Norfolk: Walsoken


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
         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.
         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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Copyright © Pat Newby.
March 2010