William White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk 1845[Transcription copyright © Pat Newby]
WALSOKEN is a large and pleasant village, 12 miles S.W. of Lynn, and 1 mile E. of Wisbech, adjoining to which town is the populous modern suburb of NEW WALSOKEN, in this parish, which has increased its population since the year 1801, from 705 to 2,562 souls, and comprises about 3,000 acres of land, including a large portion of the Smeeth and Fen, (vide p.563 [which is the entry for Freebridge Marshland Hundred],) and belonging to a number of freeholders and copyholders.
The Prior of Lewes, in the 3rd of Edward I., had here, among other privileges, a weekly market on Thursday, and a fair on the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul. The manor of Walsoken, formerly Colville's, is now held by Chas. Metcalfe, Esq., of Wisbech, and was given to the abbey of Ramsey, in Huntingdonshire, by Aldwin, Duke of the East Angles, in 1009. It afterwards passed to the Wrothesleys, Southwells, and Colvilles. Four other manors extend into the parish.
The CHURCH, dedicated to All Saints, is a much admired specimen of ancient architecture, with a tower surmounted by a lofty spire. At opposite ends of the nave, are effigies of King Solomon and King David, boldly sculptured in relief. On each side of the former is a large painting, representing the judgment of Solomon on the two harlots. The font is a richly sculptured piece of antiquity, being of an octagon form, supported by Gothic arches, with numerous figures in the compartments, representing the seven sacraments of the church, with a crucifixion. Here is likewise a beautiful Gothic screen, and inscriptions to the memory of the Wensleys, Southwells, Gardiners, Edwards, and Herrings. One of the latter family was Dr. Thomas Herring, archbishop of Canterbury, who died in 1757.
The benefice is a rectory, valued in the King's Book at £30 13s. 4d., but now worth £1,300, the tithes having recently been commuted for £1,200 per annum. The Rev. W. Crockford is patron; the Rev. John Bluck, M.A., rector; and the Rev. Chas. Dowding, B.A., curate.
There was formerly a chapel, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, at a place called Staith Ditch, in which was a famous fraternity or guild of brothers and sisters, to whom Popes Urban, Boniface, &c., granted many indulgences. A Hermitage existed here in the reign of Henry V., but its site is unknown.
The Primitive Methodists have a chapel both at Old and New Walsoken.
On the north side of the village is Walsoken House, the pleasant seat of Mrs. Broughton.
The Poor have two chaldron of coals yearly, charged by Gregory Brown, in 1666, on 4A. of land in Chapelfield, now belonging to Sir W.J.H.B. Ffolkes, Bart. Those who have not received parochial relief during the preceding twelve months, have divided among them yearly, £18, from 8A. at Sutton St. James, left by Robt. Palmer, 1579; £22 from 18A. at Parson Drove, left by one Harvey; and £8 2s. 6d. from 1A. 2R., allotted on an enclosure of Crab-Marsh, in this parish. They have also two yearly rent charges, 13s. 4d. and 5s., left by unknown donors; and another of 20s., left by John Smith, in 1705, out of land at Towcester, now belonging to the Earl of Pomfret.
In the following DIRECTORY OF WALSOKEN PARISH, those marked 1 are at FEN-END, four miles E. of the Church, and 2 are at New Walsoken, adjoining Wisbech.
Adams Mr. Thos. 2 Allen Mr. Thos. 2 Anderson D. supervisor Baxter Robert vict., Black Bear 2 Barley Charles C. tea dealer 2 Bradford John coachman 1 Bettison Thomas vict., Plough & Sail Broughton Mrs. Walsoken House 2 Buer Charles excise officer 2 Climenson Mr. Joseph 1 Chilvers John machine owner 2 Coe Mrs. Elizabeth Cook Martha vict., Bell 2 Dobbs Mr. J. [see note below] Downing Rev. Charles, B.A. curate 2 English Wm. butcher & vict., Geo. IV. 2 Foster Abraham [see note below] Giddens William corn miller Grimmer Robert wheelwright 2 Hampson John corn merchant 2 Hardy George merchant 2 Haygarth Mr. James 2 Johnson Robert gentleman 2 Kirk Mr. William Neale Mrs. E. Oliver Mrs. Sarah Phenix Rev. Isaac (Wesleyan min.) 2 Philp Thomas clerk Provost Mrs. Ann 2 Ransom William cabinet maker 2 Reynoldson & Staveley schoolmasters Sharp Mrs. Sar. 2 Trevor Mr. John 2 Thorogood Mrs. Susan 2 Walters Edward broker 2 Whatton William plumber, &c. 2 Wiles Mr. John 2 Willingham John carpenter Wootton Elizabeth schoolmistress Bakers. 2 Clark Thomas 2 Goodyer Richard Thompson John Beer Houses. Bricklayers. Baxter Walter Hammond J. 1 Berry William 2 Jones J. Day Samuel 2 Warth John 2 Lenton Sarah Blacksmiths. Butchers. 2 Davidson Thos. l English William 2 Herring Thomas 2 Stevenson F. FARMERS. l Bycroft Richard 1 Sawford Susan Catlin Abraham Sharman James Edge John 2 Sharman Michl. l Frusher William 1 Sharpe William 1 Gibson William Simmons James 1 Goodale Sarah Smith Womack 1 Moss James Terrington John, Smeeth Munsey Thomas Terrington Zac. Murley John Topps John Murley John, jun. l Wailing James Ollard Henry l Ward John l Porter John 1 Warth John Gardeners. Shopkeepers. Bodger John 2 Chadwick John Bodger Thomas Sandal Samuel 2 Sigger James Waddlow Thomas Shoe Makers. Tailors. Baxter Robert 2 Bassingham Ben. Lightfoot John 2 Craft Abraham Norris Anthony 2 Marriott Sarah Sandal Samuel Southwell James
Note: in the original this is:
2 Dobbs Mr. J., and Foster Abraham
See also the Walsoken parish page.
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