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Norfolk: Lessingham

William White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk 1883

[Transcription copyright Peter Green]

LESSINGHAM is 8 miles E. by S. of North Walsham, and 3 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.
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See also the Lessingham parish page.

Copyright Pat Newby.
July 1999