.
POST OFFICE at Mrs. James Clements'. Letters from Norwich, via Stalham, arrive at 7.35 a.m., and despatched at 2.55 p.m. Stalham is the nearest Money Order and Telegraph Office and Railway Station.
Barney Benjamin farmer & surveyor Clements Mrs. grocer, drpr & pstmstr Coleman George farm bailiff Hardingham Miss A. E. Board schoolmistress Hewitt Benjn. blacksmith & ironfndr. Lacey Cubitt vict. Star Inn & carrier Larter Robert shoemaker Littlewood Charles Fabb farmer; h. Hempstead Nichols Miss Ann Red House Osborn Edward grocer and draper Reynolds James butcher Salmon Rchd. beer rtlr. & mchn. ownr Saunders William shoemaker Thirst James farmer and overseer Turner John Joseph saddler Wallage George farm bailiff Wilkins Jno. bricklayer, bldr. & frmr. Yonge Rev. John rector; h. Hempstead rectory Eyre, M.A.CARRIER - To Yarmouth, Cubitt Lacey, on Sat.
See also the Lessingham parish page.
Copyright © Pat Newby.