"NORTH ELMHAM, a parish in the hundred of Launditch, county Suffolk, 5 miles N. of East Dereham. Thetford is its post town. It is situated on the river Wensum, and is a railway station on the Great Eastern line. This was once a city and seat of a diocese in the kingdom of the East Angles, from the latter part of the 7th century till 950, when the see was united to that of Dunwich, and subsequently transferred to Thetford and thence to Norwich. The Episcopal palace, situated on a neighbouring hill, was converted by Bishop Spencer, in the reign of Richard II., into a castle with a double entrenchment, of which there are some few remains, probably of the keep. The village is pleasantly situated on the W. bank of the river Wensum, and is spacious and well built. Petty sessions are held on the first Wednesday in alternate months. The old park of the Earl of Leicester in this parish comprises about 500 acres, well wooded. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Norwich, value £316. The church is a spacious edifice of considerable architectural beauty-cruciform, with a lofty square tower containing a peal of eight bells, surmounted by a slender spire. It is dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, and contains remains of a beautiful screen and some handsome monuments. The register commences in 1538. There are some small parochial charities, £20 of which are for education. The Independents have a chapel. There is a National school for boys and girls. A great many antiquities, consisting of Roman coins, urns, &c., have been found in this neighbourhood. Lord Sondes, of Elmham Hall, is lord of the manor of Elmham Nawers, and the Dean and Chapter of Norwich lords of that of North Elmham, both in this parish. From the altar in the church ran a subterranean passage to the bishop's palace.
Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson © 2003
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