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Norfolk: Middleton

William White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk 1845

[Transcription copyright © Pat Newby]

MIDDLETON is a pleasant village on an elevated part of the Swaffham road, 4 miles S.S.E. of Lynn. Its parish comprises the scattered hamlets of Fair-green, Tower-end, Blackborough-end, and Hollow-end, and contains 867 inhabitants, and about 3,000 acres of land, rising boldly from picturesque vales of the Esk rivulet on the north, and the river Nar on the south. It is well enclosed and drained, (partly under acts passed in 1814 and '15,) and has in one part a quarry of fine large car-stone.

Thomas Wythe, Esq., of Middleton Cottage, near Fair-green, owns the greater part of the soil, and is lord of the Manor of Middleton, in which are many copyholds, subject to arbitrary fines. He is also lessee lord of the Bishop of Norwich's Manor of Blackborough, in which the land is leasehold for 21 years, renewable every seven. L.W. Jarvis, Esq., is the manor steward.

The CHURCH, (Virgin Mary,) has a square tower with one bell, and in its windows are some fragments of the arms of Lord Scales, in stained glass.

The living is a vicarage, valued in the King's Book at £7, and now possessing about 12 acres of glebe. The Very Rev. Peter Scrimshire Wood, LL.D., Dean of Middleton [sic, see note below], in Yorkshire, is patron and incumbent, and also impropriator of the rectorial tithes, which were commuted for £432 2s. 5d. per annum, in 1840. At the same time the vicarial tithes were commuted for £313 9s., and the Notley Tithes for £99 18s. per annum. The latter belong to the rector of North Runcton, and arise out of the Notley Estate, which contains 470A., and adjoins the Pierpoint drain.

The vicarage-house is near the church; and at a short distance is the handsome modern seat of Edward Everard, Esq., at the head of a beautiful lawn, sheltered with thriving plantations.

In a valley, more than a mile to the N.E. of the village, stands MIDDLETON TOWER, a lofty and massive brick pile, with stone quoins, forming the only remains of the Castle, which was long the chief seat of the Lord Scales, who obtained the manor in marriage with the heiress of Jeffery de Lisewis, in the reign of Henry II. They were seated here till the reign of Edward IV., when their heiress married Earl Rivers, from whom the estate passed through various families to its present owner, T. Wythe, Esq. The tower is of excellent workmanship, 17 yards long, 9 broad, and 18 high; flanked with four octagonal turrets, which are embattled, and rise several feet above the central tower. Near it is a high mound, overgrown with bushes.

In the vale of the Nar, more than a mile south of the village, is the site of BLACKBOROUGH PRIORY, which was founded in the reign of Henry II., for Benedictine Nuns, and endowed with considerable revenues by the Lord Scales and other families. After its dissolution, it was granted to the Bishop of Norwich. Some remains of the priory and its church may still be seen in the outbuildings of the adjacent farm-house.

In digging among the foundations, in 1834, three stone and two wood coffins were discovered in a vault, containing perfect skeletons, all blackened by time, except the teeth, which retained their white enamel. One was supposed to be the skeleton of a man seven feet high. At the same time, a number of tessellated pavements, a gold seal, and other antiquities were found, and are now preserved by T. Wythe, Esq., who, about 12 years ago, pulled down the dilapidated building called Middleton Hall.

In the parish is a Wesleyan, and also a Primitive Methodist chapel; the former built in 1840, and the latter in 1844.

The Fuel Allotment, 10A., was allotted at the enclosure. The poor have 6s. a year, out of the Notley tithes, left by the Rev. Thos. Hopes.

In the following Directory, those marked 1 reside at Blackborough-end; 2 Fair-green; 3 Hollow-end; 4 Tower-end; and 5 in Middleton.

	3 Aaron    John                 parish-clerk
	5 Curle    John                 auctioneer, &c.
	5 Everard  Edward, Esq.
	5 Pearson  Rev. Saml.           incbt. of Bilney
	5 Walker   George               vict., Crown
	  Matthews Rt.                  miller; h. East Winch
	5 Wood     Very Rev. Peter
	             Scrimshire, LL.D.  dean of Middleham
	2 Wythe    Thomas, Esq.         Middleton Cottage


	1 Drew     John
	1 Raynor   James

	     Beer Houses.                  Bricklayers.

	2 Bardell   Ann               3 Abray     John
	1 Bardell   B.                3 Allflat   Charles

	     Blacksmiths.                  Butchers.

	4 Chilvers Chas.              1 Gamble    Wm.
	3 Drew     James              1 Pidgeon   Mrs
	1 Waugh    John
	5 Curtis   Henry


	1 Alterton Robt.              1 Jarrad    John
	1 Back     John               3 Lancaster Jno.
	1 Baker    James              2 Potter    Thomas
	1 Balls    James              4 Simons    Abel
	4 Cole     Robert             4 Sugars    John
	3 Gamble   Wm.                2 Taylor    George
	5 Hill     Thomas             2 Wall      Edward
	1 Howse    Thomas

	     Joiners, &c.                  Shopkeepers.

	3 Bardell  John               4 Buxton    Robert
	4 Chilvers Edw.               1 Rust      Abel
	3 Drew     John               1 Shin      David
	1 Driver   Thomas

	     Shoemakers.                   Wheelwrights.

	1 Creed    Edwin              4 Chilvers  Chas.
	1 Roofe    Robert             5 Wicks     John
	4 Smith    Robert

Note: The Clergy List for 1841 shows:

Wood, Peter S.  D.C.L.  Dean of Middleham, Rector of Littleton, Middlesex, and Vicar of Middleton, Norfolk.

See also the Middleton parish page.

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Copyright © Pat Newby.
January 2009