OXBOROUGH, or OXBURGH, is a parish and village, 3 miles N.E. of Stoke Ferry and 6½ miles S.W. of Swaffham, which comprises 293 inhabitants, 58 houses, and 2,317 acres of land, all the property of Sir H. R. P. Bedingfield, Bart., of Oxborough Hall, which is surrounded by a moat, and is one of the most perfect specimens of ancient castellated mansions in the kingdom. It was erected in the latter part of the 15th century by Sir Edmund Bedingfield, and is of brick, originally of a square form environing a court, 118 feet long and 92 broad. The entrance is over a bridge (formerly a draw bridge) through an arched gateway, between two towers 80 feet high. The archway between the towers is supported by numerous groins, and over it is a large handsome room, having one window to the north and two bay windows to the south, and the walls are covered with curious tapestry. Henry VII. is supposed to have lodged in this apartment when he visited Oxborough. Some of the apartments are spacious and elegant, and contain some fine paintings. Oxborough was a place of note in the time of the Romans, and from some coins found in Blomfield's time he considered that it was the Iceani of Antoninus, by some supposed to be at Ickburgh. On Warren Hill are several tumuli and a deep foss and vallum, and near the rivulet are numerous hollows, still denominated Danes' Graves. In 1252 the manor was held by Ralph de Wygarnia, who had a patent for a weekly market here on Tuesday, and a fair yearly on the Vigil-day and morrow of the Blessed Virgin; the former has long been obsolete, and the latter is now held on Easter Tuesday, for horses, cattle, and pedlery. Sir Edmund Bedingfield, Knt., obtained the manor by marrying the heiress of the Tuddenham and De Wayland families in the time of Henry V., and they have held it ever since. Sir Henry Bedingfield was made governor of the Tower of London during the reign of the Catholic Queen, Mary, and had the charge of her sister Elizabeth, who, on ascending the throne, dismissed him from court, saying "whenever she had a state prisoner who required to be hardly handled and strictly kept she would send for him." The Sir Henry Bedingfield, who died in 1655, was confined nearly two years in the Tower, and his estates sequestered for his adherence to the cause of Charles I.; but they were restored to his successor, who was created a baronet in 1660. The CHURCH, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, is a large Gothic edifice with a tower surmounted by a lofty octagonal spire 156 feet high. It is supposed to have been founded about the reign of Edward I.; all the windows were formerly filled with stained glass. In the south aisle is a chapel where many of the Bedingfield family have been interred. The screen which separates this chapel from the aisle is an early specimen of the revived Grecian or Corinthian Gothic. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the King's book at £8 6s. 8d., and in 1831 at £516 with Foulden vicarage annexed to it, in the patronage of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and incumbency of the Rev. Alexander Thurtell, M.A. The Rev. Charles Parkin, the continuator of Bloomfield's history of Norfolk, was presented to this living in 1717. The CATHOLIC CHAPEL, situate in the park, was built by Sir H.R.P. Bedingfield, Bart., in 1835. The interior has a chaste and elegant appearance, and the windows are richly decorated with stained glass. The seats are of oak with ornamental carved ends; the family pew of the Bedingfields is elaborately carved, and the screens and altar exhibit some exquisite workmanship. A neat house for the priest was erected in 1849, near to the Hall, and there is a Catholic school attended by about 30 children. Thos. Hewar, in 1619, left his estate here in trust, to apply one-third of the rents towards repairing and beautifying the church, and two-thirds for the relief of the poor. This estate now produces £105 a year, and under the direction of the Court of Chancery, an accumulation of the funds was applied in 1850, in building a school and residence for the teacher, at an expense of £400. The master receives £40 a year from the estate, in consideration of which the scholars are taught free. Mary Hammond bequeathed a tenement and 3a. of land, to which 8a. was added at the enclosure, which is now let for £13 10s. There is also an allotment of 49a. on which the poor cut fuel, and have also one-sixth of Yorker's charity, noticed with Cockley-Cley.
Transcription Copyright © the late A.J. Carter, April 2000; links updated November 2010.
1891 Census Names Index
South Greenhoe hundred
White's 1845, 1864 and 1883 [GENUKI-NFK]
Oxborough Archeology ;Norfolk Heritage Explorer]
Oxborough watermill [Jonathan Neville]
More on Oxborough [GENUKI-NFK]
More Parish Information [Geoff Lowe & Andrew Rivett]
Oxburgh Hall [National Trust page]
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