Norfolk: Foulsham


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

[Transcription copyright © Ann Duncan]

FOULSHAM is a small but well-built town, pleasantly situated on the East Norfolk Extension Railway, 8 miles S.E. of Fakenham, 5 miles W.N.W. of Reepham, and 18 miles N.W. of Norwich. Its parish is in Aylsham union and county court district, Norwich bankruptcy district, Eynsford petty sessional division and hundred, Reepham polling district of North Norfolk, Sparham rural deanery, and Norwich archdeaconry. It had 950 inhabitants in 1881 living on 3226 acres, and has a rateable value of £6217. A large portion of the parish was in Themelthorpe common, enclosed in 1811.

Lord Hastings is principal owner of the soil and lord of the manor; but about 600A., with Foulsham Hall, an old farm-house in the Elizabethan style, belong to G.A. Aufrere, Esq. Keeling Hall, one mile to the east, is the property of C.M. Tatham, Esq.; and the Rev. Sir E.R. Jodrell, Bart., the Rev. H. Evans Lombe, Col. W.E.G.L. Bulwer, and Robt. J W. Purdy, Esq., have estates here.

In Domesday Book, Foulsham is described as a royal demesne, being one of the lordships of which Edward the Confessor died possessed. It continued to form part of the domains of the Crown till Richard I. granted it, with many other estates, to Baldwin de Betune, Earl of Albemarle and Holderness, whose daughter Alice carried it in marriage to William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, with whose family it remained till 1317, when it passed by marriage to the Morleys. It was purchased in 1582 by Sir Thomas Hunt, Kt., whose grandson sold it to Sir Jacob Astley, Bart., an ancestor of Lord Hastings.

The market, formerly held here every Tuesday, has long been obsolete; but a fair, for the sale of stock, &c., is still continued on the first Tuesday in May. In the market-place once stood a cross, the foundations of which are still visible on a hoar-frosty morning. Its form was hexagonal, in imitation of those beautiful crosses erected to the memory of Eleanor, Queen of Edward I.

The town suffered greatly by a fire in 1770, which destroyed 14 dwelling-houses, and reduced the church to a ruinous shell. The damage amounted to several thousand pounds, but a collection was made and a play performed at Norwich for the benefit of the sufferers.

There was a church here at the time of the Domesday survey, but its site is unknown. The present CHURCH (Holy Innocents) was probably founded by Sir Robert Morley about the middle of the 14th century, as the lower windows of the chancel, the porch, and other portions are in the style which prevailed at that period; but the greater part of the building is of Late Perpendicular architecture, and appears to have been built by one of the Lords Morley about 1489, and restored to its original form after the great fire in 1770.

It is a large and handsome edifice, comprising nave with aisles, chancel, and south porch. Its lofty square embattled tower, of four stages, contains two bells, and has diagonal buttresses at each corner, terminated by crocketed pinnacles. The porch is now used as a vestry, and before the fire had a parvis, which had served as a schoolroom from time immemorial. There is a clerestory over both the nave and chancel, lighted by numerous large windows, which, like those of the aisles, have nearly flat arches. The nave has a plastered wagon-headed ceiling, but the roof of the chancel is of high pitch. The east window is filled in with stained glass, and several other windows contain fragments of ancient painted glass.

The interior of the building was restored and refitted with open seats in 1859. The sedilia and piscina remain on the south side of the chancel, and opposite to them, over the small north door is a monument to Sir Thomas Hunt, who died in 1616, and is represented in armour with his three wives kneeling behind him. Here is a small oblong brass bearing the following lines:-

'Of all I had this only now I have
Nyne akers wch unto ye poore I gave
Richd Fenn who died March 1565.

In the churchyard is a curious altar monument of stone to the memory of 'Robart Colles and Cecili his vif.'

The rectory, valued in the King's Book at £27 14s. 9½d., has 22A. 3R. 15P. of glebe, and a yearly rent-charge of £780, awarded in 1840 in lieu of tithes. Lord Hastings is patron, and the Rev. Charles Henry Frost, B.A., is incumbent. There is a spacious residence, which was considerably enlarged and improved in 1862.

The Baptist chapel was built in 1826, and the Primitive Methodists chapel in 1871.

A School Board was formed in 1874, and schools, with master's house, were erected at an outlay of £1650. The present board consists of the Rev. C.H. Frost (chairman), W.A. Mesney (vice), and Messrs T.M. Austin, A.G. Gibbs, C.A. Hamond, and for Themelthorpe contributory district, the Rev. R.R. Rackham, and Mr. E. Yarham. Mr. W. Newport is the clerk.

A Reading Room was established, and a Mutual Improvement Society formed in 1877. Mr. S. Blade is the secretary. Foulsham and District Horticultural Society was formed in 1877. The Rev. C.H. Frost is secretary. There is an Oddfellows' lodge at the Ship Inn once a month.

The poor have 9A. of land at Guestwick, left by Richard Fenn in 1563; 6A. 3R. 14P. in this parish, left by Henry Semicroft in 1693; and 5A. 3R. 38P. allotted at the enclosure. The rents of these lands, amounting to £53 10s. per annum, are distributed at Christmas among the poor of the parish. To provide gowns, &c., for poor widows and other poor women of Foulsham, John Chapman, in 1661, left 10A. 2R. 6P. of land now let for £31 a year.

The Church Lands comprise 4A. at Sandhills; two allotments, containing 1A. 20P.; and about 3A. in four pieces; the whole producing a yearly rent of about £15.

In October, 1846, a large solid gold torques, weighing 5½ ounces, and measuring 42 inches in length, was turned up by the plough on Bittering Common, in this parish, and is now in the possession of Lord Hastings.

(see also Addenda).

POST, MONEY ORDER and TELEGRAPH OFFICE and SAVINGS BANK, at Mr. Samuel Gee's. Letters arrive at 7.30 a.m., despatched 5.10 p.m.; and on Sundays arrive at 7.30 a.m., and despatched 10 a.m., viâ East Dereham.

         Amiss        Wm.             shopkeeper
         Austin       Thomas Matthew  farmer
         Austin       Watts           farmer
         Balls        Miss Martha     farmer
         Barber       Cornelius       bootmaker & baker
         Bell         Wm.             draper, tailor, & ironmonger
         Blade        Samuel          grocer, draper, newsagent and collector
                                        of taxes, and clerk and attendance
                                        officer to School Board
         Blyth        Thos. Hy.       builder & contractor
         Boyle        Allan           draper and grocer
         Bush         Arthur Wm.      farmer
         Chapman      James           vict. King's Arms                  
         Chapman      John            gunsmith
         Chipperfield Marshall        engineer and machinist
         Clarke       Mrs Ann
         Collison     Thompson        butcher & dealer
         Cooper       Benjamin        bootmaker
         Cooper       Miss Sophia     day and boarding school
         Crowe        John            hairdresser
         Dack         John            blacksmith and vict. Bull
         Dack         Matthew         farmer
         Damant       Thos. M.R.C.S.  L.S.A. and medical officer 3rd district of
                                        the Aylsham Union, & public vaccinator
         Emms         Hy.             provision dealer
         Emms         Hy.             farmer, High house
         Empson       Josiah          vict. & machinist
         Fairman      Saml.           basket maker
         Frost        Rev. Chas.      rector, The Rectory
                        Henry, B.A.
         Gee          Samuel          baker & confctnr. parish clerk,
                                        postmaster, & assist. overseer
         Gibbs        Alf. Geo.       farmer & miller, The Old Hall.
         Graver       John            gardener and sexton
         Groom        Thomas          beerhouse
         Hurrell      Thomas Mace     grocer
         Jeary        Edgar Harvey    tailor
         Lake         Samuel          farmer
         Leamon       Edmund          ironmonger & frmr
         Leamon       Edmund Robt.    plmbr. & glzr
         Leamon       Phlp.           saddler & harness mkr
         Long         Jeremiah        brick and tile manufr
         Mace         Mrs Sarah Ann
         Maddison     Henry Gildon    chemist, druggist, dentist, stationer,
                                        and agt. for London & Provncl. Ins. Co
         Maidstone    Wm.             pork butcher
         Massingham   Henry           beerhs. & butcher
         Massingham   Mrs Sarah       butcher
         Mesney       Wltr. Alex.     fmr. Keeling hall                  
         Mildenhall   Jno. & Mrs      Brd. Sch. tchrs
         Moore        Mrs Ann
         Newport      Walter          chemist, druggist, stationer, newsagent,
                                        registered accountant, seed & manure
                                        merchant, agent for Royal Insurance Co.,
                                        and agent for Allen Line of steamers
         Nobbs        Wm.             fishmonger
         Overton      Capt. Frederick
         Post Office  Samuel Gee      postmaster
         Price        Mrs Emily
         Prior        John            bootmaker
         Purdy        Mrs Susan
         Raven        Thomas          grocer, draper, corn dealer and farmer
         Reyner       Mrs Sarah
         Rix          Richard         farmer & carrier
         Russell      Edward          watchmaker, grocer, & draper
         Sainty       Hy. Chapman     baker & corn dlr
         Springall    John            vict. White Horse
         Smith        John            blacksmith
         Stroulger    Hy.             painter & paper hanger, plumber & glazier
         Stroulger    Isaac           farmer
         Stroulger    Isaac, jun.     farmer
         Stroulger    Wm.             farmer
         Thrower      Thomas          wheelwright
         Thurling     Peter           farmer
         Towler       Mrs Phoebe
         Turner       Jno.            grocer, draper & gnrl. dlr
         Vince        Rev. Hy.        (Baptist)
         Wayman       Clmnt. Page     L.S.A. and public vaccinator for
                        Scott,M.R.C.S.  3rd district, Aylsham
         Williams     Wm. Hy.         fmr. & vict. Ship
         Woodhouse    Herbert         vet. srgn. & fmr
         Woodhouse    Saml. Jas.      bldr. & cntrctr
         Wright       Wm.             marine store dealer, coal merchant
                                        and furniture broker

(See also Addenda.)

   R. Rix, to Norwich, on Mon. Wed. and Sat.;
   John Holsey to Norwich, Sat.


To Description add

'A fire engine is kept at the engine-house, adjoining the rector's school-room. Mr. John Rosier is superintendent. The Baptists and Primitive Methodists have each a chapel & school here.'

In Directory insert

         Amies        Wm.             shopkeeper and brazier
         Austin       Watts, jun.     farmer, Church farm
         Bullock      -               fishmonger
         Butler       Jno.            farmer
         Carter       Wm. Geo.        G.E.R. stationmaster
         Egmere       Chas.           sweep & dealer
         Emms         Mr Hy. G.
         Girling      Robt.           shoemaker
         Graver       James           gardener
         Gunton       -               farm steward
         Hindry       Philip, jun.    machine proprietor and farmer
         Hammond      Charles A.      farmer
         Ireland      (A.W.)          millers & corn dealers
           & Gibbs      (A.G.)
         Lambert      Philip          bootmaker
         Leeds        Stephen         farmer
         Norton       Richardson      farmer & dealer
         Pegg         John            farmer
         Phillipo     Skinner         farmer, Woodrow farm
         Starling     Mrs Ruth        coffee and reading rooms
         Skipper      -               bootmaker
         Seaman       William         carpenter and builder
         Spooner      Geo.            baker & confectioner
         Vince        Rev. -          (Baptist)

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See also the Foulsham parish page.

Copyright © Pat Newby.
November 2001