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Help and advice for Norfolk: Wells

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Norfolk: Wells

William White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk 1845

[Transcription copyright © Pat Newby]

WELLS, or Wells-next-the-Sea, is an irregularly built sea-port town, 5 miles N. by W. of Walsingham, 10 miles N. of Fakenham, 29 miles N.E. of Lynn, 32 miles N.W. of Norwich, and 118 miles N.N.E. of London. Its parish has increased its population since the year 1801, from 2,316 to 3,504 souls, and contains 1,606 acres of land, lying in four manors, viz:- Wells-late-the-Duke's, Normans, and Walsingham Priory, of which the Earl of Leicester is lord; and Binham Priory, of which Sir R.J. Harvey is lessee lord, under the Bishop of Norwich. The common was enclosed in 1811.

Wells had formerly a weekly market on Saturday, and races yearly; but both are discontinued, though the town is well supplied with provisions, and has still a fair on Shrove Tuesday, for toys, sweetmeats, and pleasure. Its commerce has been for many years in a declining state, but efforts are now making to revive it, by improving the harbour; and it is intended to form a Railway from the town, to join the Norwich and Brandon line, near Thetford.

Wells, formerly one of the most incommodious sea-ports in England, is now being greatly improved under the powers of the Harbour and Quay Act, and an Act for Lighting and Improving the Town, both obtained in 1844. £12,000 has been borrowed by the Commissioners of these necessary acts. The town will shortly be newly paved, and lighted with gas; a new stone Quay is nearly completed, and new streets and roads are being formed to give ready access to the harbour and other parts of the town.

The Harbour has been much improved of late years, and works are now in progress for deepening the channel, in which the tides rise about 11 feet. Vessels of 150 to 200 tons can get up at high water. Many of 200 tons are built here, and the number of registered vessels, now belonging to the port, 67, and their tonnage 2,885. In 1844, the number of coasting vessels outward, was 222; and inward, with cargoes, 330. The number of foreign vessels which brought cargoes, (chiefly rape and linseed cake,) was 45. There are here 32 fishing boats; and in the offing are prolific beds of oysters and muscles [sic]. The exports consist chiefly of corn, oysters, &c., sent coastwise, and the imports of coal, timber, rape and linseed cakes, salt, &c.

The CUSTOM-HOUSE is on the Quay; William Dawson, Esq., is collector; Mr. J.N. Robilliard, comptroller; J. Brown and T.S. Harman, tide waiters; and Mr. John Parker, harbour master. The limits of the port extend about 5 miles east, and 13 miles west. Within these bounds are four coast-guard stations, of which Capt. G.R. Welch is inspecting commander. The customs received here, amount only to about £500 per annum. Here are nine pilots, including Mr. Robt. Allen, the pilot-master.

The CHURCH (St. Nicholas,) is a neat fabric, with a nave, side-aisles, chancel, south porch, and a square tower. The south gallery was erected by the present incumbent, in 1833, at the cost of £320, with pews for 140 hearers, with the consent of the Bishop and the parishioners, so that it is considered his own private property. The singing gallery, and the window which lights it, were formed at the same time, by subscription, at the cost of £82. Over the south door is painted the history of the flood, and over the north door, that of Jonas. The font is ornamented with carvings of angels, shields, &c.

The benefice is a rectory, valued in the King's Book at £26 13s. 4d., and possesses 40A. of glebe, a neat residence, and a clear yearly rent of £615, awarded in 1844, in lieu of tithes. The Rev. John Robt. Hopper is the patron, and the Rev. Valentine Hill, M.A., is the incumbent.

Here is a Friends' Meeting House, built in 1783; also an Independent Chapel, built in 1817, and enlarged with galleries, in 1826. Here are likewise two chapels belonging to the Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists.

The Theatre is the property of Mr. Fisher, the manager, and will hold about £50, at the usual prices, but is only occupied for a few weeks once in two years.

Wells has formed part of Walsingham Union since 1836, and the old parish Workhouse is now used as a National School, supported by subscription. Here is also a large British School, built in 1838, with a house for the master, at the expense of the late Countess of Leicester, and other contributors.

In 1678, Cphr. Ringer left two yearly sums of £16, - one for the maintenance of two poor widows for teaching 60 poor children; and the other for a monthly distribution of meal among the poor of the parish, mostly to those not receiving parochial relief. In satisfaction of these annuities, £600 was received in 1681, and laid out in the purchase of an estate, now consisting of a farm-house, (rebuilt in 1828,) two cottages, &c., and 88A. of land, in Barningham and Bassingham [sic, possibly Bessingham], let for £120 per annum, half of which, after payment of incidental expenses, is distributed in wheaten flour, and the remainder is paid to two respectable widows, who each instruct 30 children in reading, and the girls also in knitting and sewing.

In the 17th century, the REV. MUNGO MORRAY left an estate of 126A., at Bale, to the rectory of Wells for ever, subjected to the yearly payment of £18 to the poor. Part of this annuity is distributed in meal, and the rest in coals, with the rent of the Fuel Allotment, 10A., awarded at the enclosure, and now let for £30 a year to the Earl of Leicester. A yearly rent-charge of £5, left by Ann Tidd in 1762, is distributed in clothing among the poor, who have also the dividends of £388 2s. 9d., New 3½ per cent. Stock, left by Wm. Branch Elliott, in 1810. The rector and others are trustees.

PETTY SESSIONS are held at the Crown Inn, on the third Monday of every month, and Mr. Thos. Garwood is clerk to the magistrates. The POST OFFICE is at Mrs. Hannah Southgate's, where letters arrive by the Lynn Mail Cart, at ½ past ten morning; and are despatched at 3 afternoon.

In the following DIRECTORY OF WELLS, those marked 1 reside in Burnt street; 2, Butlands; 3, Church street; 4, East end; 5, Freeman street; 6, Glebe road; 7, High street; 8, Mill lane; 9, Quay; 10, Staith street; 11, Theatre street; and 12, at West end.

          2 Ackroyd    Rev Jno., M.A.     vic. of Holkm
            Allen      Robert             haven master
          6 Bottomley  Joseph H.          stone mason
            Brett      Robert             millwright, Mill lane
          5 Brown      John               tidewaiter
            Bunting    Henry
          2 Burley     Mr. James
          6 Calagan    Patrick            coast guard
          7 Carver     Rev. Dd.           curate of Warham
         10 Cassidy    Mrs. Mary          gentlewoman
         12 Curry      Captain Roger, R.N.
          9 Dawson     Wm., Esq.          colr. of customs
          2 Dunn       Abraham            clerk
          3 Emes       Matthew            tobacco pipe maker
            Fryer      Mr. Jno. Val.
         12 Gardner    Mr. Francis
            Hayden     Joseph             excise officer
            Hayhow     Mrs. A.
          1 Hill       Rev. Valentine,
                         M.A.             rector
            Hobborn    Sarah              pipe maker
          4 Howard     John               gardener
          7 Houghton   Edward             auctioneer and land surveyor
          5 Leeder     Mr. Rt
          2 Loose      Mrs. Mary
          1 Lowne      William            cattle dealer
            Mann       William            supervisor
          7 Martin     Rev. Stephen       (Indpt min.)
          7 Mitchell   Robert Andrew      eating house
         12 Nettleton  Mrs. Ann
         10 Parker     John H.            harbour master
          4 Parker     Robinson           agent to Lloyds
         10 Peace      Mrs. Jane
         10 Pennington Francis S.         haberdasher
          7 Plowman    Wm.
         10 Plowright  Mr. Edmund Gibbs
         10 Potts      Mr. Anthy.
          2 Purdy      Rev. James         (Wesleyan min.)
          2 Race       Mrs. H
          2 Race       William            agent to Trinity house
          8 Rayner     Mrs. Julia
            Read       James T., Esq.     Marsh House
          5 Reeder     Misses Rachel
                        and Elizabeth
         10 Robilliard John N.            comptroller
          5 Robinson   John               clothes dealer
          9 Rump       Misses
          7 Southgate  Hannah             postmistress
          2 Strutt     Samuel
          7 Thurston   Mr. Rt.
          7 Tingay     George William     clerk
            Walker     Mrs. Esther        Glebe road
          5 Wayte      Henry              in customs
          7 Webb       Thomas             relieving officer
          2 Welch      Captain G.R.       coast guard
         12 Williamson Honor              pawnbroker
          2 Wiseman    John               ship agent
          7 Wright     Mr. Charles Temple
            Yeams      Mrs. Phœbe         Burnt-street
               FIRE AND LIFE OFFICES.
          1 Young      James              Crown
         10 Fryer      T. and H.          Dissenters'
          2 Howard     Thomam [sic]       Farmers'
         10 Ward       Rt.                Guardian (stamp distrtr.)
          7 Neville    Henry              Norwich Union
          2 Loose      Francis            Phœnix
          7 Houghton   E., jun.           Protector Fire
               INNS AND TAVERNS.
          3 Newson     James              Bowling Green
          2 Ellis      Samuel             Crown Inn
         10 Hayhow     Thos.              Crown and Anchor
         12 Humphrey   George             Dogger
          3 Gath       Thomas             Eight Ringers
          2 Priest     Thomas             Globe
          9 Allen      Dennis             Golden Fleece
          7 Fox        Henry              Green Dragon
         12 Ford       William            Holkham Arms
          4 Shreeve    John               Jolly Sailors
          9 Johnson    Joshua             King's Arms
          7 Smithbone  William            King Wm. IV.
         10 Lubbock    Charles            Leicester Arms (and sail maker)
          9 Richardson William            Lord Nelson
          2 Porter     John               Ostrich Inn
          4 Southgate  John               Queen's Head
          9 Powditch   John               Red Lion
          4 Crawford   Henry              Royal Standard
          5 Hammond    Robert             Ship
          9 Leeder     Robert             Sun
          9 Warner     William            Three Tuns
          5 Wickham    Edward             Wheat Sheaf
          3 Paxton     John               Waggon and Horses
           (* take Boarders.)
          7*Cross      Anthony Charles
          7*Carver     John
         10 Gamble     Wm.                British School
          2 Garwood    Rose
            Allen      Mrs.               Girls' Free Schools
             and Wabon   Mrs.               [See note below]
          1*Judd       My. Ann
          9 Oliver     Tamison
          4 Peace      John
          2 Garwood    Thos.
          2 Loynes     Robert Thurston
                           (* Confectrs. also.)
          7*Baker      Robert           7 Merris     John
          7 Bambridge  Jas.             5 Miller     Wm. Hy.
          5 Bouch      William          7 Moorhouse  Geo.
          4 Clark      Robert           9*Newson     Isaac
         10 Hill       Robert          10*Race       Harriet
         10 Land       Robert           7 Thurgur    John
         10*Matsell    Thos.            5 Walker     Thomas
               Basket Makers.
          3 Canfor     Robert
          7 Mitchell   James
          7 Plowman    Thos.
               Beer Houses.                  Blacksmiths, &c.
         10 Cable      Samuel           2 Farrow     Thomas
          5 Garrett    Henry            3 Garrett    William
          9 Hammond    Robt.            7 Hall       Robert
          4 Houghton   R.               2 Randall    Wm.
          4 Land       Joseph           4 Smith      Isaac
          7 Readcock   Ann              8 Whisson    Wm.
          5 Rhodes     Thomas          10 Woods      John, & iron founder
               Booksellers, &c.
         10 Fryer      T. & H.
          2 Howard     Thomas
          7 Neville    Henry
                       Boot & Shoemakers
         10 Amis       John            19 Matthews   W.
         10 Anderson   Josha.          11 Medwell    Wm.
         12 Barnes     Barry           10 Peace      Ann
         12 Bullock    Benj.           10 Powditch   Sl.
         10 Castleton  Jph.             9 Smith      Thomas
          3 Gregory    George           7 Tinker     Robert
          7 Gregory    Augtu.           7 Tyzack     Chas.
          7 Hall       William          6 Warner     Wm.
               Brazrs. & Tinrs.              Brewers.
          9 Cawston    Thos.            9 Crofts     George
         10 Godfrey    Adam             9 Rust       Martha
          6 Robinson   F.               2 Southgate  Jph. (& porter mert.)
         10 Goss       John
            Holmes     James
          7 Steel      Edward
         12 Youngs     Henry
          1 Adkin      John P.         10 Jarrett    Saml.
          5 Emerson    Rd.              7 Lee        James
          9 Hammond    Eliz.            4 Metcalf    Robt.
          9 Houghton   Rt.              7 Ramm       James
          5 Howard     Edw.
          3 Leslie     John
         10 Copeman    W. & Co.
          5 Taylor     Wm.
               China, &c. Dlrs.              Coopers.
         10 Dixon      Jno. M.         10 Massingham John (& brush maker)
          7 Thurston   Robt.           10 Walker     Wm.
         10 Ward       Robert           3 Whitaker   Rt.
               Corn and Coal Merchants.
                    (* Coal only.)
          9 Brereton   J. and R.          Rt. Wells, agent
          9 Chapman    Jas.
          9 Crofts     George
          2*Dunn       Abrahm.
         19 Eyre &
          6*Harman     Wm.
          9 Haycock    Jph.
          5*Lord       Richard
          2*Sandling   Ths. Dixon
          9 Southgate  Jph. junior
          2*Spooner    Wm.
               Corn Millers.                 Currier.
          8 Barnes     Thomas             Leech      Benj.
            Plowright  N.J.
            West &
            Belcham    Richd.          12 Gardner    W.N.
          3 Caddamy    Hy.              3 Graver     Samuel
          3 Cole       Wm.              6 Hamond     Eliz
          2 Ellis      George           2 Hayhow     Thos.
          4 Faircloth  Robt.           12 Judd       Ann
          7 Baker      Joseph
         10 Flaxman    John
               Grocers & Dprs.
          7 Andrews    Geo.
          5 Bergman    Geo.
         10 Elgar      Wm.
          9 Gales      Joshua
          3 Massey     Wm.
          5 Ringer     Wm. Smith          (& tallow chandler)
          9 Syder      Francis            (& Fakenham)
          7 Tyrrell    Henry              (draper only)
               Hatters.                      Ironmongers.
         10 Ashmead    Ann              5 Bouch      Wm.
          7 Towler     Hubbd.           5 Mann       Richard
          7 Wharf      Ager             7 Tyzack     James
                          * are Cabt. Mkrs.
         10*Betts      George and       3*Leslie     John
                         Benjamin       7*Plowman    G.A.
          2 Betts      Edward           5 Ransome    John
          5*Bouch      Wm.             12 Ransome    Wm. (wheelright)
         10 Fox        Henry           10 Savage     Jph.
          2 Hinson     Horatio          3 Sparks     Peter
          9*Leeder     Thos.            5 White      Wm.
            See Brewers also.
          9 Chapman    Jas.
          9 Gales      Josiah
         12 Gardner    Wm.
          9 Rust       M.
               Master Mariners.              PILOTS.
               (* are Owners.)
          5 Bunn       Thomas             Allen      Robert
         12*Curson     John               Field      Barber
         12 Davies     John               Money      Joseph
          5*Elliott    Edw.               Smith      Edw., Jno.,
          2 Hammond    Hy.                            and Richard
          5 Harman     W.                 Stacey     Robert
          5 Hayden     John               Wright     Matthew
          4 Hendry     Wm.
         10 Hudson     John
          5 Lynes      Joseph
         12 Munson     Wm.
         15 Mussett    Robt.
          5*Newson     Wm.
         10 Powditch   Jas.
          5 Powditch   Ths.
          5 Smith      John
          5 Watson     Henry
          3 Audus      Mrs              7 Mitchell   Maria
         10 Balls      Sarah           10 Plowright  Hr.
         10 Chester    Mary            10 Powditch   M.
          4 Dawson     E.              10 Skeet      Phœbe
               Patten Makers.
          7 Plowman    Ths.
          7 Tyzack     Chas.
               Perfumers and Hairdressers.
          9 Howard     Robt.
         10 Lynn       Wm.
          7 Tyzack     James
          9 Warner     Wm.
               Plumbers, Glaziers, & Pntrs.
          9 King       Richard
          7 Platten    Robert
          3 Plowman    Geo. G.
               Rope Makers.                  Saddlers, &c.
          2 Baker      Wm. & John      10 Bell       Benj.
          3 Flaxman    Thos.           10 Evans      Geo.
          3 Outlaw     Chas.
          3 Thurger    Wm.
               Ship and Boat Builders.
          5 King       Rt. (boat)
          4 Lubbock    John
          4 Tyrrell    Hy. T.
          5 Bedingfield Pleasance       6 Powditch    Ths.
            Cock        Ann R.          5 Silles      John
          9 Cubitt      Mary           12 Twoo        Pleasance B.
          4 Palmer      Mary
          9 Rump       Hugh
          2 Rump       Robert
          1 Young      James
                          Tailors & Dprs.
          9 Bird       Jonathan        2 Leggett     Wm.
          9 Brown      Samuel          3 Shaw        John
          3 Buck       George          7 Skeet       Rt. Rumble
          6 Curson     Isaac                          (& par. clk.)
          6 Hamaway    Jno.            5 Stockings   Wm.
               Watchmakers.                 Wine and Spirit Merchants.
         10 Curson     Mttw.           7 Neville     Henry
          7 Russell    Wm.             9 Rust        Martha
                                       2 Southgate   Jph.


The Hero,
from the Crown to London, via Swaffham, and Newmarket, Tue, Thurs., & Sat., 6 mng.
Mail Cart to Lynn
every aftern. at 3;
every Tuesday, Thurs., and Sat., at 6 mng.; return following days.
Marked * go from the Golden Fleece, and + from the Royal Standard.
To London,
Green & Archer's Vans from Church street, Monday and Thursday, 3 morning.
+ Dereham,
Wm. Raven. Thursday.
Peter Cock, Freemen street; and Thos. Rhodes, Monday and Thursday, 6 morning.
Wm. Raven, + Monday, 6 mng.; Jas. Stearman, Theatre yard, Tuesday, 7 morning; and Rd. Belsham, West-end, Thursday, 7 morning.
* Barney,
Robt. Riches, Wednesday
*+ Binham,
John Bullen,daily.
* Burcham,
Howard, Wed. & Sat.
LONDON & HULL TRADING VESSELS, once a fortnight from the Quay.
  • The format of the directory has been changed.
  • In the original, this is:
          Girls' Free Schools Mrs. Allen and Mrs. Wabon
  • In these entries the district is not "1" to "12":
          15 Mussett Robt.
          19 Matthews W.
          19 Eyre & Chester

See also the Wells parish page.

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Copyright © Pat Newby.
January 2016