William White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk 1845
[Transcription copyright © Pat Newby]
HILGAY is a considerable village on the southern acclivity of the vale of the river Wissey, opposite Fordham, and 4 miles S. of Downham. Its parish contains 1,515 inhabitants, and 7,583A. of land, half of which is fen, but now well drained and cultivated, forming part of the great Bedford level. For improving the drainage, a Steam engine was built on the Ten Mile Bank, in 1842. W.L. Jones, Esq., and Mrs. Peel, are the principal owners of the soil; but here are several smaller proprietors. The first is lord of the two principal manors, called Woodhall and Modeney Priory.
The CHURCH, (All Saints,) is a large and handsome edifice, approached by a long walk margined with trees. It has a nave and chancel of equal breadth and height, and a square tower, rebuilt of brick in 1794, and containing eight bells. The rectory, valued in the King's Book at £10, and now at £1,600, has about 70A. of glebe, and is in the patronage and incumbency of the Rev. W.J. Parkes, M.A.
In the parish are many scattered houses, and two Wesleyan and two Primitive Methodist chapels. The old workhouse was converted into a National School, a few years ago.
The CHURCH ESTATE, comprising two houses and 53A. 2R. of land, is let at rents amounting to £111 per annum. One of the houses and 11A. 2R. of the land, were left by the Rev. Nicholas Spencer, in 1701, subject to the yearly distribution of 30s. among 15 of the poorest parishioners; and 20s. for the ringers.
For the general benefit of the poor parishioners, there are two allotments, viz:- the TOWN HUNDRED, comprising 102A., supposed to have been awarded at the enclosure of the Sedge Fen, on the west side of the river Ouse, in the reign of Charles II; and the POOR'S PARTS, 67A., supposed to have been partly given to the poor in exchange for other land, in Flag Fen. These lands are let by the overseers, at rents amounting to about £130 per annum; out of which they pay yearly about £33 for drainage rates, and £13 2s. to the schoolmaster, for teaching ten poor children reading, writing, and arithmetic. The residue they apply in the payment of the rents of cottages occupied by poor families, and in aid of the poor rates. A yearly rent-charge of 20s., left by Thos. Power, in 1795, for a distribution of bread, is paid out of the Bell Inn lands.
Baker John grocer and draper
Boyce John gentleman
Day William miller and baker
Engledow John butcher
Jeaurdan William beerhouse
Jones Wm. Lowton, Esq. Wood Hall
Mountseer Jas. grocer and draper
Nixon John shoemaker
Parkes Rev. Wm. Jph.,
Poll James baker
Pryer Robert gentleman
Scott John millwright
Scott William gentleman
Staples John beerhouse
Smith William blacksmith
Sterndale John surgeon
Tingay Wm. beerhouse & shopkeeper
Townsend Chas. National schoolmr.
Whitham William beerhouse
Fuller Rt. George and Dragon
Howlett William Jolly Anglers
Girdlestone Thomas Rose and Crown (& plumber, &c.)
Creek William Ship
King Fras. White Swan (& butcher)
(* are Owners.)
Bassingham Wm. Goodchild Wm.
Boyce Henry Goodchild John
Boyce Joseph Miller Hy., White Hall
* Boyce John Peacock William, Creek
Brundell William * Proctor William
Canham Rt. Geo. Rose Thomas
* Case John & Rt. * Scott Thomas
Cook George Turner William
Cooper Thomas Wayman William
* Dams John Wootton John
Driver Henry Wright James, Hilgay Lodge
COACH to London, 10½ mg., & to Lynn 6½ evg.
CARRIER to Lynn, Jno. Barrett, Tues. & Sat.
See also the Hilgay parish page.
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Copyright © Pat Newby.