CASTLE ACRE is a village and parish, 4½ miles north of Swaffham station, in the Western division of the county, hundred and union of Freebridge Lynn, county court district of Swaffham, rural deanery of Freebridge Lynn and archdeaconry and diocese of Norwich, situated on the river Nar, not here navigable: the stream abounds in trout. The church of St. James is a flint structure of the fourteenth century, in the Early English and Perpendicular style: it consists of chancel, nave, aisles, transept and tower with 5 bells and porch, and contains a clock, a remarkable font cover and a curious shrine: here was originally a remarkable oak rood screen the panels of which now alone remain, each panel containing a painted portrait of a Saint with tracery in imitation of stained glass: the pulpit is a panelled hexagon resting on a thin pedestal and stone steps, the panels being painted to correspond with the screen: the church was restored in 1875. The register dates from about 1598, but is very imperfect till the year 1783. The living is a vicarage, yearly value £168, with three acres of glebe, in the gift of the Earl of Leicester, and held since 1873 by the Rev. Daniel Collyer B.A. of Clare College, Cambridge. It has been proposed to annex the living to that of Newton by Castle Acre. There are chapels for Baptists, Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists. The charities are of £2 10s. yearly value. Fairs are held on the 1st of May and the 5th of August, for toys. There are extensive remains of British, Roman and Norman work: the ruins of a castle, supposed to be Saxon and Norman; a priory, founded by the Earl de Warrenne in 1084, the west front of which is in good preservation and shows some exquisite cutting and carving of the Norman style; early British earthworks, a castrum and a fine Anglo-Saxon cemetery, rich in burial urns. The Earl of Leicester is lord of the manor, lay impropriator and chief landowner. The soil is light sandy loam; the subsoil is chalk. The chief crops are wheat, barley and turnips. The area is 3,014 acres; rateable value £5,198; the population in 1881 was 1,335.
POST, MONEY ORDER & TELEGRAPH OFFICE & Savings Bank. Mrs. Elizabeth Nicholas, receiver. Letters through Swaffham arrive at 4.55 a.m.; dispatched at 7.45 p.m.
National School, built in 1873 (for the four parishes of Castle Acre, South Acre, West Lexham & Newton), Robert Leaman, master
© Transcribed by E.C.Apling, February 1999; links updated December 2009.
Note by E.C.Apling, February 1999; links last updated April 2010.
1891 Census Names Index
Will of John Hudson, 1815
Castle Acre Priory and Castle Acre Castle [English Heritage]
White's 1854 Directory entry
White's 1883 Directory entry [GENUKI-NFK]
Sandy Lane postmill, Priest's postmill and Newton Road postmill [Jonathan Neville]
Archeology of Castle Acre [Norfolk Heritage Explorer]
More on Castle Acre [GENUKI-NFK]
More Parish Information [Geoff Lowe & Andrew Rivett]
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