BEXWELL is a parish, 1¼ miles east from Downham Market station and 96½ from London, in the Western division of the county, in Clackclose hundred, Downham union and county court district, rural deanery of Fincham, archdeaconry of Norfolk and diocese of Norwich, situated on the road from Downham Market to Swaffham and Brandon. The church of St. Mary is of ragstone, dating from the Norman era, and contains some very good remains of Norman and early English work; the tower is round, with a row of circular-headed windows around it in the upper compartment and is surmounted by an octagon portion of the Perpendicular period, supposed to have been added when a bell, as appears by an entry in the old register book, was sold to the then churchwarden of Downham Market, the proceeds being appropriated to repair the church : the pulpit, designed and executed by W. Lawrie, of Downham Market, is a handsome carved specimen, in Caen stone, of the Early English style, adorned with a figure in the purest Italian alabaster of our Lord Bearing His Cross : there are several monuments, and a tablet, in the memory of the old family of Bexwell, who resided in the parish for many generations, and some of whom are interred in the church : in 1928 a new three-light Early English window was put in the east end to the memory of the late rector, at the cost of the family, and a new reredos underneath the same at the cost of the present rector. The register dates from the year 1558, and is in excellent preservation. The living is a discharged rectory, yearly value £415, the tithes being commuted at £345 a year with 48 acres of glebe land, in the gift of the Bishop of Norwich, and held since 1864 by the Rev. James Henchman Crabbe M.A. of St. John's College, Cambridge. The principal landowner is Edgar Roger M. Pratt esq. who is lord of the manor. The soil is good loam; subsoil, clay and sand. The chief crops are wheat, barley, &c.&c. The area is 1,177 acres; rateable value, £1,749; the population in 1881 was 79.
© Transcribed by E.C. ("Paddy") Apling, July 2009; links updated May 2010.
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