The rectory of Wimbotsham has long been combined with the vicarage of Stow Bardolph with the incumbent living in the handsome vicarage just south of Stow church until it was vacated in recent years. A rectory is now located close to the church at Wimbotsham.

The parish of Wimbotsham is much smaller than Stow both in area and, until recent times, in population. Throughout the 1800s the area appears close to 1770 acres until the Divided Parishes Act removed approximately 200 acres – the figures quoted in Kelly’s (1908) were a land area of 1557 acres, with 2 of water, 12 of tidal water and 6 of foreshore.

The 1801 census produced the following statistics:

Houses inhabited: 50 (one house was recorded as uninhabited)

Families: 55

Population: 260 (Males 124; Females 136) Persons employed in agriculture - 20; in trade etc - 10; others 230 – a clear indication of the large family size pertaining at the time.

In the following year, 1st June was appointed a day of general thanksgiving for peace in the long war against France (that was not to last) and a booth was erected on the Green so that ‘the poor of the parish who were inhabitants, without exception, were treated with plumb (sic) puddings, roast beef and ale; at the expense of the following inhabitants, viz:

Thomas Hare Esq £4 4 0d

Revd Philip Bell £5 5 0d

Mr John Garnham 7s 6d

Mr Stephen Baldwin 10s 6d

Mr Joseph Brown 10s 6d

Mrs Susan Snasdell, widow 10s 6d

Mrs Barsham, widow 5s 0d

Mr William Halliday 5s 6d

Mr Thomas Catling 5s 0d

Mr Merrington 5s 0d

Mr William Carley 5s 0d

Mr George White 2s 6d

Mr Francis Chapman 2s 6d

Mr John Sinclair 2s 6d’

A total of £14 12s 0d was donated. ‘The poor were happy, express’d gratitude and behaved orderly’. The list provides an early key to the principal citizens of the parish; one wonders what pressures related to the respective levels of donation? And whether it might have changed had the donors known that an official entry was to be made in the parish records?

Much more on the family of Mr Joseph Brown, who was unmarried, can be found in the Southery chapter.

Searching through the registers, we again find items of interest such as a footnote to the marriage of John Longworth ‘widower’ to Sarah Reeve on 20 October 1809 which states ‘This man was convicted of bigamy at the Lent Assizes for Norfolk 1823 and his marriage declared void. Sarah Reeve was married again in May 1823’ (in Wimbotsham, to William Tooke). Ishmael Reeve, married man, carpenter, was killed by the fall of a chimney at Watlington and was buried back in his home parish on 19 October 1813, ‘aged 80 years and upwards’. Although this was a great age for the times it does not approach the 103 years attained by John Howlett who was buried on 15 Mar 1777. We are, once again, indebted to the Revd Philip Bell as Rector of Wimbotsham as well as Vicar of Stow Bardolph for his register keeping. Sadly, although the registers date from 1562, there are some significant gaps in the 1700s, much to the frustration of family researchers. The greatest nuisance being the absence of marriage records from 1718 until 1734.

One intriguing entry is to be found dated 23 January 1772 when Clement, son of Sir Clement Trafford (1739-1786) and Isabel Bouillon (born in Brussels, daughter of Henry and Janeton), was baptised. He died as an infant later the same year. Sir Clement was born in St Petersburg and married Jane Southwell (1732-1809), daughter of Edward Southwell one time lessee of Wisbech Castle, in 1760. Sir Clement, knighted in 1761, was then the owner of Dunton Hall, Tydd St Mary, which he had inherited under the will of Sigismund Trafford, his father’s uncle. Sigismund, formerly of the surname Boehm, changing his name as a condition of inheritance, was a governor of the Bank of England (founded in 1694), and significantly improved Dunton Hall before moving to King’s Lynn where he died in 1723. Jane brought considerable property to the marriage since her brother Edward was legally classed as a lunatic but marital difficulties arose and the estates were broken up and sold off. Dunton Hall no longer exists but is recalled on the south Lincolnshire landscape by a newer, and less grand, Dunton Hall just west of Tydd St Giles – nearby is Trafford House. Sir Clement moved to Stoke Ferry where he died and was later buried at Tydd St Mary. His likely residence was the Manor House on Wherry Road. Jane eventually reverted to her maiden name by Act of Parliament in 1791 (not because of her husband's infidelity but as a condition of inheritance under her brother Edward's will who died in 1790). Perhaps there is more to discover about Mme Bouillon, who was naturalised in 1773, and the circumstances surrounding the young Clement.... Before the great falling out there was a son and daughter; the son, Sigismund (1762-1827), who assumed the surname Southwell in lieu of his patronymic, purchased Wroxham Hall in 1801. The Hall was demolished around 1960 but a substantial mausoleum for Sigismund remains, built by Anthony Salvin c1830. The author is grateful for additional information supplied by Andrea Smith who has much detailed knowledge of Boehm/Trafford/Southwell history. She can be contacted at andrea.smith4@btopenworld.com There is a later record of Isabella Bouillon in Great Portland Street in London and she married Jerafino Lanzoni on 16 October 1790 at St James' in Piccadilly. An earlier Sigismund Trafford was MP for King's Lynn in 1689.

A coroner’s inquest was required for the death of Thomas, son of George and Elizabeth Reeve, who was buried on 13 April 1790, aged 9 – verdict ‘excessive drinking’. Job Beales was buried on 02 February 1799 having drowned in the Old Bedford River; William Whistler, parish clerk, was buried on 11 August in the same year, aged 89. Rebecca Dorman, wife of William was buried on 11 July 1800 ‘kill’d by falling over a stile (according to the Coroner’s Inquest)’. Robert Carley, aged 9, was buried on 02 September 1803 having been ‘accidentally drowned in a clay pit’.

William Stevens, farrier, was buried in Wimbotsham on 03 July 1829, aged 39, having been ‘killed by the kick of a horse’. The same fate had befallen Thomasin Stanham in 1794. 1832 was a very bad year for the village. The first cholera burial came with that of Susan Jacob, aged 6, on the 05 June. There followed another six victims in June and 27 in July. October came and there was a severe outbreak of smallpox. Martha Bullamore, aged four, was buried on 14 October and her sister Anne, aged 11, six days later. Nine more lives were lost before the outbreak ended in February the following year, six more in total than neighbouring Stow Bardolph.

Some families were hit particularly hard by these outbreaks presumably because they shared the same contaminated water supply. Charles Overland was buried in 1831, aged 51, leaving a widow Susanna and young family. Susanna died of cholera on 11 July the following year, aged 49, and their daughter Sarah, aged 16, died the next day. William Monk (51) was buried on the 14th followed by his sons Charles (6) on the 17th and William (4) on the 20th. The boys’ widowed mother Hannah (49) was buried on the 24th. John Blowers (30) died on 18 June while Good Friday Carley’s wife Anne was buried on the 26th July, aged 28. Good Friday, as he was christened but always known as Friday, married the widow Blowers in June the following year but before then further tragedy was to strike both families. Friday’s son James (18 months) and daughter Caroline (3) both succumbed to smallpox in January as did Anne Blowers, John’s infant daughter who had been christened on the day her father was buried. Incidentally, John married Anne Richer and Good Friday’s first wife was Anne Riches according to the entry in the marriage register. There is some confusion in the registers over the surnames ‘Richer’ and ‘Riches’, and when ‘Richers’ also appears confusion is inevitable. Fault lies not with the officiating minister but it is plain that the bearers of these surnames were themselves often unclear as to the precise pronunciation or spelling. The burial register identifies 34 cholera victims so, with the smallpox outbreak that followed, there were 45 additional burials in the village in a period of seven months. Victims came from farmers and farm labourers, from young and old, and even the parish clerk Robert Batterham (aged 78) was unable to escape.

The Downham burial register records the interment of James Weston, aged 34, on 29 December 1830 without further comment but his demise is very much tied up with Friday Carley and events on the Thursday before Christmas (23 December) that year. Friday’s father William (1762-1851) was landlord of The Bell where, that evening, Friday met up with a number of others including William Bonus, Robert Chapman (40), William Watson (20) and Hammond Baker (20) and agreed to go poaching in nearby woods. They tried their luck in Church Wood before moving on to Spring Wood. It was there that they were confronted by two officers of the watch – John Dawson and James Weston – who were unarmed. Shots were fired at point blank range and James Weston died two hours later. Inevitably, some of the perpetrators went on the run. Chapman was arrested near Boston on 31 March 1831; William Watson was caught at Arrow in Yorkshire on 05 May living under the name of Jeremy Backs, and Hammond Baker was caught at Stillingham in Durham two days later using the alias of George Clarke. The three were put on trial for murder at Norwich summer assizes but, to the great amazement of the court, the jury found them not guilty. The prisoners then pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and were each given sentences of 12 months imprisonment. Earlier in the year, at the lent assizes, Friday Carley had turned King’s Evidence in the hope that his neck would be spared – he had already served time for breaking into a draper’s shop in Wimbotsham and had been twice convicted of poaching. William Bonus and Thomas Cawston were acquitted of murder by Mr Justice Alderson on the grounds that they had tried to run away before the fatal shooting but were prevented at gunpoint from so doing by Robert Chapman. However, new charges were brought and both, along with John Waters, James Clarke, John Isgate and William Wharfe, were found guilty of being armed with guns for the purpose of destroying game. Waters, who had a long record, was sentenced to seven years transportation; Isgate and Cawston got 18 months imprisonment, while Wharfe, Bonus and Clarke went down for 12 months each in Norwich Castle.

A map of Wimbotsham in the late 1800s, including Stow Bardolph, can be found at https://www.british-history.ac.uk/os-1-to-10560/norfolk/057/sw

William Cox was buried on 13 May 1904, with a note saying that ‘This person was found dead on the main road on May11. Said to have come from the workhouse in Downham’. Presumably he was one of the many men who tramped the country from workhouse to workhouse where they stayed overnight and performed menial tasks in exchange for a meal and a bed for the night. Where a person died in the workhouse it was usual to bring them back to their home parish for burial, as with William Crane, aged 80, buried in Wimbotsham on 15 January 1904. William Cox, understandably, was entered as parish ‘unknown’ although he was credited with an age of 40.

Martin Goodrum’s burial entry on 29 January 1922, aged 80, was accompanied by a tribute to his 47 years as parish clerk.

Another note explains: ‘By a map belonging to the Hare Family, I (the Revd Philip Bell) find Stow Bardolph, Wimbotsham & Downham Fen Common was inclosed by Consent of Sir Ralph Hare, Bart & Inhabitants 1665. 18th of Charles 2nd. J Bastard was then Vicar of Stow & John Hickman Rector of Wimbotsham’.

It appears that the Revd Philip Bell planted two yew trees on 29 April 1796. An equivalent note to the one in the Stow registers reads ‘I planted a yew tree in the south east corner of Wimbotsham churchyard with the intention of being buried under it’. Wimbotsham won the day in 1834 when Philip Bell was duly interred.

Other notes by Philip Bell establish clear dates for two events: ‘The fair call’d Winnold first kept in this Parish March 3rd 1796 removed to Downham March 3rd 1802’ and ‘Wimbotsham, Bexwell & Downham Lands Enclosed by an Act of Parliament pass’d 1801. Allotments made & glebe exchanged February 10th 1802’.

Dated February 1802, Philip Bell writes in detail about his new orchard: ‘Some time in this month I converted a small grass pightle, glebe land, into an orchard & planted the following fruit trees, of my own grafting....’. He goes on to list 5 trees planted including ‘ 1 – Pear, call’d in this neighbourhood the Grey Friar, excellent for baking & requires no sugar, will keep good till April’. A further eight trees of different varieties were added on 05 December 1803 and other plantings are listed for subsequent years, including (February 1807) ‘The Wallington Belle Plum – call’d so as being raised from the stone by my brother in Wallington garden and is an excellent sweet plum, ripe in August or later’. Ten years later, an update says ‘I now find my orchard does not answer my expectation in some part of it; the soil is wet below & the trees canker; & finding the Crasane & my Colmar pear trees never wou’d produce fruit there, I had them up & gave them to Mr Scott of Downham to plant against a south wall’.

Despite the cholera epidemic, the population of the parish increased substantially during the 40 years up to the 1841 census when the population was recorded as 582. At that time, apart from a few outlying farms and cottages for the families of their labourers, Wimbotsham consisted of houses around The Street and along the north side of the road to Stowbridge. Additionally, Broomhill, the northward linear extension of Downham, all the way up to Mill Lane, was part of the parish up until the boundary was changed in 2003. It is easy to understand the early attraction of The Street for settlement as the land lower down to the west of the village was poorly drained and liable to flooding in the winter months.

It must have been of considerable interest and a great talking point locally when, in 1835, Charles Green landed. Green was Britain’s most celebrated balloonist and touched down at Wimbotsham en route to North Runcton from Vauxhall Gardens in London. He breakfasted with Mr Pike, apparently. The following year he set a record for a nonstop balloon flight of 480 miles from the same Gardens to Weilburg in Nassau, Germany – a record that stood until 1907.

William White’s Directory (1845) identifies the leading citizens of the day. Two had risen to the lofty status of ‘Gentleman’: John Bartle and Irishman Timothy Flanagan, the latter living at Broomhill but only entered as a retired gardener in the 1851 census. John Bartle, who had married Sarah Rolfe from Hilgay, on the other hand, was a ‘landed proprietor’ and clearly a man of some substance. Of the tradesmen, Robert Rodwell is listed as ‘miller and grocer’ operating the mill located between Mill, or Miller’s, Lane and Slubberdike Wood that is shown on Bryant’s map of 1826 and also on the OS map of 1890. It was a small red- brick building of three floors and an ogee cap. Nine years later in 1854 Francis White’s Directory listed Robert Rodwell still in the same occupations but an advert placed in the Lynn News in August 1865 asks for a ‘man to take charge of a grist mill and make himself generally useful. One into years preferred’. Applications were to Robert B Towler, baker and shopkeeper in Wimbotsham who lived on The Street – he is listed as miller and baker in the 1871 census. This mill seems to have been demolished in the 1912 according to Gwen Lee daughter of the former proprietor George Lee; it fell into disuse as the nearby wood grew up and robbed it of its wind. Charles Cambridge was also listed as a miller in 1854 at the site called Wimbotsham Mills at Lynn Road, Broomhill. In the 1851 census Charles, aged 45 and born in South Runcton, was a clerk at water-powered corn mill living in Eaton Park Road, Norwich, with his wife Sophia and son Charles, a journeyman miller. Which mill this was is unclear since there is more than one possibility in the vicinity. They moved to Broomhill shortly after that and by 1861 Charles was described as a master miller employing four men; son Charles died in 1857 and wife Sophia in February 1861, shortly before the census. Sophia’s father was Edmund Merrington (1763-1806) who had previously operated Wimbotsham Mills.George Thomas Merrington, Edmund’s grandson, was a later miller on the site. The mill was destroyed by fire around 1900.

Wimbotsham Mills 1889. Please see for more information http://www.norfolkmills.co.uk/Windmills/downham-market-lynn-rd-postmill.html and http://www.norfolkmills.co.uk/Windmills/wimbotsham-towermill.html

Of the farmers listed at this time, Anthony Kemp (born at Swaby, Lincolnshire, in 1794) was the grandfather of the William Kemp Proctor sued for breach of promise in 1873 (see Stow Bardolph). He was farming 264 acres off the Wisbech Road, Salter’s Lode, in 1851. Mary Page was the widow of Samuel Page who was buried on 01 June 1844, aged 75. She continued to live on The Street until she died in September 1874, aged 86. Robert Child Filby was farming 440 acres at Church Farm and providing employment, in 1861, for 13 men, 6 boys and 3 women. John Snasdell Bell (1804-1883) was farming 40 acres in 1851, employing 2 ‘ag labs’. He had increased his holding to 80 acres a decade later. John was one of the 15 children born to Robert Bell (1758-1836) and his wife Sophia Becket (1771-1863) who married in Wimbotsham on 03 November 1790. The burial register gives Sophia’s age as 92 which was a good innings even by today’s standards; she obviously took childbearing in her stride. The 1861 census gives he age as 90 and her occupation as ‘retired from business’. She is living with her unmarried daughter, Jemima, aged 68 and her ‘gentleman’ son William, a widower. Jemima was buried in January 1887, aged 94. Sophia’s grandparents were Thomas Snasdell and Eleanor Harwin who married in Wimbotsham on 28 Dec 1741. Their daughter Eleanor was Sophia’s mother, hence John’s middle name. Robert Jarrod was farming 70 acres in 1851; he was married in Wimbotsham in 1830 to Samuel & Mary Page’s daughter, Mary – who was a teacher in the village in 1854 as well as a farmer’s wife.

The Revd William Maxwell Allen was still the curate in 1861. John Pike was farming 16 acres; he was also a fellmonger, a dealer in skins, and tanner. The parish clerk at the time was John Edwards, born in Southery in 1793; he was also a shoemaker. George Charlton, son of Joel Charlton at the Chequers, was a grocer and draper, and also bought and sold cattle. The two blacksmiths in the village in 1854 were William Harper and Robert Sherwood.

Fifty years or so later, according to Kelly’s Directory of 1908, Joseph Wootton (1854-1925) was at Church Farm. He was born in Hilgay and was the grandson of John Wootton (1793-1849), farmer of Ten Mile Bank. Other farmers included Charles Bunkall, who lived at The Limes, Harry Horne, Arthur Knight at Lower Farm, John Nicholls and John Utting. Trades in the village covered a carriage builder (John Baxter), two shoemakers (Arthur Cook and Henry Jackson Snasdell), a baker (Harry Lee), a blacksmith (George Smith), a coal merchant (George Monk), a butcher (Horace Napthan), a carpenter (Herbert Pond) and John Ransome ran a cycle shop in Lynn Road. The post office was run by Christopher Gunns who was also a grocer and draper.

Christopher Gunns’ Post Office, grocers and drapery shop c1900. Possibly, he is photographed with his wife Harriet nee Sherwood, daughter of Edward Sherwood one of the blacksmiths in the village. Christopher’s roots can be traced back in Stow Bardolph to the marriage of Robert Gunns and Elizabeth Green, his great great grandparents, on 19 April 1784. Elizabeth was baptised in Stow in 1765.

Harry Snasdell’s shop was at 10 Westway, now ‘Cobbler’s Cottage’, with a butcher’s shop next door at no12 owned formerly by Wilfred Gutteridge. William also ran a pork butchery at 22 Chapel Lane. Wilfred was born in 1900, son of William Gutteridge, a bricklayer born in Denver in 1877, and his wife Edith (nee Cook). The 1901 census has four generations of the family living in the same house in Chapel Lane – including Edith’s mother Mary, aged 50, and her grandmother Jane, aged 78, widow of Laurence Cook who died in 1884. Jane’s parents were William Lock and Hannah Reeve who married in Stow in 1806. At the corner of Chapel Lane there used to be a small wooden hut from where Mrs Emma Jeary sold fish and chips on Tuesdays and Fridays for two decades or so until around 1960. She was the sister of Stanley Napthan who started the business in the mid 1930s. Horace Napthan, born in Wimbotsham in 1902, ran a pork butchery at Honey Hill Farm, now 14 Honey Hill. Horace John Napthan, his father and Emma’s grandfather, was born in West Dereham in 1869.

It should not be overlooked that a bicycle business was started up at 50 Westway by a foster child of Mrs Howlett. Starting in a shed in the garden, the business grew into a much larger cycle and motor business with extensive premises in Downham and King’s Lynn.... A T Johnson’s.

The Green. This photograph was taken c1905 looking west. The reading room, erected in 1903 on land donated by Sir Thomas Leigh Hare, was the predecessor of the village hall built in 1951. Three lime trees were planted on the Green to commemorate Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1897. The noticeboard on the Green prohibited any vehicle parking, although this did not apply to the annual fair, or Feast, held on Trinity Monday and Tuesday, and last held in 1928.

The Street, looking east, c1905

Wimbotsham in 1929

Four licensed premises appear to have existed in Wimbotsham. The Chequers (still open in 2010) opposite the Green, and the Bell are the two readily identified by name. In addition, there are two other unnamed beerhouses identified in William White’s Directory of 1845 being run by John Cawdron, an ‘out Chelsea Pensioner’ born in Diss, and George Bush. The latter premises is also mentioned, without name, in White’s of 1854 still being run by Mr Bush. The 1851 census shows that the landlord of the Chequers was Joel Charlton, aged 51 and born in Stow Bardolph. He was buried in Wimbotsham in January 1854, aged 55, having served as landlord since the mid 1830s. His parents, George Charlton (sometimes written ‘Chalton’) and Kezia Becket, were married in Stow on 11 April 1798. Joel’s wife was Frances Russell, daughter of Daniel Russell and Lucy Whiteman who married in Wimbotsham on 04 November 1799. Lucy, buried in Wimbotsham in 1864, aged 90, was the daughter of John Whiteman and Frances Roper, born in 1761 and 1748 respectively, who married in the same village in 1773. Living next door to the Chequers in 1851 was a sawyer, Mays Whiteman, and his family; Mays being a son of Lucy’s sister Hannah. Also adjacent was Joseph Brown, retired farmer, aged 50 and unmarried, whose father of the same name had kindly donated 10/6d to the Green peace feast in 1802. Joseph senior had been buried in 1823 but his widow Ellen Alemina (nee Snasdell) was still alive, aged 83. Frances remarried Robert Wales, a cattle dealer from Dersingham, in 1857.

Henry Pond, who was born in Wimbotsham in 1807, took over the licence from Joel Charlton until the later 1870s, combining his duties with employment as a carpenter. William Griggs (born 1844 in Stow Bardolph) was the next landlord and was shown as such in the 1881 census; he had moved on to the Crown at Stowbridge by 1891 being replaced by James Whitred for the next 20 years. James, whose surname was also written as ‘Whitered’ or ‘Whitrid’, was also a farmer.

The Chequers in 1998 http://www.norfolkpubs.co.uk/norfolkw/wimbotsham/whimbind.htm

The Bell beerhouse was also located on The Street around where Turner’s Close now stands but the censuses do not locate it precisely. An early record has William Carley, father of Carley, as landlord at Christmas time 1830 – see above. It was run by Snasdell Richer (1802-1872) from the mid 1840s until after the 1871 census. In 1851, Snasdell was aged 39 and was also farming 8 acres. He gained his unusual Christian name from his mother, Margaret Snasdell (1773-1869 – she appears in the burial register ‘aged 96’) daughter of Joseph Snasdell and his wife Margaret Barker who were married in Wimbotsham by licence in July 1772. Joseph was baptised in Wimbotsham on 20 September 1732 son of Joseph and Mary Snasdell. Entries in the burial registers before 1813 were usually devoid of any further information but in Joseph senior’s case ‘Clerk of the Parish’ was added. The licence was taken over in 1872 by Henry Goodings – or Goodens, or other variations – and then by Samuel Rose until after the 1901 census. Samuel was born in West Newton in 1825 and was entered as a publican and bricklayer in 1881 and ‘publican and farmer’ in 1891. He and his wife Ann had moved to Stow Bardolph in the early 1850s in connection with Samuel’s work as a bricklayer and then on to Wimbotsham about 1856. In 1891, Samuel was being assisted in his business by his 12-year-old grandson Thomas William Grist. Thomas married Bertha Mann of Downham in 1898 and took over the licence when Samuel died in 1903, holding it until the Bell closed at some point, apparently, before 1934.

Hill House on Lynn Road, the former turnpike, dates from 1723 and was formerly a coaching in called The Green Man. Local legend has it that condemned criminals were granted their last meal here before proceeding to the gibbet in the lane to the south of the church.

Other buildings in the village can be dated back to the 18th century. 4 Westway, for example, dates to about 1704. Other houses were obviously built as part of the Hare estate; usually in carrstone, they are often are clearly dated. Many were sold off by the estate in the 1940s to help pay death duties. 35 Church Road (formerly ‘The Street’) is a conversion from the former Wesleyan – later United – Methodist Chapel. The Primitive Methodists have had a place of worship in the village since 1836. The appropriately named Chapel Lane can be located on the map above. Other roads have former, or alternative, names. Westway was once Station Road, Honey Hill was Napthan’s Lane, and the cottages there constituted Rodwell’s Row. Honey Hill, apparently, was formerly a main thoroughfare between Lynn and Downham in the Middle Ages.

The village school dates from 1869 and was enlarged in 1894 to a capacity of 250; in 1908 the average attendance was 130. Jacob Hazel, born in the village but now a retired metropolitan police officer, was then clerk to the managers and attendance officer. William Henry Turner was the schoolmaster from 1893 to 1918, assisted by his wife Mary – both were born in Lancashire in the 1850s. Turner’s Close in the village is named after him. The ‘Portrait of a Village’ booklet published in 1993 (see References) records that two student teachers in Wimbotsham School had famous uncles – Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965), the world-renowned philosopher, doctor, theologian and missionary (‘In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that bloom at their feet’) winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952, and Eric Linklater (1899-1974), novelist and former editor of The Scotsman.

Wimbotsham school c1900

Wimbotsham School, Empire Day 1906. Emma Ward, pupil teacher, was Britannia. She had progressed to infants’ mistress in 1908. Emma was the sister of William Ward (1885-1964) who features in the Stow Bardolph chapter.

The carrstone church of St Mary has been seriously Victorianised. White’s Directory (1845) reveals that recent improvements had taken place but the roof was still thatched – the high pitch still remains. Further restoration went on in the early 1850s, with completion around 1854, under the guidance of the Revd George Henry Dashwood following the work undertaken at nearby Stow. Was it also by Raphael Brandon?

St Mary from the west (this photo and those below with thanks to http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk/wimbotsham/wimbotsham.htm

Norman south doorway 19th century bench ends by John Rattee

East end showing the chancel apse which is believed to stand on the original Norman foundations. The church was gutted by fire on 4th September 2019. It is hoped that it will be fully rebuilt in due course. There are many online images of the fire.

The Times on 30 July 1980 announced the appointment of the Revd P G Hutton, previously ministering in Guyana, to be priest-in-charge of Stow Bardolph, Stowbridge Mission, Wimbotsham and Nordelph.

There is correspondence in the parish chest about the Blake family, once of Wimbotsham. Jasper Blake, who emigrated to America around 1643, was born in Wimbotsham c1614 and died at Hampton, New Hampshire on 05 January 1674. The Blake family purchased the manor of Tonwills in 1466 and by his will dated 1500 Peter Blake named a son Sir John Blake and a grandson Jasper Blake (c1500-1560), son of Sir John.....

Wimbotsham has a war memorial jointly with Stow Bardolph and Stowbridge

Please see for more information http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Norfolk/Wimbotsham.html There isn't a war memorial in Barroway Drove but it appears that five residents were killed in WW1. Readers might like to find out more at