Great Ellingham is a parish and village in Norfolk. The parish was the birth place of Ellen Sarah Wright in 1857, her sister Alice Mary Wright in 1861. Ernest Edwin Rushbrooke lived in Bury Hall, a substantial property on the outskirts of the village, from about 1881 until 1897, married Ellen Sarah Wright in the village church, and six of their children were born in the village.
Great Ellingham is in the agricultural heartland of south Norfolk, in the rolling fields between Norwich and Thetford. Attleborough is just a couple of miles off, but otherwise Great Ellingham is the largest village among its neighbours. In this part of Norfolk, it's unusual to find a parish church with a village spread around it as in Great Ellingham. In the 2001 Census there were 850 people in 330 households. Houses were mainly owner occupied (87%), detached (54%) or semi-detached (36%).
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Bury Hall (Listed as Bury Farm House) is north of the Great Ellingham village centre and church. Earthworks suggest the Hall sits within a moated site of which only the north arm remains. The north-south wing of the present house, consisting of a large first floor hall probably dates from the late 16th century. The attic storey is original. Around 1650 an east-west wing with two rooms on each floor was added. During the 18th century a catslide was added to the west of the older wing and the stairs by the north stack adapted to serve it and the the main attic. This was conected with the use of these areas by farm workers and servants. The east-west wing was given a new west wall and stack during the 18th century. During the 19th century more internal partitions were made, the windows replaced and a pentise added to the north wall.
N-S wing Bury Hall, Great Ellingham
Photo by John Leeson
The following entry in Kelly's Directory for Cambridgeshire, Norfolk & Suffolk, 1883, describes the parish:
GREAT ELLINGHAM is a village and parish about 3 miles west from Attleborough station, in the Southern division of the county, Shropham hundred, Wayland union, Atlleborough country court district, rural deanery of Rockland, archdeaconry of Norfolk and diocese of Norwich. The church of St. James is a spacious building of flint, with stone dressings, in the Early English style: it has a large chancel, nave with open roof and four arches on either side, aisles, a square tower containing 5 bells, and north porch. The register dates from the year 1653. The living is a vicarage, with the rectory of Little Ellingham annexed, joint yearly value £735, in the gift of R. Berridge esq. and held since 1872 by the Rev. Samuel William Turner B.A. of Oriel College, Oxford, who resides at Little Ellingham. The Baptist chapel was founded here in 1699, and re-erected, of red brick with stone dressings, and opened November, 1824; it will seat about 450 persons. The Primitive Methodists also have a chapel here; there is a fuel allotment of 53 acre producing £72 14s. yearly. Lord Walsingham is lord of the Bury Hall manor, and Mrs. Taylor, of the other two manors. The principal landowners are Lord Walsingham, George Tyrrell Tyrrell esq. Sir W. Bowyer-Smijth bart. Henry Norton esq. and Oldman Carter esq. The soil is various; subsoil, various. The chief crops are wheat, barley and oats. The area is 2,670 acres; rateable value, £4,578 10s.; the population in 1881 was 652.
At the 1841 census the village had over a thousand people, and two pubs, two beer houses, two bakers and a butcher, as well as three blacksmiths, two wheelwrights and a shoemaker.
St James Church
The church is typical of larger East Anglian churches in that it has a long nave and chancel, aisles and a clerestory. This is essentially a church of the early 14th century, the Decorated period, with a spire of wood and lead. The chequerwork created by alternating square blocks of knapped flint square blocks of stone gives a very pleasing appearance to this church.