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Norfolk: West Walton

William White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk 1864

[Transcription copyright © Basil Rix]

WEST WALTON is a considerable village near the Roman Bank, 3 miles N.N.E. of Wisbech, and 12 miles S.W. by W. of Lynn. Its extensive parish has augmented its population since the year 1801, from 513 to 950 souls, and comprises many scattered houses, and 5516a. 3r. 30p. of land, including a large portion of the Smeeth and Fen, from 4 to 5 miles S.E. of the village (see page 804), and 600 acres on the west side of the Nene, in the Isle of Ely.

The Queen is lady of the manor of West-Walton-cum-Membris, held by the leaseholders and copyholders on fines certain. But part of the parish is in Newton Colville manor, of which Capt. Trafford is lord; and in Coleraine manor, of which Rev. C.H. Townshend is lord.

The church (St Mary) is a beautiful freestone structure, comprising nave with aisles and clerestory, south porch and chancel. It has a massive but elegant tower with five bells, standing detached at a distance of 22 yards to the south, and forming an entrance gateway to the churchyard. This tower is of four stages, with turrets at the angles, and is mostly of the early English period, but its immense belfry windows are in the early geometrical style. Four arches from the basement, and the upper stages are richly ornamented with elaborately wrought arcades. The fine west front of the church has been ruined by late and incongruous props and insertions, and a poor western porch conceals and mutilates a superb double doorway.

The interior of the nave is perhaps as harmonious and beautiful a piece of early English work as can be found in any parish church in England. It consists of six bays, and the pillars have detached and banded shafts of Purbeck marble, the capitals being floriated and united under one round abacus. A string course runs along the top of the arches, and the clerestory consists within and without of a continuous arcade, the central arch in each bay being pierced for a window. The chancel aisles have been destroyed, but the pillars and arches are still visible in the walls. Most of the windows in the church are Perpendicular insertions, and in the south aisle is an elaborate two-light window of early decorated work. In the north aisle is the broken effigy of a priest.

A tablet in the church is inscribed - 'To the immortal praise of God, that saveth His people; Be it kept in perpetual memory, that on the 1st of November, 1613, the sea broke and overflowed all Marshland, to the great danger of men's lives and loss of goods. On March 23rd 1614, this country was again overflowed by the fresh; and on the 12th and 13th of September 1617, all Marshland was again overflowed by the violence of the sea.'

The Rectory is in two medieties- viz., Walton Eliensis, valued in K.B. at £16, and now at £572; and Walton Lewes, valued in K.B. at £16. 13s. 4d., and now at £802. The former is in the gift of the Lord Chancellor, and incumbency of the Rev. E.E. Blencowe, B.A.; and the latter is in the patronage of the Rev. C.H. Townshend, and the incumbency of the Rev. Jeremiah Bowen, B.A. A neat Rectory House was erected about twenty years ago, for the mediety of Walton Eliensis. The tithes of the whole parish were commuted in 1830 for £1340. 6s. per annum.

In the parish is a Primitive Methodist Chapel, built in 1833.

The National School, near the church, was built about twenty years ago, at a cost of £430, on land given by the Rev. E.E. Blencowe, who, in 1850, built another School, in which he performs divine service every Sunday, at Fen-end, about one and a half mile from the church. This is called 'St Paul's' and is a neat slated building, with a small spire. There are 12 free scholars at each of these schools, in consideration of the dividends of £753. 16s. 8d. three per cent Consols, left by Mrs Mary Dales, in 1793, for the education of poor children.

The Poor's Estate, given at an early period by unknown donors, consists of the Ferry House, and 19a. 2r. 24p. of land in this parish, and 10a. 2r. in Walpole St Peter, let at rents amounting to £107 per annum, which is distributed amongst those poor parishioners who have not received parochial aid during the preceding twelve months.

POST OFFICE at Z. Handley's, Fen-end. Letters despatched to Wisbech at 6.30.p.m. There is also a wall letter box near the church.

Amis Samuel, veterinary surgeon
Bellamy, Matilda, schoolmistress
Blencowe Rev. Edward E., B.A. rector of Walton Eliensis, Rectory
Bowen Rev. Jerh. B.A. rector of Walton Lewes
Copeman, John, parish clerk
Cross, Edw. Chas. Auctr. and estate agent
Farren, Mrs Ann
Hewson, Mr William
Handley, Zachariah, butcher
Hipkins, Sarah, schoolmistress
Horsley, Robert, bricklayer
Leary, Thos, gardener
Pratt, Mrs Sar.
Walpole, Wm. Shoemaker


Jolly Farmers, Eli Vassar, Smeeth
King of Hearts, James Lavender
Queen of Trumps, Ann Fenton
Dam House, Abraham Matthews
Robin Hood & Little John, J. Terrington


Alderman, Samuel
Judd, William


Collins, Benjamin
Cott, Jas. Fen-end
Gathergood, Robert
Horspool, John


Harrold, Joseph
Herring, Jph. Fen


Judd, William
Sutterby, D. Fen


(* are owners)

* Amis, Samuel
* Barrows, Jacob
* Coe, George
* Coker, Charles
* Collins, George
* Cott, Harry, Smeeth
* Cowling, Thomas
* Cross, Edw. Chas. Traffords Farm
* Edgoose, Patience
Farren, Ann
Goddard, Elizabeth Ann, Fen-end
Goodale, Robt. Dam House
Goodley, William
Handley, Chas Fen-end
Handley, Eliz. Fen
Herbert, Joseph
* Howes, John
Hubbard, Thos. Fen
Humphreys, John
* Johnson, Joseph, Priory House.
* Murpitt Robert
* Porter, James, Fen
Porter, Johnson, Jun. Church-end
Pratt, John Thomas
Pratt, Joseph
Pratt, W. Hill House
Roberts, Mrs
* Searle, Paul
* Smith, John, Fen
* Stockdale, Richard
* Taylor, Richard
* Thurston, G.Cole
Tombleson, W.Scott
Wright, J. Dixon's-end Hall


Alderman, Samuel
Batch, Susannah
Clarke, John
Vassar, Eli


Shippey, George
Taylor, Joshua
Wright, Benjamin

See also the West Walton parish page.

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Copyright © Pat Newby.
February 2003