ATTLEBOROUGH, or Attleburgh, is an ancient market town, pleasantly situated on the Norwich and Thetford turnpike, 15 miles S.W. of the former place, and 14 N.E. by E. of the latter, and on the north side of the Norfolk Railway, which has a neat station here. In the Saxon era it was the seat of Offa and Edmund, successively Kings of the East Angles, who fortified it against the predatory incursions of the Danes. These fortifications may still be traced in the ridge called Burn Bank. It was afterwards the seat of the Mortimers, whose ancient hall, (now a farm house,) is encompassed by a deep moat. The parish contains 501 houses, 2,324 inhabitants, and 5,247 acres of land. The Rev. Sir Wm. B. Smyth, Bart., is lord of the manor of Attleborough Mortimer, and its members, (fines arbitrary ;) and Mr. C. Cochell is the steward. S. T. Dawson, Esq., is lord of Chanticlere manor, (fines arbitrary,) and the rectory has two small manors, subject to a fine of 2s. per acre on land, and to arbitrary fines on the buildings. The town is comprised chiefly of one long street, with several good inns and shops ; and the market on Thursdays is well attended. The old market cross was taken down many years ago. Fairs are held on the Thursday before Easter, Whit-Sunday, and on Aug. 15th, for cattle, pedlery, &c. A pleasure fair is also held on the day before the March assizes. A stone pillar on the Wymondham road commemorates the gift of £200, by Sir E. Rich,Knt., in 1675,for the reparation of the road, which is said to be the first turnpike made in England, being formed under an Act passed in the 7th and 8th of William and Mary. In the reign of Richard II. a College was founded here, for a custos and four fellows. Its revenues at the dissolution were valued at £21 16s. 3d. The CHURCH, dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, is a cruciform structure, with a tower rising at the intersection of the transepts, and six bells. The east end was destroyed by the fall of the spire. Here are many memorials to the Mortimer, Chanticlere, Ratcliffes, and other families. The Church was new seated and thoroughly repaired in 1844, at a cost of £1,200. A handsome memorial window of stained glass to Sir E. B. Smijth, Bart., and a new organ has recently been added, at the expense of Lady Smijth. The rectory is in two consolidated moieties, called Great and Little ; the former valued in the King's book at £19 8s. 9d., and the latter at £8 2s. 6d. The Rev. A. J. E. B. Smyth, is patron and incumbent. The tithes are commuted for £1,504 per annum. The Baptists, Friends, and Wesleyans have each a chapel here. Gilbert Berkeley, Bishop of Bath and Wells, was rector at Attleborough in 1554. In 1559 a great part of the town was burnt. Here is a large National school, built by subscription in 1840, at a cost of £700, and attended by about 80 boys and 90 girls. In 1678 the Rev. Hy. Merford left 9a. 3r. 26p. of land towards the support of a graduate at one of the universities, who should be appointed to teach grammar, and should, in consideration of this land, teach six poor children to read, write, and cast accounts, without any charge. The land is now let for £31 7s., which is received by the rector, (the nominal master) who pays it towards the support of the National School, where the free scholars are taught. A rent charge of £2 12s. on Merford's pasture is expended in bread for six poor widows. The Church land, 5a. 3r. 7p., is let for £15. The rent of 1a. 2r. 32p., (£5 10s. 6d.) is paid for ringing bells. The Town lands, about 35a., long vested for the support of the poor, were sold some years ago for £1,274, and the money applied with the poor rates. The Fuel Allotment, 57a. 2r., is let for £42 per annum. Sir F. Bickley in 1670 left 5a. 2r. of land, now let for £15 for the benefit of the poor, who have also £6 12s. a year from 2a. 2r. 23p. of land left by A. Reeder. The County Court, for debts not exceeding £50, is held every month, and comprises the following parishes, viz:Attleborough, Banham, Besthorpe, Blo'Norton, Beccles[sic Breccles], Bressingham, Bridgham, Buckenham, (Old and New), Carbrooke, Caston, Eccles, Ellingham, (Great and Little), Fersfield, Garboldisham, Gasthorpe, Griston, Hardingham, Harling, (East and West), Hockham, Illington, Kenninghall, Larling, Lopham, (North and South), Merton, Ovington, Quiddenham, Riddlesworth, Rockland, (All Saints', St. Andrew's, and St. Peter's), Roudham, Roydon-next-Attleborough, Scoulton, Shelfanger, Shipdham, Snetterton, Stow-Bedon, Thompson, Tottington, Watton, Wilby, and Winfarthing. Thos. Jacob Birch, Esq., judge ; Alexander Edgell, Esq., clerk ; F. F. Francklin, Esq., of Attleborough, assist. clerk ; and Thos. Kerslake, bailiff.
Post Office at Mr. Geo. Barlow Parson's : letters arrive at 7 a.m., and 4 p.m. and are despatched at 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Transcription Copyright © the late A.J. Carter, April, 2001; links updated February 2010.
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Attleborough postmill, Hargham road postmill, Norwich road postmill, Queens road postmill, Town street postmill and Wrogland postmill;
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