REEPHAM is a small but pleasantly situated Market Town, watered by a small stream, 12 miles N.W. of Norwich, and 112 N.E. of London. The town was anciently called Refham, and gave that name to a resident family, on of whom was lord mayor of London, in 1310. It extends into four parishes, which together contain 1,800 inhabitants, of whom 409 are in REEPHAM ST. MARY ; 202 in Kerdistone ; 712 in HACKFORD ; and 477 in WHITWELL. They are all in the Aylsham Union : the first two maintain their poor conjointly, and the others separately. The spacious market place is in Hackford parish ; and in the churchyard are two churchesone for Reepham and Kerdistone, and the other for Whitwell and Hackford ; the latter of which had formerly a separate Church in the same burial ground ; but it was burnt down, with part of the town, in 1500. A weekly market for corn, swine, &c., is held here every Wednesday ; a stock fair on the 29th of June, and HIRINGS FOR SERVANTS on the last Monday in September. The market was formerly held on Saturday, and the fair on the eve, day, and morrow of St. Peter and St. Paul. The parishes of Reepham and Kerdistone together, contain 2,427 acres of land, including many scattered houses and farms belonging to Robert Blake Humfrey, Esq., William Bircham, Esq., J. P. Leeds, Esq., Sir R. P. Jodrell, lord of the manor, and several smaller proprietors. The Church of Reepham St. Mary, with Kerdistone, consists of nave, chancel, side aisles, and square tower. In the chancel is a fine brass, representing William de Kerdistone and his lady ; and under an arched monument, is the recumbent effigy of a Knight Templar, of the Kerdistone family, erected about 1391. The benefice is a discharged rectory, valued in the King's book at £18 1s., and in 1831, at £700. There are 60a. of glebe, and the patronage is vested in Trinity College, Cambridge ; incumbent, Rev. Fdk. Field. Whitwell Church, which serves also for Hackford, stands in the same burial ground, and has a tower with six bells and a clock. The living is a vicarage consolidated with Hackford rectory, the former valued in the King's book at £7 12s. 4d., and the latter at £14 10s. 4d. J. H. Holley, Esq., is patron, and the Rev. Edw. Holley is the incumbent. The joint benefices were valued in 1831, at £365 per annum. The tithes of Hackford are commuted for £232, and the vicarial tithes of Whitwell for £200. The Dean and Chapter of Norwich are appropriators. There was anciently a chapel in Kerdistone, dedicated to the Virgin Mary ; it stood upon a hill called Chapel Close, but no remains of it are now to be seen. The Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists, and Wesleyan Reformers have each a chapel here. Petty Sessions are held at the King's Arms, every alternate Monday ; Mr. Fras. S. Bircham, is clerk to the magistrates. Richard Westall, a celebrated painter and engraver, is a native of Reepham. In 1847, St. Mary's School, for the use of the parishes of Reepham and Kerdistone, was erected by the present incumbent. The Church Land consists of 13a. 3r. 8p. is let for £19. The Poor Land belonging to the two parishes, 4a. 2p., produces £8 a year.
HACKFORD PARISH includes Reepham market place, and has 712 souls, 815a. 3r. 12p. of land, belonging to a number of owners, the largest of whom is the Ven. John B. Collyer, M.A., archdeacon of Norwich, who resides at Hackford Hall, a pleasant mansion with tasteful pleasure grounds and shrubberies 1½ miles W. of the town. The Ollands, a Gothic mansion, with embattled towers and turrets, pleasantly situated on a declivity near the church, was built in 1832, and is occupied by Mrs. Charlotte Bircham. Hackford Vale, a neat residence, 1 mile N.W. of the town, is the property of Robt. Blake Humfrey, Esq. Here is a National School for the use of Hackford and Whitwell. In 1693, Thos. Bulwer gave £100 to be invested in land for the poor of Hackford and Whitwell. With an allotment awarded at the enclosure, this charity now consists of 9a. 3r. 8p., let for £15 15s. a year, of which 10s. is distributed on each of the four sacrament days,among poor communicants, and the residue is divided among the poor. The poor of Hackford have 5a. 3r. left by Robt. Philnpot, in 1672, now let for £10 10s., and have 6s. 8d. yearly, in respect of half an acre in New Close, given by an unknown donor. A house occupied by paupers, was built many years ago on the site of some cottages, given to the poor, by Ralph Walker, in 1642.
WHITWELL PARISH forms the south-east division of Reepham parish, and comprises 477 souls, 106 houses, and 1,434 acres of land, of which Archdeacon Collyer is principal owner and lord of the manor, anciently held by the Ross, Messenger, and Monsey families. The eminent physician, Dr. Messenger Monsey, left his estates at Hackford, Whitwell, and Kerdistone, to Catherine, his grand-daughter ; daughter of Willm. Alexander, Esq., eldest brother to James, first Earl of Caledon, and wife of Archdeacon Collyer. Robt. Leamon, Esq., has a large estate around his seat of Whitwell Hall, 1½ miles W. by S. of Reepham, and owns one of the most extensive tanneries in the parish. Mr. Stephen Leeds has a good residence and estate at Whitwell Green, near Whitwell Common (50a.), which was left open for the use of the parishioners at the enclosure. The poor have 5a. 3r. 6p. called the Town Close, let for £5 10s. a year. The rectorial tithes were commuted in 1844, for £367, and the vicarial for £200. In 1844, Wm. Frost, of Whitwell, in a fit of insanity, murdered his four children.
Post Office at Miss Amelia Sands', Market-place ; letters arrive at 9 a.m., and are despatched at 4.5 p.m.
1891 Census Names Index for Reepham; Hackford; Kerdiston(e); and Whitwell
Wills of Hackford and Reepham
Ollands Road postmill and Whitwell postmill [both Jonathan Neville]
And see An introduction to the churches of Reepham churchyard [Simon Knott]
More Parish Information on Hackford, Reepham with Kerdistone, and Whitwell [Geoff Lowe & Andrew Rivett]
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