WEST DEREHAM, is a village.parish and station on the branch of the Downham and Stoke Ferry railway, 3 miles north-east from Hilgay station, and 4 south-east from Downham Market station, in the Western division of the county, Clackclose hundred, Downham union and county court district, rural deanery of Fincham, archdeaconry of Norfolk and diocese of Norwich. There were formerly two churches here, dedicated respectively to 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. The remaining church of St. Andrew consists of a massive round tower of ragstone, containing 5 bells, surmounted by an octagonal turret of brickwork, a chancel, nave, south porch and modern vestry: the prevailing style is Perpendicular, but the inner doorway of the porch is of Early English character, and has a well-preserved holy water stoup on its right or eastern side: the church was re-seated about 30 years ago: it contains two monuments to the Dereham family; one of them an elaborate piece of work in various coloured marbles, erected at the beginning of the 18th century: there is also a full-length marble statue of Colonel Soame, of West Dereham Grange, who died in 1706; and a slab, with arms of Gregory Lovell esq. who died in 1693, leaving £500 for the poor of the parish; there are also marble tablets to members of the Stebbing, Roper and Catton families. The register dates from the year 1558. The living is a vicarage, endowed with £33 yearly, paid by the lessee of the rectorial tithes, and the rent of 26 acres of land, purchased at different times by grants from the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty; the present patron is the Rev. Leonard Blomefield (late Jenyns) M.A. in right of a lease of the rectorial tithes granted by a former Bishop of Ely: the living has been held since 1870 by the Rev. John Haldenby Clark M.A. late of St. John's College. Cambridge. The gross income of the bemefice is about £102; the rectorial tithes are commuted at £225. A vicarage house was erected in 1874, on a site a little to the south-west of the church, the cost of which was defrayed by private contributions, met by a grant from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who hold the reversion of the rectorial tithes. There are chapels for Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists. The annual revenue of the parochial charities amounts to about £170, of which £25 yearly is applied by order in Chancery, 28th April, 1857, towards the support of the National school, and the remainder distributed to the poor in coal and blankets. In 1873 a vauable bed of coprolites was found in this parish. There was formerly an abbey at West Dereham of the Premonstratensian order; the buildings which occupy the site, however, are only the remains of a mansion built by the Dereham family, very few traces of the original ecclesiastical edifice being now visible. About 1564 the abbey farm was held for a time by Thomas Tusser, author of the "Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry;" and Francis Derham, 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 owner and occupier is Hugh Aylmer esq. the well-known breeder of shorthorns. Thomas Lancelot Reed esq. and Edward Roger M. Pratt esq. who are lords of the manor, Sir Alfred Thomas Bagge bart J.P. Hugh Aylmer esq, and Caius College, Cambridge, are the principal landowners. The soil is of a mixed cheracter, subsoil, ragstone, sand and clay. The chief crops are wheat and barley. The area is 3,440 acres; rateable value, £4,832; the population in 1881 was 560.
POST OFFICE.Edward E. Barrow, receiver. Letters arrive from Brandon at 8 a.m. & dispatched at 5 p.m.; sundays, arrive at 8 a.m.; dispatched at 10 a.m. The nearest money order & telegraph office is at Stoke Ferry
National School,Mrs, Mary Rickard, mistress
Railway Station (called Abbey). Chas. Howard, statn. ma
© Transcribed by E.C. ("Paddy") Apling, May 2010.
Return to villages index
Paddy's home page
1891 Census Names Index
More Parish information [Geoff Lowe & Andrew Rivett]