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 [Transcription © SA Whittle-Bruce 2002]

West Dereham,Norfolk

Kelly's 1908 Directory


West Dereham is a village and parish, with a station, called "Abbey," on the Downham and Stoke Ferry branch of the Great Eastern railway, and is 4 miles south-east from Downham, in the South Western division of the county, Clackclose hundred and petty sessional divisiona, Downham union and county court district, rural deanery of Fincham(East division), archdeaconry of Lynn and diocese of Norwich. There were formerly two churches here, respectively, St.Andrew and St.Peter; the latter has long since disappeared, though its foundations may still be traced in the western part of the churchyard, where in 1908 a stone coffin containing remains was found within nine inches of the surface. The church of St.Andrew is an edifice chiefly in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel(restored in 1895), nave, south porch, vestry and a massive round western tower of ragstone, surmounted by an octagonal turret of brick and containing 5 bells: the south doorway is of Early English character, and has a well-preserved holy water stoup on the east side; two windows contain ancient stained glass, some of which is said to have been removed here from the abbey: in the church are two monuments to the Dereham family, one of them being an elaborate piece of work in various coloured marbles, erected at the beginning of the 18th century: there is also a life-sized marble statue of Colonel Soame, of West Dereham Grange d.1706, and a slab with arms to Gregory Lovell esq. d.1693, leaving £500 to the poor of the parish: there are also marble tablets to members of the Stebbing family, 1853-7; the Roper family, 1840-44, and to the Catton family, from 1792 to 1824: the church plate includes a silver flagon given in 1706 by Mrs. Mary Green, of The Grange, who also gave money to inclose the communion table with rails: the nave was completely restored in 1900, new roofed, refloored and reseated, with other repairs, at a cost of £950: there are 200 sittings. The register dates from the year 1558. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value £165, including 25 acres of glebe, with residence, in the gift of the Bishop of Ely, and held since 1900 by the Rev. William Burleigh R.A. of Downham College,Cambridge. The vicarage house, which is near the church, was erected in 1874. There are Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist chapels. The charities amount to about £150 yearly, of which £25 is applied by order in Chancery, 28th April 1857, towards the support of the Elementary school, and the remainder is distributed to the poor in coals and money. In 1873 a valuable bed of coprolites was found in the parish, but is not now worked. Here was formerly an abbey of the Premonstratensian order, founded A.D. 1188 by Hubert Walter, then Dean of York, and afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, who was a native of West Dereham; this monastic house was colonized from the abbey of Welback, in Notts, and considerable remains are still extant; its revenues at the time of the Dissolution were estimated at £252 12s 11 1/2d. In the first year of King John, 1199, a charter was granted to the abbot and convent of West Dereham for a weekly market on Wednesday and an annual fair for four days, viz, 21st September and three following days. About 1564 the abbey farm was held for a time by Thomas Tusser, author of the "Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry;" and Francis Dereham, the kinsman and early lover of Queen Katherine Howard, who suffered death on her account in 1542, was a member of the ancient family who took their name from this place, and obtained a grant of the abbey and its surrounding lands: the lands are tithe free: the farm and abbey are now the property of Col. Frederic Hambleton Custance C.B. of Weston, Norwich, and 17, Cranley place, London S.W. Edward Roger Murray Pratt esq. of Ryston Hall, who is lord of the manor, Sir Alfred Thomas bart. of Stradsett Hall, and Col. F.H. Custance are the principal landowners. The soil is of a mixed character; subsoil, ragstone, sand and clay. the chief crops are wheat and barley. The area is 3,341 acres; rateable value, £2,998; the population in 1901 was 439.

Parish Clerk, William Adams

Post Office.-Edward E. Barrow,sub-postmaster. Letters arrive from Stoke Ferry S.O. at 6.55 a.m. & 4.40 p.m.; dispatched at 9a.m. & 5.45 p.m.; sundays, arrive at 6.50 a.m.: dispatched at 9a.m. Stoke ferry, 3 1/2 miles distant, is the nearest money order & telegraph office.

Wall Letter Box, White Horse P.H. cleared at 8.35 a.m. & 5.30 p.m.; sundays, 8.50 a.m.

Public Elementary School(mixed), erected in 1860, & enlarged in 1886, for 120 children; average attendance 81: Frank Andrews, master



Burleigh Rev. William B.A. The Vicrge

Newling Alfred Seaman, The Abbey

Steward Frederick, The Hollies



Adams Wm. carpenter & wheelwright

Bailey John, farmer, Willow farm

Barrow Edward Ebeneezer, grocer & draper, Post office

Bushell Henry, blacksmith

Cook William. farmer

Dawes Robert, farmer, Bazil farm

Denny Alfred, farm bailiff to Hugh Kerkham esq. Grange farm

Ewen Samuel, farmer

Fretwell Albert John, farmer

Garner Frederick, farmer

Haylett Robert, farmer

Horton Ida(Miss), dressmaker

Horton James, farmer

Jacobs Jas. Chequers P.H. & blacksmth

Johnson William, shoemaker

Lancaster George, coal dealer

Newling Alfred Seaman, farmer, The Abbey

Newling David Butters, farmer

Nurse Filby, farmer

Pilgrim Charles, farmer

Porter Bertha Ann(Miss), asst. oversr

Porter Elizabeth(Mrs), beer retailer

Robinson Lydia(Mrs), farmer

Staines Henry, Bell P.H.

Staines James, farmer

Steward Henry, farmer, White Hall fm

Taylor Richard Oldroyd, farmer,White House

Thorrold Edward George, farmer

Trower Gilbert, farmer

Ward Robert, beer retailer

Wood Gabriel, farmer


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