LUDHAM is a large and well-built village 13 miles N.E. by E. of Norwich, and N.W. of Yarmouth, and its parish is in Smallburgh union, Happing hundred, Happing and Tunstead petty sessional division, Norwich county court district, Norwich bankruptcy district, Stalham polling district of North Norfolk, Happing division of Waxham rural deanery, and Norfolk archdeaconry.
It had 796 inhabitants in 1881, living on 2977 acres of land, and has a rateable value of £6294. The parish is bounded on three sides by the Bure, the Thurne, and the Ant. It is in the two manors of Waltham Hall and Ludham Bacon, of both of which the Bishop of Norwich is lord, but the principal landowners are Aaron Neave, Thomas Slipper, William A. Page, Alfred Neave, F. Green, -- Rudd, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
The parish was granted to the see by Henry VIII. (in exchange for other estates), after the dissolution of the abbey of St. Bennet's at the Holm, to which this parish belonged. This monastery stood in the adjacent parish of Horning, but its mitred abbot had here a residence and farm called The Grange, which was afterwards used as the Bishop's Palace, but the greater part of it was burnt down in 1611, and since then the domestic chapel has been converted into a granary, and the remains of the palace into a farmhouse, now called Ludham Hall.
The navigable river Ant, which bounds the parish on the west, drains a very large district, and the marshes extend to a great width at the lower part of its course from Wayford bridge to Ludham bridge. The latter has but a very narrow waterway, and after much rain, at certain states of the tide, the wherrymen have as great a difficulty in forcing their vessels through it, as formerly the lightermen had at Old London bridge. Ludham bridge was erected and repaired by the Abbots of St. Bennet's, afterwards by the Bishops of Norwich, who succeeded to the Abbots' property, and now by the Drainage Commissioners. It was rebuilt in 1811.
The CHURCH (St. Catherine) is a large and handsome fabric of flint and stone, chiefly of Perpendicular architecture. It consists of nave with aisles and clerestory, chancel, north and south porches, and square embattled tower containing five bells. The chancel, which was restored in 1861 by the Bishop of Norwich, at a cost of £400, contains a piscina and canopied sedilia. The font is octagonal, and ornamented with the symbols of the evangelists. The chancel screen is of elaborate workmanship, and was formerly richly gilt. It has the figures of twelve saints painted on its lower compartments, and is one of the finest screens in the county. The chancel floor is inlaid with encaustic tiles.
In the church chest is preserved a black-letter Bible of the time of James I. The Register dates from the year 1583. Here are brasses to Grace Whitey, dated 1611, and tablets to the Beecroft, Howse, Browne, Johnson, Horsley and Rust families.
The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the King's Book at £5.6s.8d., and now at £303, in the incumbency of the Rev. Henry Walker, M.A., who has a good residence built in 1858, at a cost of £800, and 38 acres of glebe. The Bishop of Norwich is patron, and appropriator of the rectorial tithes. About 314 acres are tithe-free, and the rent-charge on the remainder is £943.
The Wesleyans and Baptists have each a chapel here. The former a fine Gothic building, containing 250 sittings, erected in 1866, at a cost of £550.
In Elizabeth's reign Bishop Redmor procured a fair and market for Ludham, and the former is still held as a pleasure mart, on the Thursday and Friday after Trinity Sunday.
A Board School was built here in 1872, at a cost of £1200, to accommodate 140 children. Mr. Horatio Girdlestone is clerk to the School Board, which was established in 1872.
The three Poor's Allotments, awarded at the enclosure in 1802, comprise 124A.3R.35P. One of them (about 80 acres) is a wet marsh, abounding in reeds, though let for £30 a year. Another, containing 11A.2R.4P. is let for £5, and the other (33A.1R.31P.) is let for £20. The rents and profits are distributed in coals, together with £18 a year, arising from 8A.2R.5P., awarded at the enclosure, in lieu of land left by Philippo and Francis Haddon in 1630, and other donors; and 32s. a year, as the interest of £50, derived from the sale of the Town House, in 1790.
POST, MONEY ORDER OFFICE, and SAVINGS BANK at John Thomas Thurgate's. Letters, via Norwich, at 9 a.m., and despatched at 2.40 p.m., and 5.40 p.m.
Blaxall Charles farmer Bunn Mrs. Ann victualler, Dog Chaplin John wheelwright Chaplin John, jun. wheelwright Clarke John corn, coal, and manure merchant, farmer, and wine and spirit merchant, Staithe house Clarke Mr. Robert Clarke Samuel maltster, Staithe house Clipperton Joseph farmer and owner, Common Colman James tailor and draper Dawson Robt. farmer, Cold Harbour England Daniel Chasteney engineer, millwright, iron and brass founder, and maker and inventor of the patent turbine for fen drainage, and vict. King's Arms England Mrs. H. grocer and draper England Kirby Edmund butcher Fairhead Mrs Clara earthenware dealer Farrar James plumber and painter Fendick Mrs Sarah Frosdick Thomas farmer; h. Stalham Gibbs Richard farm bailiff, Ludham hall Girdlestone Horatio tailor and clerk to School Board Gordon James Alexander, L.R.C.P. Edin., L.R.C.S. Edin., L.M. physician and surgeon, Manor house Green William Frederick farmer and owner; h Wroxham Grapes Miss Emily corn miller Grapes George shopkeeper Grapes James farmer, Common Grapes Wm. glove mkr. and thatcher Hacon Mrs. Ann Eliza The Grange Hacon Herbert Jeffery farmer, The Grange Harrison Robert farmer and boat builder Kittle Edward farmer Knights Samuel saddler Lake William corn miller and farmer Lemon James farmer, Walton hall Lincoln George bricklayer Lincoln Walter beerhs. and bricklayer Lyon Fred. grocer, draper, and agent for the Norwich Equitable Ins. Co. Millett William farm bailiff, Beech farm Neave Aaron farmer and owner, Home farm Neave Alfd. farmer & owner, High hs. Newton Robert carpenter Oakley Theodore shoemaker Page Alfred rate collector and assistant overseer Page William Augustus farmer and owner, Howe hill; h. Oby Page William Thaxter plumber and painter, &c Robinson William T. & Miss Board School teachers Slaughter Edward greengrocer and fishmonger Slaughter John shoemaker Slipper Thomas farmer and owner, Fritton house; and at Blofield Spanton Charles farmer Thurgate John Thomas blacksmith, parish clerk, and postmaster Thurgate William Thomas carrier Vince William Carey grocer and draper Walker Rev. Hy., M.A. vicar, Vicarage Warley Robert blacksmith Willgress Mrs. Juliana vict. Crown Inn Woollsey Mrs. Mary Ann Worts Thomas farmer, Ludham hall; h. Sutton Wright James farmer, CommonCARRIER - Wm. Thos. Thurgate to Norwich, Mon. Wed. and Sat.
Copyright © Pat Newby.