Norfolk: Irstead


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

[Transcription copyright © Pat Newby]

IRSTEAD is a parish and straggling village, 11 miles N.E. of Norwich, in Smallburgh union, Tunstead hundred, Happing and Tunstead petty sessional division, North Walsham county court district, Norwich bankruptcy district, Stalham polling district of North Norfolk, Happing division of Waxham rural deanery, and Norfolk archdeaconry. It had 142 inhabitants in 1881, living on 1065 acres, and has a rateable value of £1132.

The parish includes a broad of 114 acres in the river Ant, and 18A. 1R. 3P. in the Neatishead broad. Sir J.H. Preston, Bart., owns the greater part of the soil, and is lord of the manor, which, in Domesday Book, is called Orsteada, and was formerly held by the Glyn, Gurney, and Horner families; the latter of whom sold it to the late Sir T. Preston.

The CHURCH (St. Michael) is a small edifice with a plain square tower. It is in the late Decorated style, except the south aisle, which is Perpendicular. About 1844 it was thoroughly repaired and refitted with open seats; the ancient carved oak benches, &c., were restored; the east end was paved with ornamental tiles; and a new east window of painted glass was inserted. The beautifully executed designs in this and the west window are by Mr. Grant, of Cossey. The lower panels of the screen contain beautifully painted figures of the twelve apostles; and there is a good specimen of mediæval iron-work on the door.

The font is a fine example of the Perpendicular style, but of unusual design. Four of its sides are sculptured with representations of clouds, in which are the head of Christ in a cruciform nimbus, St. John the Baptist's head in a charger, a hand and scroll, and the Agnus Dei; the remaining sides are filled with foliage.

The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the King's Book at £6 13s. 4d., and consolidated with the vicarage of Barton-Turf in the gift of the Bishop, and incumbency of the Rev. William Haughton.

The late Rev. William Gunn, a former rector, was author of 'An Inquiry into the Origin and Influence of Gothic Architecture' (8vo. 1819); and published a new edition of 'Historia Brittonum' (edited in the tenth century by Mark, the Hermit), with notes and illustrations.

The joint livings were valued in 1869 at about £383 a year. Here is a good rectory house. The glebe is 13 acres, and the tithes of Irstead were commuted in 1839 for £202 per annum.

Henry Headley, a very elegant poet and critic, and the son of a late rector, was born here in 1766, but died in 1788, in his 22nd year. William de Wykham, who was rector here in 1347, bequeathed a sum of money for the purpose of beautifying the windows of the church.

The Poor's Allotment, awarded at the enclosure in 1805, is 39A. 2R. 6P., on which turf is cut for the poor.

WALKING POST from Norwich viâ Neatishead.

         Allen     John          marshman
         Cubitt    Benjn.        farmer; h Neatishead
         Edridge   Robert        farmer
         Gay       John          wherryowner
         Haughton  Rev. William  rector of Irstead and vicar of Barton
         Ling      Alfred        farmer and overseer, The Grove and Hall farm
         Scarling  John          farmer; h Neatishead
         Wiseman   James         shoemaker

See also the Irstead parish page.

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Copyright © Pat Newby.
August 2005