GREAT WITCHINGHAM is a parish and village 1½ miles north from Lenwade station on the Midland and Great Northern joint railway, 9 north-east from Dereham, and 9 south-west from Aylsham, in the Eastern division of the county, Eynsford hundred and petty sessional division, St. Faith's rural district, Norwich county court district, rural deanery of Sparham and archdeaconry and diocese of Norwich. The river Wensum flows on the south of the parish.
The church of St. Mary is an ancient edifice of flint, in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch and an embattled western tower containing 2 bells: the font is ancient and richly carved: in the church are many memorials of the Le Neve family: there are 250 sittings. The register dates from the year 1539.
The living is a vicarage, consolidated with the rectory of Little Witchingham, joint net yearly value £463, with 25 acres of glebe and residence, in the gift of New College, Oxford, and held since 1925 by the Rev. Leonard Gethen, M.A. of University College, Durham, and hon. C.F. [sic]
There are two Methodist chapels here.
The Witchingham Memorial Hall was erected in 1921 by public subscription on a site in Lenwade given by W.J. Barry esq. J.P. to commemorate the end of the Great War, 1914-18: it was enlarged in 1925 and 1929, and now comprises a large hall, committee room, library, billiard and reading rooms &c. and is used for meetings, concerts, dances, &c.
An allotment of 25a. 3r. 11p. of common land is for the benefit of poor parishioners legally settled here and being resident occupiers of land or tenements in the parish. The church land 15a. 10p. is for the repair of the parish church. John Norris' charity of £12 is for the education of 12 poor children: Oliver Le Neve's charity of 2s. (derived from the rents of certain lands in Wood Dalling) is for bread to be distributed every other Sunday among the poor, and 6s. yearly on Christmas Day: a donation from New College, Oxford, of four coombs of peas is distributed on Ash Wednesday to poor inhabitants. There are also other rights and privileges belonging to the church, the poor and the inhabitants generally.
Great Witchingham Hall, the seat of William James Barry esq. J.P. is a large mansion of brick, surrounded by a park and woods. At Witchingham Old Hall resided John Norris, who founded the Divinity Professorship at Cambridge, which bears his name, charging the Abbey farm at Bacton with an annuity for that purpose; he died in 1777.
The Warden and Scholars of New College, Oxford, are the impropriators of the great tithes and lords of the manor. William James Barry esq. J.P. and the Norwich Union Life Insurance Society are the principal landowners. The soil is sand and loam; subsoil, clay and gravel. The chief crops are wheat, roots, barley and hay. The area is 2,236 acres of land and 19 of water; the population in 1921 was 460 in the civil and 524 in the ecclesiastical parish.
Post, M.O., T. & T.E.D. Office (avaliable for calls to places within a limited distance). Letters through Norwich.
Carriers to Norwich pass through from various places.
Barry William James J.P. Great Witchingham hall Gethen Rev. Leonard M.A. hon. C.F. (vicar), Vicarage
Dann Herbt. farmer, Blackwater farm Dann Walt. farmer, Reynolds' farm Dove Geo. farmer, Glebe farm * Gray Herbt. Louis farmer, River farm Howard Arthur William draper & grocer, & post office * Howard Percival farmer, Manor frm Howes Rt. Breese miller (water & steam), Eade's mill * Hunt Chas. farm bailiff to Edwd. Stimpson esq J.P. Church farm * Martins Ernest farmer, Clay Hall & Sparham Hill farms. T N Gt. Witchingham 25 * Stimpson Jn. farmer, Mill farm
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