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Norfolk: Narford

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

[Transcription copyright © Paddy Apling]

NARFORD is a parish and village, nearly a mile east of the above [ie Narborough], and on the same side of the river Nar, 5 miles N.W. of Swaffham.

It has 113 inhabitants, and about 1872 acres of land, all the property of Andrew Fountaine, Esq., of NARFORD HALL, a handsome brick mansion, with a well-wooded lawn and pleasure grounds, built by Sir Andrew Fountaine, who was knighted by William III., and made K.B. by patent, in 1726, at which time he was vice-chamberlain to the Prince of Wales. He travelled for a considerable time in various parts of Europe, and made an extensive and valuable collection of antiquities and curiosities in art and learning, which are still deposited at Narford Hall; and amongst them are many fine paintings, coins, bronzes, antique vases, and a great quantity of porcelain, painted from the designs of Raphael, D'Urbino, &c., and bequeathed by the Duke of Urbino to the treasury of Loretto, where it was seized by the French. In 1727, Sir Andrew was appointed Warden of the Mint, which office he held until his death, in 1753. He was an eminent virtuoso, and intimate friend of Pope, Swift, and other literary luminaries.

The late Briggs Fountaine, Esq., who died in 1825, in his 82nd year, was well learned in the ancient and modern languages, passionately fond of music, and in 1805, published a translation of Don Quixote. For many years, he amused himself with astronomy, having built an observatory on the hill near Narford Hall, where numerous Roman Bricks and other antiquities have been found, and a large brass urn was dug up in the court yard, when Sir Andrew was erecting, or rather re-building the hall.

Narford village is said to have been a mile in length, in the Conqueror's time, and in the reign of Edward III., Sir Thomas de Narford obtained for it a market and two fairs; but they have been long obsolete.

The CHURCH (Virgin Mary) has three bells, and a square tower, on which Sir A. Fountaine erected a wooden spire. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the King's Book at £6. 13s. 4d. It is in the patronage of the Bishop of Ely, and has been enjoyed since 1790, with that of Narborough, by the Rev. Wm. Allen, M.A., as noticed above [i.e. under Narborough]. The Bishop of Ely owns the rectorial tithes, now held on lease by the Rev. E.B. Sparke, of Feltwell. A chapel, dedicated to St. Thomas-a-Becket, formerly stood on the hill, opposite Westacre Priory, to which it was granted by Edward IV.

Andrew Fountaine, Esq., has all the land in his own occupation, except one farm, occupied by John Coker.

See also the Narford parish page.

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Copyright © Pat Newby.
June 1999