1891 Census Names Index
Wayland hundred and union
Kelly's 1883
Watton postmill [Jonathan Neville]
Local website
Wayland and Watton info
Our Wayland Heritage (pictures and more) [Wayland Heritage Group]
Watton Church (and audio tour) [Wayland and Watton info]
About Norfolk web-pages [Judi Ingram]
Watton archeology [Norfolk Heritage Explorer]
RAF Watton info
Wikipedia on Watton
More on Watton [GENUKI-NFK]
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Norfolk - Watton

Francis White's History, Gazetteer and Directory of Norfolk 1854, pp. 866-869

[Complete entry. Transcription Copyright © the late A.J. Carter, December 2000]

WATTON is a pleasant but small market town, situated at the junction of the roads from Norwich and Dereham to Brandon and Thetford, 9 miles S.E. by E. of Swaffham, 10 miles S.S.W. of East Dereham, 21 miles W. by S. of Norwich, and 90 miles N.N.E. of London. It consists chiefly of one broad street, and the parish contains 1,353 inhabitants, 290 houses, and 1,808 acres of land, comprised in the manors of Watton Hall, and Rockolls; the Rev. W. H. Hicks being lord of the former, and Mr. William Massey of the latter. In 1204 there was a writ brought to enquire whether the market here, granted to John de Vaux, was not prejudicial to Saham, and being found so, the market was recalled, but before the expiration of the year, Oliver de Vaux obtained a charter for a new market to be held every Wednesday, as it still continues, chiefly for corn; but it was formerly celebrated as a great butter mart, immense quantities of that article being purchased here weekly and sent by factors to London. Here are five annual fairs: on July 10th, October 11th, and November 8th, for cattle; on the first Wednesday in July, for stock; and on the second Wednesday in October, for sheep. In 1674, on Saturday, April 25th, this town suffered greatly by an accidental fire which destroyed about sixty houses, with the Butchers' Shambles and other property to the amount of £7,450 in buildings, and £2,660 in goods and chattels. To alleviate the distress to which the inhabitants were reduced by this dreadful conflagration, "a brief was granted to gather all England over till the 20th of Sept., 1675." In 1820 a new obelisk was erected on the site of the old market cross, on which the town's name was oddly expressed by a rebus carved in oak, viz. a W, a hare, and a tun. On the demolition of the cross these devices were placed in front of the Bell-house and lock-up—a small square building erected soon after the fire, but now called the clock-house, from a clock placed in it about 30 years ago, at the expense of Mr. Edw. Stevens. WAYLAND HALL, a handsome stone building in the style prevailing in the time of Henry VII., was built in 1853. The ground floor includes a reading room, lofty, well lighted and ventilated, with a waiting room and other offices. From this there is an ascent by a stone staircase to the room appointed for the magistrates. The large hall is to be so constructed as to be applicable to the purposses of a corn hall, assembly room, and concert room. The roof is of open timber work, with hammer beams and spandrils cut in open tracery, and the large windows are framed so as to be in perfect keeping with the general character of the edifice. The CHURCH, dedicated to St. Mary, stands about a quarter of a mile out of the town, and is a small edifice, erected about the time of Henry I. Its tower is round at the base, and octangular above, surmounted by a spire, and contains three bells. The remains of a curious crucifix carved in stone is placed at the east end. The interior is neatly pewed, and there are several memorials to the families of Hammond, Wodehouse, Samwell, and other families. The benefice is a discharged vicarage, valued in the King's book at £7 0s. 4d., and in 1840 at £90, in the patronage and incumbency of the Rev. W. H. Hicks. There are 13a. of glebe; and the church land, 14a. 1r. 20p., is let for £28 per annum. The Independents, Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists have each a chapel in the town. The National school, built in 1819 by William Robinson, Esq., was rebuilt on a large scale in 1842. The play ground, about 3a., was given by the late Mrs. Harvey. Six boys of Watton are entitled to free instruction at Saham-Toney school. The Savings' Bank, established in 1819, has deposits amounting to £13,655, belonging to 448 depositors: Mr. Benj. Chaston is the secretary. A New Police Station is about to be built. On the south side of the town is Wayland Wood previously noticed. In the town are almshouses for four poor widows, founded in 1612 by Edward Goaffe, who endowed them with a yearly rent charge of £5. These almshouses were rebuilt in 1820 by R. Harvey, Esq. An allotment of 1a. 22p., awarded to them at the enclosure in 1801, is let for 28s. per annum. Almshouses were built about 20 years ago by Mr Edward Stevens, of Watton, who, in 1840, conveyed them to trustees to be occupied by four poor married couples, of the age of 60 years, and who have resided in the parish not less than 30 years. The Fuel Allotment, awarded at the enclosure, comprises 54a. 2r. 25p., let for about £75 per annum, which is expended in coals for the poor; who have also £23 10s. yearly from 9a. 35p. of land, left by Richard Turner and Thomas Scott, in 1643 and 1727, except some small allotments, awarded at the enclosure. The poor have likewise a yearly sum of 10s. left by Edward Goaffe, in 1611. The Religious Tract Society, and Lending Library is at Mr. B. Watson's. Post Office at Mr. Geo. Wenham's: letters arrive at 5 a.m., and are despatched at 8 p.m.

Transcription Copyright © the late A.J. Carter, December 2000; links updated February 2010.

1891 Census Names Index
Wayland hundred and union
Kelly's 1883
Watton postmill [Jonathan Neville]
Local website
Wayland and Watton info
Our Wayland Heritage (pictures and more) [Wayland Heritage Group]
Watton Church (and audio tour) [Wayland and Watton info]
About Norfolk web-pages [Judi Ingram]
Watton archeology [Norfolk Heritage Explorer]
RAF Watton info
Wikipedia on Watton
More on Watton [GENUKI-NFK]
Return to villages index
Paddy's home page