Norfolk: Happisburgh


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

[Transcription copyright © Peter Green]

HAPPISBURGH, commonly called Hasbro', is a considerable village, scattered on the summit and declivities of the sea-bank, 4 miles N. of Stalham, 7 miles E. of North Walsham, and 15 S.E. by E. of Cromer. Its parish is in the union of Smallburgh, Happing hundred, North Walsham county court district, Happing and Tunstead petty sessional division, Norwich bankruptcy district, archdeaconry of Norfolk, rural deanery of Waxham, and Stalham polling district of North Norfolk. It had 547 inhabitants in 1881, living on 1953 acres. The rateable value is £4205 10s. and gross estimated rental of £4834 15s.

The soil belongs to a number of proprietors, but the representatives of the late Messrs. Andrew & Cubitt Johnson Siely are joint lords of the manor, which was anciently held by the Parkers, who had here and at Eccles many privileges and customs, among which were view of frankpledge, waif, wreck, free warren, free fishing, gallows, tumbrel, &c. The copyholds are subject to fines certain.

The CHURCH (St. Mary) is a lofty pile of flint and stone, consisting of nave with aisles and clerestory, chancel, south porch with parvise, and fine embattled tower containing five bells and rising to the height of 112 feet. The font is octagonal, and bears carved representations of the symbols of the evangelists. The chancel screen, holy water stoup, and piscina, still remain. The building, which has been recently restored at a cost of over £2000, stands on an elevated point of land within a short distance of the sea-cliff, which, rising perpendicularly, and having an under stratum of sand and gravel, is so continually wasted away by the tides and storms, that it is more than probable that at some future time the church will be engulfed in the ocean, like the neighbouring church of Eccles.

The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the King's Book at £6 6s. 8d., and now in the patronage of the Bishop of Norwich. The Rev. James Slater, M.A., is the incumbent, and has a good residence, built in 1857 at a cost of £1000, and since enlarged. The tithes have been commuted for £687 to the Bishop, as appropriator of the rectory, and £230 to the vicar: but owing to the encroachments of the sea, these sums are now somewhat reduced. The vicarial glebe is 2 acres.

The Primitive Methodists have a small chapel here, built in 1862.

In 1727 the Rev. Jonathan Chaloner charged his estates, now belonging to Lord Suffield, with the following yearly payments, amounting to £21 per annum: viz. £10, for the education of poor children of Happisburgh and Lessingham; and £5 14s. to the former, and £4 6s. to the latter parish, to provide clothing and bread for the poor. In respect of the £6 for education at Happisburgh, several children are instructed at the NATIONAL SCHOOL, which is a large and handsome red brick structure of Gothic architecture, erected in 1861 at a cost of £600, raised by subscription and a Government grant.

The Poor's Allotment, 3A. 3R. 28P., awarded at the enclosure is let for £10 a year, which is distributed amongst the poor parishioners, who have also 30s. a year from several rent-charges, left by Robert Smith, Mary Williams, and Mr. Alison; and 21s. a year from the charities of James Scamler, from which the clerk has 2s. 6d., and the vicar £4 6s. 8d. for four sermons. Charles Summers, son of a late schoolmaster here, gave some years ago 10A. 3R. 27P. of land at East Ruston, in trust to apply the yearly rent as follows:- £5 in monthly distributions of bread at the parish church; £3 towards the support of the School; and the remainder to a gratuity fund in aid of the clothing club. The land is now let for £26 per annum.

There are TWO LIGHTHOUSES, one 90, and the other 70 feet high, distant 775 yards from each other. These, originally built in 1791, and then lighted with coal fires burnt in the open air, have been frequently altered, so as to keep pace with the advance of science as applied to lighthouse construction and illumination. At present the illuminating power used is Cannel coal gas, produced by special apparatus manufactured by Messrs. Edmundson of Dublin from patented designs furnished by Mr. Wigham. These are the only lighthouses in England which are lighted with gas manufactured on the premises.

This magnificent white fixed light is directed and distributed from the lanterns (20 feet high) placed on the top of each tower, by beautifully finished lenses aided by refracting and totally reflecting prisms of glass, designed and manufactured, for the Honourable Trinity Corporation, by Messrs. C. Lance, of Birmingham. These lights can, by a special arrangement of the patentees, be instantly increased or diminished in power, as the condition of the atmosphere may require. These lights may been seen in clear weather a distance of 25 to 30 miles, they light mariners through 'Haisborough gat' [sic].

On a clear day the cathedral spire at Norwich, together with some 40 church towers, can be seen from the summit of the High Light Tower.

The Newarp Floating Light, at the north end of the Newarp sand, is moored in 21 fathoms, and carries three lights and a flag. During fogs, a fog-horn, worked by a powerful caloric engine, is sounded on the vessel every ten minutes. At the north end of Haisborough sand, off the coast, is another floating light vessel, with two fixed lights and a flag, moored in 13 fathoms.

The Coastguard Station was established here in 1820, and has an officer and three men. A new station was built in 1879, as the present one is in danger of being swallowed up by the ocean. There is a Lifeboat Station, established in 1866.

POST AND MONEY ORDER OFFICE AND SAVINGS BANK at David Ducker's. Letters from Norwich viâ Stalham, arrive at 8.45 a.m., and depart at 2.15 p.m.

         Bartram   Mrs Mary Ann         Blackburn Mrs Juliana      vict. Hill Hotel         Bond      George           farmer         Cannon    John             coxswain to lifeboat         Clements  Benj.            blksmth & vict. Swan Inn         Cooper    Wm. Brett        grocer & draper         Ducker    David            grocer, draper, assist. overseer,                                      rate collector & postmaster         Ducker    Miss Harrt.                     Frances        schlmstress         Faulke    James            farmer         Frarey    Mrs Mary         miller and farmer         Galbraith Mr Donald         Green     William          parish clerk         Hemp      Robert           shoemaker         Humphries Mr Joseph         Ireson    Wm. James Cooke  beerhouse and shopkeeper         Mears     Wm. Thomas       chief coastguard boatman         Mole      William          farm bailiff         Palmer    John             farmer and owner         Payne     William          shopkeeper and parish clerk for Walcott         Purdy     James            carrier         Siely     James            farmer         Siely     John             farmer and owner         Slater    Rev. James, M.A. vicar, The Vicarage         Slipper   Benjamin Shipley farmer and owner, The Hall         Spurr     Frederick        lighthouse officer         Suffling  William          thatcher         Thirst    Thomas           farmer and owner         Thompson  John             farmer & blacksmith         Watts     Henry            farmer         Wenn      Wm.              farmer; h Walcott         Wilkinson Jno.             fmr.; h Nth. Walsham         Wittleton Robt.            farmer, Manor farm         Young     Mrs Bathsheba    grocer & drpr 

CARRIER - James Purdy, to Norwich, Wed. and Sat.

See also the Happisburgh parish page.

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Copyright © Pat Newby.
June 1999