Downham Market


"DOWNHAM MARKET is a neat and clean market-town, consisting principally of two long and well-built streets, pleasantly seated on the eastern acclivity of the vale of the Great Ouse, overlooking the marshes and fens, and distant more than half a mile from the river; 11½ miles S. of Lynn, 13½ miles W. by S. of Swaffham, 13 miles E.S.E. of Wisbech, and 84 miles N. by E. of London. . . . It has increased its population since the year 1801, from 1,512 to 2,953 souls, and comprises in its parish about 2,500 acres of land, lying in several manors; and belonging to Robt. Fellowes, Esq., E.R. Pratt, Esq., Sir Thomas Hare, Bart., and a number of smaller owners. . . . Downham CHURCH, dedicated to St. Edmund, is a neat edifice, standing on rising ground, approached on one side by a flight of brick steps, and on the other by a gradual ascent, ornamented with a row of lime trees. It has a nave, with aisles, (62 feet long, and 45 broad,) built of rag-stone, and covered with lead, and has at the west end a square tower, with five bells. . . . The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the King's Book at £6 13s. 4d., and now having a yearly rent charge of about £500, awarded in lieu of tithes, in 1841. William Francks, Esq., is patron, and the Rev. John Richd. Thackeray, M.A., of Hadley, Hertfordshire, is incumbent. In the town are four dissenting CHAPELS, belonging to the Particular Baptists, the Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists, and the Society of Friends." [William White, History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk (1845) - Transcription copyright © Pat Newby]


Downham Market is also known as Downham.
It is also the name of the civil registration district and the poor law union,
so a reference to Downham could mean this parish, or this area of Norfolk.
In 1896 it was divided into two civil parishes, the rural part called Downham West, and the urban called Downham Market.
See also Downham in Wymondham.


Business & Commerce Records

F.A. Bird Downham Mills Ltd
History of F.A. Bird Downham Mills Ltd, flour and provender millers.
[Downham Market, The Company, 1960s]
[Two page typescript in Norwich Local Studies Library]


Downham Market
Transcriptions of memorial inscriptions in the church and churchyard of St Edmund, the war memorial, and the Churchside and King's Walk cemeteries.
This is a link to an archived copy.
King's Walk Cemetery
Description and pictures.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Cemeteries


Church Directories

  • In 1883 the parish was in the Deanery of Fincham, in the archdeaconry of Norfolk.
    It could have been in a different deanery or archdeaconry both before and after this date.
  • The parish church is dedicated to St Edmund.

Church History

Church of St Edmund
Services, detailed church guide book, town history, pictures, memorials inside the church, rectors, etc.
Church of St Edmund
Description and pictures.
Church of St Edmund
Services, map, etc.
Roman Catholic Church of St Dominic
Description and pictures.
St Dominic Catholic Church
St Dominic's.
[Downham Market, 1980s]
Methodist Church
Minister, services, picture, etc.
Follow the link to the home page, then search for the church.
Downham Market Salvation Army Church
Description, location, picture, etc.
Whybrow, Martin
Going places, meeting places: a brief account of the Salvation Army and the Society of Friends in Downham Market.
[Downham Market, Salvation Army, 2003]

Church Records

Church of St Edmund
Parish Register Transcripts
Baptisms 1813-1880
Archdeacons' Transcripts
Marriages 1725-1812
These are not included in Boyd's Marriage Index or Phillimore's Marriage Registers.
Primitive Methodist Circuit
Register Transcripts
Baptisms 1829-1880
Register Transcripts
Baptisms 1826-1866 and 1866-1890, with indexes.
[Transcripts in Norwich Local Studies Library]
United Methodist Circuit
Register Transcripts
Baptisms 1850-1880
Register Transcripts
Baptisms 1850-1899
[Transcript in Norwich Local Studies Library]
Wesleyan Methodist Circuit
Register Transcripts
Baptisms 1814-1880
Bodle, A.N.; and Palgrave-Moore, Patrick
Norfolk Nonconformist Registers. No.3: Downham Market Wesleyan Methodist births and baptisms 1814-1837; transcribed and indexed.
[Norwich, Norfolk and Norwich Genealogical Society, 1986]
Register Transcripts
Baptisms 1837-1869, 1870-1886, and 1886-1903, with indexes.
[Transcripts in Norwich Local Studies Library]
Register Transcripts
Baptisms 1872-1894 [sic], with index.
[Transcript in Norwich Local Studies Library]

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Church Records


Civil Registration

For the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths between 1837 and 1930 (and for the censuses from 1851 to 1901), Downham Market was in Downham Registration District.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Civil Registration


Description & Travel

Downham Market
Description, history and pictures.
Downham Market
Photographs and postcards.
Bullen, Mike
Around Downham Market: Downham Market, Denver, Hilgay and Southery.
[ISBN 0752410938, Chalford Publishing Company, Archive Photographs Series, 1998]
[ISBN 1845881115, Nonsuch Publishing, Pocket Images, 2005]
Downham Market Community Site
News, events, pictures, businesses, etc.
Downham Market Town Council
Councillors, meetings, minutes, history, organisations, churches, schools, pictures, etc.
Downham Market Businesses
Businesses, buildings, history, etc.
Downham Market Bexwell Road Post Mill
Description and history.
Downham Market Cowgate Street Tower Mill
Description and history.
Downham Market Denver Road Post Mill
Downham Market Howdale Post Mill
Description and history.
Downham Market Lynn Road Post Mill
Description and history.
Downham Market Mill Hill Post Mill
Description and history.
Downham Market Steam Mill
Description, history and pictures.
Salter's Lode Smock Mill
Description, history and pictures.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Downham Market which are provided by:




Historical Geography

Downham Market is in Clackclose Hundred.

Parish outline and location.
See Parish Map for Clackclose Hundred
Description of Clackclose Hundred
1845: White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk

You can see the administrative areas in which Downham Market has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



Downham Market and District Amenity Society
A History of Downham Market.
[Downham Market, The Society, 1990s]
Shaw, Christopher
Denver, Downham Market and Bexwell, Welney, West Dereham: a brief history for local and family historians.
[Printed by Spindrift Print and Publishing, Series: Downham Market and around Book 2, 2009]
Wortley, John Dixon
Downham Market: its church (St Edmund) and history.
[Norwich, Goose and Son, 1924]

Land & Property

See Stoke Ferry, Welney and Wimbotsham
See Wimbotsham
Land Tax
Principal property owners and occupiers, and the amounts paid.

See also Norfolk Parish Links: Land and Property

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference TF610030 (Lat/Lon: 52.600936, 0.375848), Downham Market which are provided by:


Military Records


Poor Houses, Poor Law

Care of the poor in Downham Market
Charities, bequests, the workhouse, account books, board of guardians, etc.

After 1834 Downham Market became part of the Downham Union, and the workhouse was in this parish.

Downham Union
Parishes in the union, their arrangements for the poor before 1834, etc.
Downham Union and Workhouse
Description from White's Directory of Norfolk, 1845.
Downham Union and Workhouse
Description and pictures.


These figures are from the population tables which were produced after the 10-yearly national censuses. The "Families" heading includes families and single occupiers.

Year  Inhabited
Year  Inhabited
1891566---2537  DMkt
 110---  469  DWest
19015915992472  DMkt
 108108  439  DWest
1911---6142497  DMkt
 ---104  420  DWest

DMkt - Downham Market
DWest - Downham West

There may be more people living in detached parts of the parish (if there were any) and, if so, the number may or may not be included in the figures above. It is quite difficult to be sure from the population tables.

1841 and 1851 Censuses
"The return for Downham Market Parish includes 114 persons in 1841, and 222 in 1851, in the Union Workhouse. For the Town of Downham see page 72."
Page 72 shows that, in 1851, the town of Downham had 585 inhabited houses, and a population of 2867.
1891 Census
The total number of families in Downham Market and Downham West was 688.
1901 Census
Downham West: "Including Salter's Lode."
1911 Census
Out of the population of 2497 in the town of Downham Market, 154 were in 3 large establishments or institutions. Kelly's Directory of Norfolk, 1912 says: "The population in 1911 was 2,497, including 9 officers and 75 inmates in the workhouse."


Downham Market Family History Society
Meetings, etc.
Downham Market and District Heritage Society
Description, heritage centre, membership, meetings, etc.
Downham Market Lecture Society
Lectures and classes.