1891 Census Names Index
North Greenhoe hundred
Walsingham union
Walsingham county court
Thomas DAWSON Mariner - Will, 1539
Kelly's 1883
Wells Archeology [Norfolk Heritage Explorer]
Wells harbour web-site
Local web-site
Wells Archeology [Norfolk Heritage Explorer]
Black's Lane postmill [Jonathan Neville]
Catholic church of Our Lady of the Sea [Simon Knott]
Wells & Walsingham Light Railway
More on Wells [GENUKI-NFK]
Parish information [Geoff Lowe & Andrew Rivett]
Return to villages index
Paddy's home page

Norfolk - Wells-next-the-Sea

Francis White's History, Gazetteer and Directory of Norfolk 1854, pp. 720-723

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

WELLS, or WELLS NEXT THE SEA, is a parish, and small irregularly built sea-port town, 10 miles N. of Fakenham, and 32 miles N.W. of Norwich, comprising 3,675 inhabitants, 936 houses, and 2,339a. 2r. 39p. of land, lying in the manors of Wells-late-the-Dukes, Norman's, and Walsingham Priory, of which the Earl of Leicester is lord ; and Binham Priory, of which Sir R. J. Harvey is lessee, under the Bishop of Norwich. A market was formerly held on Saturday, and races yearly, but both are discontinued ; a pleasure fair is still held on Shrove Tuesday. Its commerce has for many years been in a declining state, but efforts are now being made to revive it, by improving the harbour ; and it is intended to form a railway from the town to join the Eastern Counties and Norfolk Railway at Fakenham. Wells has been greatly improved under the powers of the Harbour and Quay act, and an Act for Lighting and improving the Town, both obtained in 1844. The streets have to some extent been macadamized and lighted with gas. The Gas works, situated in Mill lane, were erected in 1844, at a cost of £4,000, and are leased to Mr. T. W. Howard ; and a new road, called the Commercial road, has been made, giving a more ready access to the harbour and other parts of the town. The Harbour has also been much improved of late years, and a new Quay, and works for deepening the channel, in which the tides rise about 11 feet, have been completed, so that vessels of 200 tons can get up at high water. Many of 200 tons are built here, and the number of registered vessels now belonging to the port is 200, and their tonnage 9,487. In 1852 the number of outward coasting vessels was 484, and those inward, 672. Here are a number of fishing boats; and in the offing are prolific beds of oysters and muscles. The exports chiefly consist of corn, oysters, &c., sent coastwise, and the imports of coal, timber, salt, rape, and linseed cakes, &c. The Custom House is on the Quay. Mr. Geo. Burton, collector ; Mr. W. C. Claxton, comptroller ; Jno. Rann, tide waiter ; Mr. Jno. Smith, harbour master. The limits of the port extend about 5 miles east, and 13 miles west, and within these bounds are four coastguard stations, of which Capt. H. Johnson, R.N. is inspecting commander. Here are six pilots, and one tide waiter. The CHURCH, dedicated to St. Peter, is a neat structure faced with flint, having a square tower and 8 bells. The south gallery was erected in 1833 by the incumbent, at the cost of £320. The singing gallery and the window which lights it were formed at the same time, and cost £82, which was raised by subscriptions. The north gallery is free, and called the Sailors' Gallery. The benefice is a rectory, valued in the King's book at £26 13s. 4d. The Rev. John R. Hopper is patron and incumbent, and has 35a. of glebe, and a yearly rent of £530 in lieu of tithes. The Independents, Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists, and Friends, have each a chapel here. Here is a British school, and residence for the teacher, chiefly supported by the Earl of Leicester. There are also two schools supported from Chpr. Ringer's charity, which consists of a farm house, two cottages, and 88a. of land, let for £120 a year, one moiety of which is distributed in wheaten flour, or meal, according to the donor's intention. The Rev. Mungo Murray left an estate at Bale of 126a., to the rectory of Wells for ever, subject to the yearly payment of £18 to the poor. This is partly expended in coals and meal with the rent (£30) of the Fuel allotment, awarded at the enclosure. Ann Tidd, in 1762, left a yearly rent charge of £5 to be laid out in clothing for the poor, who have also the dividends of £388 2s. 9d., new 3½ per cent stock, left by Wm. B. Elliot in 1810. Petty Sessions are held at the Crown Inn, on the third Monday of every month. Mr. Thos. Garwood is Clerk to the magistrates.

In the following Directory of Wells, those marked 1 reside in Burnt street ; 2, Butlands ; 3, Church street ; 4, Dogger lane ; 5, East end ; 6, Freeman street ; 7, Glebe road ; 8, High street : 9, Holkham road ; 10, Lugger yard ; 11, Mill lane ; 12, Quay ; 13, Staith street ; 14, Standard yard ; 15, Theatre street ; 16, Tinker's corner ; 17, West end ; and 18, Workhouse street.

Post Office, at Mr. John Southgate's, Staith Street : letters arrive at 9 a.m., and are despatched at 5 p.m.

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

1891 Census Names Index
North Greenhoe hundred
Walsingham union
Walsingham county court
Thomas DAWSON Mariner - Will, 1539
Kelly's 1883
Wells Archeology [Norfolk Heritage Explorer]
Wells harbour web-site
Local web-site
Black's Lane postmill [Jonathan Neville]
Catholic church of Our Lady of the Sea [Simon Knott]
Wells & Walsingham Light Railway
More on Wells [GENUKI-NFK]
Parish information [Geoff Lowe & Andrew Rivett]
Return to villages index
Paddy's home page