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Norfolk: West Walton

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

[Transcription copyright © Basil Rix]

WALTON (WEST) is a village on the river Nene, near the Roman Bank, 3 miles N.N.E. of Wisbech and 12 miles S.W. by W. of Lynn. It is in Wisbech union and county court district, Lynn bankruptcy district, Lynn Marshland rural deanery, Norwich archdeaconry, Freebridge Marshland hundred and petty sessional division, and Walsoken polling district of West Norfolk. It has a rateable value of £10,356.

Its extensive parish, which is about eleven miles long and from half a mile to one mile broad, increased its population during the eighty years 1801-81 from 513 to 860, and comprises many scattered houses, and 5516A. 3R. 30P. of land, including a large portion of the Smeeth and Fen, from four to five miles S.E. of the village (see page 21 [which is the description of the Smeeth and Fen]), and 600 acres on the west side of the Nene, in the Isle of Ely. Messrs. Francis and Edward Hugh Jackson are lords of the manor of West-Walton-cum-Membris, Newton Colville manor, and Coleraine manor. The chief landowners are Messrs. William and Edward William Trafford Lubbock, Joseph Johnson, and the representatives of the late Miss Trafford Southwell.

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 form the basement, and the upper stages are richly ornamented with elaborately-wrought arcades. The fine west front of the church settled to such an extent that two enormous buttresses had to be erected about 400 years since to keep the structure from falling. By the removal of the late porch - used formerly as a school - the superb double doorway has been disclosed.

The interior of the nave is perhaps as harmonious and beautiful a specimen 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 on 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 of the church are Perpendicular insertions, and in the south aisle is an elaborate two-light window of Early Geometrical work. In the north aisle is the broken effigy of a priest, holding a pastoral staff in his right hand; he was undoubtedly the founder of the church, and a prior of Ely.

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 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 with the fresh; and on the 12th and 13th of September, 1617, all Marshland was again overflowed by the violence of the sea.'

The rectory was formerly in two medieties - viz., Walton Eliensis, valued in the King's Book at £16, and now at £572; and Walton Lewes, valued in the King's Book at £16 13s. 4d., and now at £802, has been consolidated and is now in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor and incumbency of the Rev. Walter E. Browne, M.A. A neat rectory-house was erected about forty years ago. The tithes of the whole parish were commuted in 1830 for £1374 6s. per annum.

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

The NATIONAL SCHOOL, near the church, is attended by about 90 children, and was built about forty years ago, at a cost of £430, on glebe land. In 1850 another school was built, which is now attended by 56 children, and in which divine service is performed twice every Sunday, at Fen End, about 1½ mile from the church. This is called 'St Paul's', and is a neat slated building, with a small spire.

There is an endowment from the dividends of £753 16s. 8d. Three per Cent Consols, left by Mrs Mary Dales, in 1703, 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 about £100 per annum, which is distributed amongst those poor parishioners who have not received parochial aid during the preceding twelve months.

POST OFFICE at Mr. Z. Handley's, Fen End. Letters despatched to Wisbech at 6.30 p.m. There is also a Wall Letter-Box near the church.

Those marked 1 should be addressed Emneth, Wisbech; and those marked 2 are in the Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire.

	1 Baker      Walter            vict. Jolly Farmers,
	                                 and straw dealer, Smeeth
	  Barrows    Fredk.            farmer & landowner
	  Barrows    John              farmer
	  Batch      Robert            farmer and landowner
	  Batch      Miss Susannah     grocer
	  Batterham  Joseph            farmer
	1 Bradley    Richard           farmer, Smeeth
	  Brashier   John              farmer
	  Browne     Rev. Walter
	               Elliot, M.A.    rector
	  Buck       Jno.              steam thrashing mach. propr
	  Buttery    Joseph            vict. King of Hearts
	  Cook       Joseph            farmer
	  Dawborn    Robert, Esq. J.P. [see note below]
	1 Drew       Miss Mary Jemima  dressmaker, Smeeth
	  Edgoose    James             market gardener
	  Edgoose    Mrs Patience      farmer
	  Edgoose    Stanton           beerhouse & farmer, Dam house
	1 Fisher     Benjamin          farmer, Fen end
	  Frost      John              beerhouse, Fen end
	  Gathergood Robert            beerhouse, farmer, and landowner,
	                                 Fen end
	  Goodale    Martin            gardener
	  Grimmer    Thomas            carpenter, wheelwright, bldr. &
	                                 blacksmith, Fen end
	  Hale       James             farmer
	  Hall       Mark              farmer and landowner
	  Handley    Thomas            farmer, Fen end
	  Handley    Zachariah         butcher and postmaster, Fen end
	  Harold     Samuel            blacksmith
	  Herbert    Joseph            farmer, Fen end
	  Herring    Joseph            shopkeeper & blacksmith, Fen end
	1 Hill       William           farm bailiff, Smeeth
	1 Hopkins    Fras.             stationmstr, Smeeth rd
	  Houlden    Henry             farmer & landowner
	  Howes      Mr John
	  Hubbard    Wm. Hy.           farmer, Fen end
	  Hudson     Augustine         butcher
	  Hudson     James Vessey      farm bailiff
	1 Humphrey   John              farmer, Smeeth
	  Humphrey   Joseph            farmer and landowner, Fen end
	  Jarvis     Miss Agnes        schoolmstrs., Fen end
	  Judd       William           corn miller, baker, farmer and landowner
	  King       George            farmer
	  Leach      Jno.              farmer & landownr, Fen end
	2 Moules     Smith             farmer
	  Murfitt    Robert            farmer & landowner, Fen end
	  Oakley     Levi              baker & flour dlr: Fen end
	2 Oldham     John              farmer
	  Porter     Mrs Harriet       farmer, Fen end
	  Porter     Mr Johnson        Fen end
	  Porter     Peter             frmr & lndownr, Fen end
	  Pratt      Robert, jun.      farmer
	  Pratt      Walter            farm bailiff
	2 Shipley    John              farmer
	  Smith      James             farmer, Fen end
	  Smith      John              farmer, Fen end
	  Smithee    William           bootmaker, Fen end
	  Stockdale  Samuel Offley     farmer and landowner
	  Sutterby   Daniel            corn miller & farmer, Fen end
	  Taylor     George            farmer, Fen end
	  Taylor     ---               farmer
	  Tombleson  Robt.             farm bailiff, Fen end
	  Vincent    Edward            farmer
	  Walker     Miss A.           schoolmistress
	  Wiles      Robert            butcher, Fen end
	  Willis     Peter             victualler, Queen of Trumps,
	                                 and hardware dealer
	  Wright     Benj.             carpenter & wheelwright
	  Young      William           farmer, Fen end
CARRIERS pass through to Wisbech on Wednesday, Thursday, & Saturday.

Transcription note: This name is probably "Dawbarn".

See also the West Walton parish page.

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Copyright © Pat Newby.
February 2003