UPWELL, sometimes called WELL, the largest parish in the county, has a populous village adjoining Outwell, 6 miles S.E. of Wisbeach. The parish contains 4,171 inhabitants, and 16,291 acres of land ; but 1,629 souls, and 7,421 acres of land, are in the Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire. R. G. Townley, Esq., is lord of the manor, patron of the rectory, and the principal land owner; but Jas. Gay, Peter Huddleston, and Wm. Gambier, Esqrs., and the Rev. Geo. Huddleston and others have estates here. The houses are many of them neat residences of modern construction, and extend on both sides of the river Nene. Welney, which lies to the south, is considered as a parochial chaplery to Upwell. Lakesend [sic] and North Delph are hamlets in this parish. King John granted it a weekly market on Wednesday, to which Henry VI. added a fair to be held on St. Peter and St. Paul's day. The market is small, and the fair held on June 29th and 30th is merely a pleasure mart. In 1842, an Act of Parliament was passed for improving the drainage of the Middle and Great Level of the fens called the Bedford Level, commencing at Wittlesea Mere and extending through Upwell into the parish of St Germains where it joins the river Ouse: 140 acres was required for the Cut in the parish of Upwell, and the cost with all interior improvements has been upwards of £450,000, which is being paid off by a levy upon the land, varying in amount according to the benefit received. These great improvements were completed in 1848, and the soil of this parish is now considered the most fertile in the county. The Church, dedicated to St. Peter, is a spacious edifice with a tower and six bells. The interior is neatly pewed and contains several old brasses, and a modern one records the names of 67 persons, who died in this parish of the cholera, in 1832, from June 21st to August 13th, whose graves are covered with a stone slab marked C, to prevent their being reopened. The doors, pulpit, reading desk, and seats are of oak, elaborately carved ; and the east window (the gift of the rector,) is richly decorated with stained glass, illustrative of Scripture history. In 1842, the exterior of the church was stuccoed and stone battlements added, and the churchyard enlarged and neatly enclosed. The gates brought from Peterborough Cathedral, and the vases from Walstead House were the gift of the patron. The rectory, valued in the King's book at £16, is consolidated with Welney, and enjoyed by the Rev. W. G. Townley. The tithes are commuted for £5,942. It is intended by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to divide this parish into three livings on the demise of the present incumbent ; and a New Church built at Welney at a cost of £5,000 was completed in 1848. A Chapel of Ease is to be erected at North Delph, the cost not to exceed £2,500, and the sum of £8,500 is to be applied in the purchase of land and the erection of a parsonage house, and church to be called Christ Church. Here is a Baptist, Methodist, and Primitive Methodist chapel; and in the village is a Free School, established and supported by the rector. The rent of two tenements and 19a. of land, left by John Fox, in 1626, are applied in repairing the church. They are now let for £40 a year. Certain "Bishop's Lands," in the fen called Welney Runs, were devised in 1625 for three lives, renewable perpetually, to the poor of Cambridge, parts of Upwell and Welney, and are now let for £68 10s. a year. Two houses and about 30a. of land, let for about £100 a year, were bequeathed to the poor by Thos. Lamb in 1562, and Jno. Fox in 1626. The rents, together with the interest of £30 left by Jno. Boss and Thos. Dixon, are distributed among the poor on St. Thomas Day. One-third of the proceeds of a messuage called the Workhouse and about 3a. of land, belongs to the Isle, and the remainder to the Norfolk side of the parish.
Post Office at Chas. Chapman's ; letters arrive at 10a.m.week-days, and 8 a.m. sun., and are despatched at 6 p.m. week days, &2 p.m. sundays. Money Orders payable at this office.
Return to villages index
Paddy's home page
1891 Census Names Index
Marriages (1725-1812) [Alan Gresley]
Kelly's 1900 (description only) [Martin Edwards]
And see Upwell (Cambridgeshire)
Upwell tower mill [Jonathan Neville]
Nordelph Fen drainage mill and Creek drainage mill [Jonathan Neville]
Upwell Archeology [Norfolk Heritage Explorer]
Local village web-site
More on Upwell [GENUKI-NFK]
Other Parish information [Geoff Lowe & Andrew Rivett]