Norfolk: Poor Law after 1834


In 1834 a countrywide Poor Law Act was passed setting up Unions and Incorporations (not all containing the same number of parishes). Some parishes which were already in previous Unions did not transfer to the new ones until a later date.

Further information can be found:


Poor Law Union Records in 4 volumes by Gibson

1. South-East England & East Anglia 2. The Midlands & Northern England
3. South-West England, The Marches and Wales 4. Gazetteer of England & Wales.

These pages are for personal use only. They may not be copied, and the links within them may not be harvested for use on your own web pages. Please see the Copyright Notice.

Copyright © Mike Bristow.
June 2016


  Aylsham, Blofield, Brinton(I)(to 1869), Depwade, Docking, Downham, Erpingham, East & West Flegg(I), Forehoe(I), Freebridge-Lynn, Great Yarmouth, Guiltcross (dissolved in 1902), Henstead, Kings Lynn, Loddon & Clavering, Mitford & Launditch, Norwich(I) (to 1863), Norwich (from 1863), Smallburgh (from 1869), St. Faiths, Swaffham, Thetford, Tunstead and Happing(I)(to 1869), Walsingham, Wayland.

The approximate distribution (where "*" =Workhouse location) in the county is as follows:

                        County of NORFOLK                    NORTH SEA
 HOLBEACH               __         _____
                 ______/  \_______/     \______    C=Cromer
 L              /                BRINTON       \_C__
 I             /                     *     *        \__
 N            /     *     WALSINGHAM    ERPINGHAM      \
 C           /  DOCKING                                 \__
 S KL=King's |               *                  *          \_
       Lynn  ) FREEBRIDGE                 AYLSHAM   TUNSTEAD \_
 SPALD____  /    LYNN                               * + HAPPING\_
 -ING/    \ |      *      MITFORD and     ST FAITHS  (SMALLBURGH)\
    /      KL*             LAUNDITCH            *              *  \_
  _/    KINGS                *           NORWICH              EAST+ \
 |       LYNN                                 *-N-   BLOFIELD  WEST  \
 WISBECH               *             N=City of Norwich     *   FLEGG |
 *\_               SWAFFHAM                 HENSTEAD             ___ |
 C  \   DOWNHAM                      FOREHOE    *               /   \*
 A  |      *                             *                 *    |   GY
 M  |   (MARKET)              WAYLAND                LODDON +    \
 B  |                             *                   CLAVERING_  ) GY=Great
 S  \_____                                             /\____/  \_) Yarmouth
          \           THETFORD                         |  MUTFORD and
  *ELY     \        _______      GUILTCROSS     *     /   LOTHINGLAND
            \______/      /           *      DEPWADE /
                         T_*_________ D=Diss     ___/     WANGFORD
              T=Thetford             \___D______/    HOXNE
  MILDENHALL      THINGOE     STOW       HARTISMERE                            
                                 County of SUFFOLK

Places have been given their names according to the Genealogical Atlas with aliases following in brackets. The location, description, history of each Norfolk Workhouse is to be found by following the link to their individual pages.

Unions (some of which contained Norfolk Parishes) in the adjoining counties of Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Suffolk are also given.

Aylsham Union

  Alby, Aylsham, Banningham, Belaugh, Blickling, Brampton, Burgh next Aylsham, Buxton, Calthorpe, Cawston, Colby, Coltishall, Corpusty, Erpingham, Foulsham, Guestwick, Hackford-by-Reepham, Hautbois-Great, Hevingham, Heydon, Hindolveston, Ingworth, Irmingland, Itteringham, Kerdiston, Lammas with Little Hautbois, Little Barningham, Mannington, Marsham, Oulton, Oxnead, Reepham, Salle, Saxthorpe, Scottow, Skeyton, Stratton Strawless, Swanton Abbott, Themelthorpe, Thurning, Thwaite All Saints, Tuttington, Whitwell, Wickmere, Wolterton, Wood Dalling, Wood Norton.

All parishes joined in 1836. See the Aylsham Union page for more information.

Blofield Union

  Acle, Beighton, Blofield, Braydeston, Brundall, Buckenham Ferry, Burlingham St Andrew, Burlingham St Edmund, Burlingham St Peter, Cantley, Fishley, Freethorpe, Great Plumstead, Halvergate, Hassingham, Hemblington, Limpenhoe, Lingwood, Little Plumstead, Moulton St Mary, Postwick, Ranworth-with-Panxworth, Reedham, South Walsham St. Mary, South Walsham St. Lawrence, Southwood, Strumpshaw, Thorpe St. Andrew (or Thorpe-next-Norwich), Tunstall, Upton, Wickhampton, Witton (near Blofield), Woodbastwick.

All parishes joined in 1834. See the Blofield Union page for more information.

Brinton Gilbert Union

  Brinton, Melton Constable with Burgh Parva.

These parishes were all in the Brinton Gilbert Union (or "Brinton Incorporation") from 1834 until it was dissolved in 1869 when they joined the Walsingham Union. See the Brinton Gilbert Union page for more information.

Depwade Union

  Alburgh, Ashwellthorpe, Aslacton, Billingford (near Diss), Brockdish, Bunwell, Burston, Carleton-Rode, Denton, Dickleburgh, Diss, Earsham, Forncett St. Mary, Forncett St. Peter, Frenze, Fritton, Fundenhall, Gissing, Great Moulton, Hapton, Hardwick, Hempnall, Morningthorpe, Needham, Pulham St. Mary Magdalen (or Pulham Market),
Pulham St. Mary-the-Virgin, Redenhall with Harleston, Rushall, Scole, Shelton, Shimpling, Starston, Stratton St.Mary, Stratton St.Michael, Tacolneston, Tasburgh, Tharston, Thelveton (or Thelton), Thorpe Abbotts, Thorpe Parva, Tibenham, Tivetshall St. Margaret, Tivetshall St. Mary, Wacton, Wortwell.

All parishes joined in 1834. See the Depwade Union page for more information including additions in 1902. Note that the Norfolk part of Mendham (the rest being in Hoxne Union in Suffolk-see later) became part of "Redenhall with Harleston" for civil purposes in 1885.

Docking Union

  Anmer, Bagthorpe, Barmer, Barwick, Bircham Newton, Bircham Tofts, Brancaster, Broomsthorpe, Burnham-Deepdale, Burnham-Norton, Burnham-Overy, Burnham Sutton-cum-Burnham Ulph, Burnham-Thorpe, Burnham-Westgate, Choseley, Dersingham, Docking, East Rudham, Fring, Great Bircham, Great Ringstead, Heacham, Holme-next-the-Sea, Hunstanton with Barrett-Ringstead, Ingoldisthorpe, New Houghton, North Creake, Sedgeford, Shernborne, Snettisham, South Creake, Stanhoe, Syderstone, Thornham, Titchwell, Waterden, West Rudham.

All parishes joined in 1835 except Choseley which joined after 31/Dec/1865. See the Docking Union page for more information.

Downham Union

  Barton Bendish, Bexwell, Boughton, Crimplesham, Denver, Downham Market, Downham West [West Downham] (1896), Fincham, Fordham, Hilgay, Holme next Runcton, Marham, Roxham, Ryston, Shouldham, Shouldham-Thorpe, South Runcton, Southery, Stoke Ferry, Stow-Bardolph, Stradsett, Tottenhill, Wallington cum Thorpland, Watlington, Welney, Wereham, West Dereham, West Welney (1895), Wiggenhall St. German, Wiggenhall St. Mary Magdalen, Wiggenhall St. Mary the Virgin, Wiggenhall St. Peter, Wimbotsham, Wormegay, Wretton.

All parishes joined in 1834. See the Downham Union page for more information.

Erpingham Union

  Aldborough, Antingham, Aylmerton, Baconsthorpe, Barningham-Norwood, Barningham-Winter, Bayfield, Beeston Regis, Bessingham, Bodham, Briston, Cley-next-the-Sea, Cromer, East Beckham, Edgefield, Felbrigg, Gimingham, Glandford, Gresham, Gunton, Hanworth, Hempstead (by Holt), Holt, Hunworth, Kelling, Knapton, Letheringsett, Matlaske, Metton, Mundesley, North Repps, North Walsham (to March 1884), Overstrand, Plumstead, Roughton, Runton, Salthouse, Sheringham, Sidestrand, South Repps, Stody, Suffield, Sustead, Thornage, Thorpe Market, Thurgarton, Trimingham, Trunch, West Beckham, Weybourne.

All parishes joined in 1834. See the Erpingham Union page for more information.

Faith's (Saint) see St. Faith's Union section

Flegg (East and West) Incorporation

  Ashby with Oby, Billockby, Burgh St. Margaret & St. Mary, Caister next Yarmouth, Clippesby, East Somerton, Filby, Hemsby, Martham, Mautby, Oby (see Ashby with Oby), Ormesby St. Margaret, Ormesby St. Michael, Repps with Bastwick, Rollesby, Runham, Scratby, Stokesby with Herringby, Thurne, Thrigby, West Somerton, Winterton.

All parishes joined in 1775. See the Flegg (East and West) Incorporation page for more information.

Forehoe Incorporation

  Barford, Barnham-Broom, Bawburgh, Bowthorpe, Brandon Parva, Carleton-Forehoe, Colton, Costessey (or Cossey), Coston, Crownthorpe, Deopham, Easton, Hackford (near Wymondham), Hingham, Kimberley, Marlingford, Morley St. Botolph, Morley St. Peter, Runhall, Welborne, Wicklewood, Wramplingham, Wymondham.

All parishes joined in 1776. See the Forehoe Incorporation page for more information.

Freebridge-Lynn Union

  Ashwicken, Babingley, Bawsey, Castle Acre, Castle Rising, Congham, East Walton, East Winch, Flitcham cum Appleton, Gayton, Gayton Thorpe, Gaywood, Great Massingham, Grimston, Harpley, Hillington, Leziate, Little Massingham, Middleton, Mintlyn, North Runcton, North Wootton, Pentney, Roydon (near King's Lynn), Sandringham, Setchey, South Wootton, West Bilney, West Newton, West Winch, West Acre, Wolferton (or Wolverton).

All parishes joined in 1834. See the Freebridge-Lynn Union page for more information.

Guiltcross Union

Dissolved in 1902 when its parishes were divided between Depwade (D), Thetford (T) and Wayland (W).

  Banham (W), Blo' Norton (T), Bressingham (D), Bridgham (T), East Harling (T), Eccles (W), Fersfield (D), Garboldisham (T), Gasthorpe (T), Kenninghall (W), New Buckenham (W), North Lopham (T), Old Buckenham (W), Quidenham (W), Riddlesworth (T), Roydon (D) (near Diss), Shelfanger (D), South Lopham (T), West Harling (T), Wilby (W), Winfarthing (D).

All parishes joined in 1835. See the Guiltcross Union page for more information.

Henstead Union

  Arminghall, Bixley, Bracon Ash, Bramerton, Caistor St. Edmund, Colney, Cringleford, Dunston, East Carleton, Flordon, Framingham Earl, Framingham Pigot, Hethel, Hethersett, Holverston, Intwood, Keswick, Ketteringham, Kirby Bedon, Markshall, Great Melton (Melton Magna), Little Melton (Melton Parva), Mulbarton, Newton-Flotman, Poringland Great (or East), Poringland Little (or West), Rockland St. Mary, Saxlingham-Nethergate, Saxlingham-Thorpe, Shotesham All Saints, Shotesham St. Mary & St. Martin, Stoke Holy Cross, Surlingham, Swainsthorpe, Swardeston, Trowse (or Trowse Newton), Whitlingham, Wreningham.

All parishes joined in 1834. See the Henstead Union page for more information.

Kings Lynn Union

  • King's Lynn, All Saints [alias South Lynn]
  • King's Lynn, St. Margaret
  • North Lynn (St Edmund)
  • West Lynn (St. Peter) [alias Old Lynn]

All parishes joined in 1835. See the Kings Lynn Union page for more information.

Loddon and Clavering Union

  Aldeby, Alpington, Ashby St Mary, Bedingham, Brooke, Broome, Bergh Apton, Burgh St. Peter, Carleton St. Peter, Chedgrave, Claxton, Ditchingham, Ellingham, Geldeston, Gillingham All Saints, Gillingham St. Mary, Haddiscoe, Hales, Hardley, Heckingham, Hedenham, Hellington, Howe, Kirby Cane, Kirstead, Langley, Loddon, Mundham, Norton Subcourse, Raveningham, Seething, Sisland, Stockton, Thorpe next Haddiscoe, Thurlton, Thurton, Thwaite St. Mary, Toft Monks, Topcroft, Wheatacre All Saints, Woodton, Yelverton.

All parishes joined in 1836. See the Loddon and Clavering Union page for more information.

Mitford and Launditch Union

  Bawdeswell, Beeston (cum Bittering), Beetley, Billingford (near East Dereham), Bintry (Bintree), Brisley, Bylaugh, Colkirk, Cranworth, East Bilney, East Dereham, East Lexham, East Tuddenham, Elsing, Foxley, Garveston, Gateley, Great Dunham, Great Fransham, Gressenhall, Guist, Hardingham, Hockering, Hoe, Horningtoft, Kempston, Letton, Litcham, Little Bittering, Little Dunham, Little Fransham, Longham, Lyng, Mattishall, Mattishall Burgh, Mileham, North Elmham, North Tuddenham, Oxwick, Pattesley, Reymerston, Rougham, Scarning, Shipdham, Southburgh (Southbergh), Sparham, Stanfield, Swanton Morley, Thuxton, Tittleshall, Twyford, Weasenham All Saints, Weasenham St. Peter, Wellingham, Wendling, West Lexham, Westfield, Whinburgh, Whissonsett, Wood Rising, Worthing, Yaxham.

All parishes joined in 1835. See the Mitford and Launditch Union page for more information.

Norwich Incorporation (until 1863) then Norwich Union (from 1863)

  All Saints, Earlham St. Mary, Eaton St. Andrew, Heigham, Hellesdon (Hamlet of -see also St. Faiths), Lakenham, Pockthorpe, St. Andrew, St. Augustine, St. Benedict, St. Clement, St. Edmund, St. Etheldred, St. George Colegate, St. George Tombland, St. Giles, St. Gregory, St. Helen, St. James, St. John Maddermarket, St. John Sepulchre, St. John Timberhill, St. Julian, St. Lawrence, St. Margaret, St. Martin-at-Oak, St. Martin-at-Palace, St. Mary-at-Coslany, St. Mary-in-the-Marsh (from 1863), St. Michael-at-Coslany, St. Michael-at-Plea, St. Michael-at-Thorne, St. Paul, St. Peter Hungate, St. Peter Mancroft, St. Peter-per-Mountergate, St. Peter Southgate, St. Saviour, St. Simon & St. Jude, St. Stephen, St. Swithin, Thorpe (hamlet), Town Close, Trowse Millgate, Carrow & Bracondale.

All parishes joined before 1834 except as indicated. See the Norwich Incorporation (later Union) page for more information.

St. Faith's Union

  Alderford, Attlebridge, Beeston St. Andrew, Booton, Brandiston, Catton, Crostwick, Drayton, Felthorpe, Frettenham, Great Witchingham, Hainford (Haynford), Haveringland, Hellesdon (part of-see also Norwich), Honingham, Horsford, Horsham St. Faith's, Horstead with Stanninghall, Little Witchingham, Morton-on-the-Hill, Newton St. Faith's, Norwich - St. Mary-in-the-Marsh (until 1863), Rackheath, Ringland, Salhouse, Spixworth, Sprowston, Swannington, Taverham, Weston Longville, Wroxham.

All parishes joined in 1836. See the St. Faith's Union page for more information.

Smallburgh Union (from Sept 1869)

(Tunstead and Happing Incorporation to Sept 1869)

  Ashmanhaugh, Bacton, Barton Turf, Beeston St. Lawrence, Bradfield, Brumstead, Catfield, Crostwight, Dilham, East Ruston, Eccles, Edingthorpe, Felmingham, Happisburgh, Hempstead (near Stalham), Hickling, Honing, Horning, Horsey-next-the-Sea, Hoveton St. John, Hoveton St. Peter, Ingham, Irstead, Lessingham, Ludham, Neatishead, North Walsham (from March 1884), Palling-near-the-Sea (Sea Palling), Paston, Potter Heigham, Ridlington, Sco-Ruston (or South Ruston), Sloley, Smallburgh, Stalham, Sutton, Swafield, Tunstead, Walcott, Waxham, Westwick, Witton (near North Walsham), Worstead.

All parishes joined the Incorporation in 1785. See the Tunstead and Happing Incorporation and Smallburgh Union pages for more information.

Swaffham Union

  Ashill, Beechamwell, Bodney, Buckenham near Tofts (Buckenham Parva), Caldecote, Cockley-Clay, Colveston, Didlington, East Bradenham, Foulden, Gooderstone, Great Cressingham, Hilborough, Holme Hale, Houghton-on-the-Hill, Ickburgh (Igborough), Langford, Little Cressingham, Narborough (Narburgh), Narford, Necton, Newton by Castleacre, North Pickenham, Oxborough, Saham Toney, Shingham, South Pickenham, Southacre, Sporle with Palgrave, Stanford, Swaffham, Threxton, West Bradenham.

All parishes joined in 1834. See the Swaffham Union page for more information.

Thetford Union (part of)

This consisted of 20 Norfolk and 14 Suffolk parishes.
The Norfolk ones are:-
  Brettenham, Cranwich, Croxton (near Thetford), East Wretham, Feltwell-Anchor (extra parochial - added to Union 1864), Feltwell Fen Farms (post 1858), Feltwell St. Mary & St. Nicholas, Great & Little Snarehill (post 1858), Hockwold cum Wilton, Kilverstone, Lynford, Methwold, Mundford, Northwold, Redmere (1864 to 1865), Rushford, Santon (or Santon House), Sturston, Thetford St. Cuthbert, Thetford St. Mary, Thetford St. Peter, Weeting All Saints, West Tofts, West Wretham, Whittington (from 1874).
The Suffolk ones are:-
  Barnham, Barningham, Brandon, Coney Weston, Euston, Fakenham Magna, Hepworth, Honington, Hopton, Knettishall, Market Weston, Santon Downham, Sapiston, Thelnetham.

All parishes joined in 1835 except as indicated. See the Thetford Union page for more information including additions in 1902. See "Poor Law Board" 17th Annual Report Appendix 50 for places added after 31/Dec/1863. Note that the extra parochial area of Redmere moved to Ely Union after 31/Dec/1865.

Tunstead and Happing Incorporation

See Smallburgh Union section.

Walsingham Union

  Alethorpe (*), Bale (or Bathley), Barney, Binham, Blakeney, Briningham, Brinton (from 1869), Cockthorpe, Dunton cum Doughton, East Barsham, East Raynham (or Rainham St. Mary), Egmere, Fakenham (or Fakenham Lancaster), Field Dalling, Fulmodeston cum Croxton, Great Ryburgh, Great Snoring, Great Walsingham, Gunthorpe, Helhoughton, Hempton, Hindringham, Holkham, Houghton-in-the-Hole, Kettlestone, Langham, Little Ryburgh, Little Snoring, Little Walsingham, Melton Constable with Burgh Parva (from 1869), Morston, North Barsham, Pensthorpe, Pudding Norton, Quarles (*), Saxlingham, Sculthorpe, Sharrington, Shereford, South Raynham (or Rainham St. Martin), Stibbard, Stiffkey, Swanton-Novers, Tatterford, Tattersett, Testerton, Thursford, Toftrees, Warham All Saints, Warham St. Mary, Wells-next-the-Sea, West Barsham, West Raynham (or Rainham St. Margaret), Wighton, Wiveton.

All parishes joined in 1834 except as indicated. See the Walsingham Union page for more information.

Alethorpe and Quarles (both extra parochial) are shown as being added to this Union by 1858 under the "Extra Parochial Places Act", 20th Victoria, Cap. 19.[ref. Poor Law Board Annual Report Volume 11].

Wayland Union

  Attleborough, Besthorpe, Breckles, Carbrooke, Caston, Great Ellingham, Griston, Hargham, Hockham, Illington, Larling, Little Ellingham, Merton, Ovington, Rockland All Saints, Rockland St. Andrew, Rockland St. Peter, Roudham, Scoulton, Shropham, Snetterton, Stow-Bedon, Thompson, Tottington, Watton.

All parishes joined in 1834. See the Wayland Union page for more information including additions in 1902.

Yarmouth (Great) Borough

See the Yarmouth Union (formed in 1837) page for more information.

Extra Parochial Places

There are a number of places deemed extra parochial. A number in the "Poor Law Board Annual Report Volume 11 (1859)" are listed as awaiting Union allocation under the "Extra Parochial Places Act", 20th. Vic (1856-7). The following list is under Norfolk in the above report. Places marked (*) have additional info in the following notes.

Place Area in
Population No. of
  Rymer (SFK) (*)       --     5     1
  Great and Little Snarehill       --   37     1
  Langham's House and Bake Office (no land)(*)       --     8     --
  Feltwell Anchor       --   70     --
  Redmere       --   27     --
  Wood's and Jacob's Farms in Feltwell Fen       --   10     --
  One Hundred Acre Common (*)       --   --     --
  Marsh land on the south side of the Rive Bure (*)       --   12     --
  Choseley     660     6     1



  • It is not known where the following place is situated at present :-
    • Langham's House and Bake Office (no land)
  • One Hundred Acre Common [85Acres 2R. 10P. as marked on Tithe Map of 1841] is on north side of Lady Drove (East of Barroway Drove) in West Downham. This is fen land enclosure where the ownership was vested with churchwardens of Downham Market (White's 1845 directory), Wimbotsham and Stow Bardolph. The site of One Hundred Acre Common Farm (TL5852303190) was opposite Tile Farm.
  • Marsh land on the south side of the Rive Bure.
    In some old writings this land is called Foldholme, in others Sheetholme (Skeetholme), Stayat, and Larwood. Alternative names are modern "Scaregap Farm" [TG4903409438] which was called "Staregap Farm" on 1885 1:2500 map where Acle (Det. No 1) is marked. For more on this area see Nowhere.
  • Rymer is 5.5 miles south of Thetford and just consists of "Rymer House" situated west of RAF Honington. This is where a number of Suffolk parishes ie. Euston, Fakenham Magna, Great Livermere, Honington, Little Livermere and Troston abut and Barnham, Culford and Ingham converge at Rymer Point a few yards to the west. Became part of Fakenham Magna in 1881 and was never in Norfolk. It looks like this place was included in error in the wrong section of the report?


-- End of Norfolk Unions --

Cambridgeshire Poor Law Unions

The Poor Law Unions which covered areas that are partly in or which bordered Norfolk are given followed by the location of their workhouses in brackets "()". Follow the links for more information.

  • Wisbech Union (Wisbech)
    • This consisted of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire parishes.
    • The Norfolk ones are:-
      Clenchwarton, Emneth, Nordelph(1909+), Outwell (part of), Terrington St. Clement, Terrington St. John, Tilney All Saints, Tilney-cum-Islington, Tilney St. Lawrence, Upwell (part of), Walpole St. Andrew, Walpole St. Peter, Walsoken, West Walton.
    • The Cambridgeshire ones are:-
      Elm, Leverington, Newton, Outwell (part of), Parson Drove, Tydd St Giles, Upwell (part of), Wisbech St Mary, Wisbech St Peter.
  • Ely Union (Ely)
    • Redmere (or Redmore) was in this Union after 31/Dec/1865. Previously in Thetford Union.
    • Workhouse was located at Cambridge Road, Ely, CB7 4HP, [Map reference is TF533799]. In the 1940's called Tower House Hospital. It closed in the 1990's the redeveloped site now called "Tower Court"


-- End of Cambridgeshire Unions --

Lincolnshire Poor Law Unions

The Poor Law Unions which covered areas that are partly in or which bordered Norfolk are given followed by the location of their workhouses in brackets "()".

  • Holbeach Union (Holbeach)
    • The place called "Central Wingland" (partly in Norfolk) is in this Union.
    • Workhouse built on the border between the parishes of Holbeach and Fleet. Location was on north side of Fleet Road, PE12 7AX, [Map reference is TF370249]. Also later called "Fleet Road Hospital".
  • Spalding Union (Spalding)
    • Location on Pinchbeck Road, Spalding, c. PE11 1QN, [Map reference is TF247235]. Also called "Pinchbeck Road Hospital" and now demolished.


-- End of Lincolnshire Unions --

Suffolk Poor Law Unions

The Poor Law Unions which covered areas that are partly in or which bordered Norfolk are given followed by the location of their workhouses in brackets "()". Follow the links for more information.


-- End of Suffolk Unions --