Norfolk: Poor Law


Workhouses before 1834

This is a list of additional information about some of the many workhouses (and poorhouses) which existed in Norfolk before 1834. Some of these were owned or rented by the parish. In some cases the parish ran them and in others people were hired to do the job. Almshouses also exist in some parishes. For further information see the Norfolk Record Office catalogue.

Workhouses arranged by location

Place Known Information Post 1834
Union or
Acle Workhouse built c.1788 for the Acle Gilbert Union Blofield
Ashill Workhouse built 1778-1780. Swaffham
Ashwellthorpe "W1836" states - "The Workhouse was built about 45 years ago, on 10 acres of land, enclosed from the common, to which 2A. were allotted at the enclosure in 1811." Sold after 1834. Depwade
Aylsham Workhouse existed 1788 - room for 80 inmates. In Millgate street in 1808. Aylsham
Banham "W1836" states - "An old building, called the Guildhall now rented as the workhouse" Guiltcross
Bawdeswell Workhouse built 1785 for the Bawdeswell Gilbert Union Mitford and Launditch
Booton Workhouse built c.1786 for the Booton Gilbert Union St Faith's
Bressingham Had a Workhouse by 1817. Guiltcross
Brinton Workhouse built c.1786 for the Brinton Gilbert Union Walsingham
Briston Had a Workhouse by 1834.
"W1836" states "The almshouses given by Messrs Burridge and Toolye, about 1650, were for some time used as the Workhouse, but are now free residences for the aged poor."
Buckenham, New
  (New Buckenham)
Workhouse by 1783 near Crown Inn. Guiltcross
Buckenham, Old
  (Old Buckenham)
Guardians Minute Books show payments in 1836 while Guiltcross being built. Guiltcross
Bunwell Had a Workhouse by 1783. Depwade
Burlingham St Edmund Workhouse sold 1838? Part of Acle Gilbert Union. Blofield
Buxton Workhouse built 1801 for the Buxton Gilbert Union Aylsham
Carleton Rode Had a Workhouse by 1786 Depwade
Castle Rising Had a Workhouse by 1800. Freebridge Lynn
Cawston Workhouse built after 1740 - 70 paupers ("W1836") - sold 1856 Aylsham
Cley next the Sea "W1836" states "The Workhouse is now divided into tenements for poor families"
Workhouse sold in c.1850.
Denver Had a Workhouse by 1786. Downham
Dereham, East
  (East Dereham)
1758 - Workhouse at the bottom of Sandy Lane.
1776-1801 Joined Mitford and Launditch Incorporation.
1801 - East Dereham obtained an Act by which it was separated from the incorporation.
New Workhouse built at Union Drift off the Norwich Road.
Mitford and Launditch
Dersingham Had a Workhouse by 1825. Docking
Dickleburgh Guildhall or Townhouse west of Church 1729. Workhouse 1775-1817 and demolition order for 1836. "W1836" gives "Samuel Drane governer of the workhouse." Depwade
Diss Workhouse was built about 1730 and converted to Almshouses in about 1838 Depwade
Downham Market Had a Workhouse by 1823. Downham
Edgefield Had a Workhouse by 1827. "W1836" states - "On the heath is a House of Industry, erected under Gilbert's Act for 50 paupers." Erpingham
Ellingham, Great
  (Great Ellingham)
Had a Workhouse by 1800. Wayland
Fakenham Had a Workhouse by 1801. "W1836" states - "The Workhouse, a neat building, 1 mile E. of town was erected in 1830, under Gilbert's Act, at a cost of £2000, to accomodate 100 paupers but it has seldom more than 30 inmates. It has a garden, occupying 8¼A. enclosed from the heath." "W1854" states - "Workhouse sold in 1837". Walsingham
Forncett "W1836" gives a resident - "Drake? Thos. Sl. gov. Workhouse." Depwade
Foulsham 1782 - built on the waste - accomodates 45 people ("W1836")
1819-1835 - Parish Workhouse records at NRO (reference MC 1337/1).
1836 - Joined Union.
Garboldisham Guardians Minute Books show payments in 1836 while Guiltcross being built. Guiltcross
Gimingham Workhouse built 1805 for the Gimingham Gilbert Union Erpingham
Gressenhall Mitford and Launditch Incorporation Workhouse built 1777. Mitford and Launditch
Harling, East
  (East Harling)
Had a Workhouse by 1800. Guiltcross
Heckingham Loddon and Clavering Incorporation Workhouse built 1764. Loddon and Clavering
Heydon Workhouse built c.1797 Aylsham
Hilgay Workhouse converted into a National School in 1838 (W1864) Downham
Hindolveston Had a Workhouse by c.1786. Aylsham
Hockwold cum Wilton Workhouse sold 1838 Thetford
Holkham c.1782 - Holkham joined with Warham All Saints and Warham St. Mary to support their poor. Walsingham
Holt Workhouse 1780-1836. "W1836" states - "The Workhouse on the Heath built in 1779, when 50A. of land enclosed from the waste, and is now the parish farm." Erpingham
Horsham St Faiths Workhouse built 1805 for the St Faiths Gilbert Union St Faith's
Kenninghall Repair of Workhouse 1808. Guiltcross
Kings Lynn Kings Lynn Incorporation Workhouse built 1682. Kings Lynn
Lopham, North
  (North Lopham)
Guardians Minute Books show payments in 1836 while Guiltcross being built. Guiltcross
Lopham, South
  (South Lopham)
Guardians Minute Books show payments in 1836 while Guiltcross being built. Guiltcross
Mulbarton "W1836" states that the Workhouse was built sometime after 1677. Henstead
Necton Workhouse by 1780. Swaffham
Northwold Had a Workhouse by 1787 with 13 people in it according to the 1787 census Thetford
Norwich Norwich Incorporation Workhouse built c.1712. Norwich
Oulton Workhouse built 1792 for the Oulton Gilbert Union Aylsham
Pickenham, North
  (North Pickenham)
Had a Workhouse by 1778 which was sold in 1844. Swaffham
Pulham St Mary the Virgin "W1836" states - "The Workhouse was erected under Gilbert's act, about 10 years ago, when 10 acres of land was annexed to it from the South common." Site was just East of Station Road - Grid Ref is TM2071584350 Depwade
Redenhall (with Harleston) Had a Workhouse by 1740. Depwade
Reedham Had a Workhouse by 1777.
Joined Acle Gilbert Union sometime between 1788 and 1832
Reepham Workhouse built 1808 for the Hackford Gilbert Union Aylsham
Rollesby Flegg Incorporation Workhouse built 1776. Flegg
Salle Had a Workhouse by 1786. Aylsham
Shelfanger Workhouse by 1833. Guiltcross
Sheringham Workhouse built 1805 for the Aldborough Gilbert Union Erpingham
Smallburgh Tunstead & Happing Incorporation Workhouse built 1785. Tunstead & Happing
South Lynn Workhouse in Friar Street built before 1776. Used until c. 1826 Kings Lynn
Sporle-with-Palgrave Workhouse sold in 1836/8? and converted into 6 cottages. Swaffham
Stow Bardolph See Wimbotsham entry Downham
Stradsett See Wimbotsham entry Downham
Swaffham Workhouse by 1768. Swaffham
Thorpe St Andrew Had a Workhouse by 1785 ("W1836") Blofield
Tibenham Had a Workhouse by 1814 Depwade
Thetford Records from 1635.
Thetford St Cuthbert - Workhouse by 1797.
Thetford St Mary - Workhouse sold 1836.
Thetford St Peter - Workhouse before 1833.
Tottenhill See Wimbotsham entry Downham
Walsham, North
  (North Walsham)
Parish workhouse here before 1776.
Old Workhouse sold and new built in 1786 ("W1836"). Location near Catspit Lane/ Workhouse Loke
Walsingham, Great
  (Great Walsingham)
Had a "House of Industry" in "Wesgate Hall" by 1784. Walsingham
Walsingham, Little
  (Little Walsingham)
Premises called "Old Workhouse" in 1852. Active and located in High Street ("W1836"). Walsingham
Warham All Saints c.1782 - Holkham joined with Warham All Saints and Warham St. Mary to support their poor. Walsingham
Warham St. Mary c.1782 - Holkham joined with Warham All Saints and Warham St. Mary to support their poor. Walsingham
Wells next the Sea Had a Workhouse in Parsonage Street in 1793 with 43 people in it according to the census of that year.
"W1836" states - "The Workhouse will accomodate from 60 to 90 paupers but seldom has more than 40."
Wicklewood Forehoe Incorporation Workhouse built 1777. Forehoe
Wighton Had a Workhouse by 1789. Walsingham
Wimbotsham "W1836" states - "in the village is a Workhouse, for the parishes of Wimbotsham, Stow Bardolph, Stradsett, and Tottenhill." Downham
Winfarthing Had a workhouse by 1810. There were 29 named people in it as noticed in entry 68 on Page 41 of the 1811 census.
See also the 1821 census when there were 21 named paupers.
Witchingham, Great
  (Great Witchingham)
1757 - Workhouse built on common - "W1836".
Had a Workhouse between 1789-1835. This was situated in Morse Close which leads to Common Lane in Lenwade at Grid Ref. TG0964118350.
St Faith's
Wood Norton Had a Workhouse before 1834. Aylsham
Wymondham Workhouse in town from 1631. Had at least 44 occupants in 1747 population census. This was superceeded by the Forehoe Incorporation Workhouse built 1777. Forehoe
Yarmouth, Great
  (Great Yarmouth)
Great Yarmouth Workhouse built c.1650's. Great Yarmouth

References to "W1836" are to William White's 1836 gazetteer and directory of Norfolk and "W1854" is a directory published by the same company in 1854.

Further information can be found:

See also the Poor Law page and the Post 1834 Unions page

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Copyright © Mike Bristow.
July 2016