WIGGENHALL ST. MARY THE VIRGIN is a parish, partly on the west side of the Great Ouse, but including the hamlet of SADDLEBOW on the east side of the river, 4 miles north-west from Watlington station and 4 south-west-by-south from Lynn, in the Western division of the county, hundred of Freebridge Marshland, county court district of Lynn, union of Downham, rural deanery of Lynn and archdeaconry and diocese of Norwich. The church of St. Mary is a well-proportioned ancient brick structure, of great interest: it is in the Perpendicular style, and consists of chancel, nave, aisles and square tower: in the chancel is an alabaster altar-tomb, with effigies of a man in armour, his wife and two children: there are memorials to the Kervile and Berners families. Since 1860 the church has been repaired: an organ was presented by G. Helsham esq. and additions have been made since by voluntary contributions; the benches on the south side have been restored, and 2 bells have been recast; there is now a peal of 6 good bells. The register dates from the year 1655. The living is a vicarage, tithe rent charge £92 10s. with good residence and an endowment arising from land of £64 yearly, in the gift of the Lord Chancellor and held since 1882 by the Rev. Robert John Shaw, of King's College, London. The greater part of Islington Lodge Estate is in this parish: it was reclaimed from the river Ouse in 1821, and purchased by the present owner from the Eau Brink Commissioners in 1850: it extends for nearly 2 miles and affords excellent pasture. The name of the parish is said to date from the thirteenth century, when one John de Wiggenhale, a descendant of a follower of the Conqueror, became owner of the manor, of which the parish formed a part. St. Mary's Hall, the seat of Sir Gustavus Helsham esq. J.P. is situated in the parish, about 4 miles from King's Lynn; the residence has been erected at different periods, the centre having been originally the embattled gatehouse of a more ancient hall or manor-house, which was a very extensive brick building, erected, no doubt, by the family of Chervil, or Capraville. The Kervilles were lords of the manor from the time of Richard I. till the year 1624, when the family became extinct: it then passed to the Berners, and in 1727 was sold to Sir Robert Brown, who was created a baronet in the fifth year of the reign of George II. and who was successively the King's resident at Venice and paymaster of His Majesty's works, and also a member of parliament for the borough of Ilchester. Sir Robert died without issue, and devised the estate to his wife, Lady Brown, who was a member of the old Anglo-Irish family of Helsham, of the county of Kilkenny: from her the estate passed through several members of the family to its present owner, who has made extensive improvements to the hall and on the demesne generally. Gustavus Helsham esq. J.P. who is lord of the manor, Horace Spelman Marriott, John Gedney, William D. Harding (owner of Islington Lodge Estate) and Charles Marsters esqrs. are the chief landowners. The soil is rich loam; subsoil, clay and turf. The chief crops are wheat, beans, oats and peas. The parish contains 2,807 acres of land; rateable value, £4,845; and had in 1881 a population of 320.
Letters through Lynn. Wiggenhall St. Germans is the nearest money order & telegraph office.
This parish is included in the Wiggenhall united School Board district formed in 1875; the children attend the Board School at St. Germans