North Walsham & District Community Archive

Barton Turf 1875 - 1975

"North East Norfolk Country Churchman Centenery Magazine 1875-1975"

BARTON TURF 1875-1975

It is natural to think of one's own home as the most interesting place in the world, but surely Barton Turf scores extremely highly for intrest, be-& ing between land and water.

Barton's population does not alter BartonTurf much in number, 408 inhabitants in 1871, 386 in 1891 and rather under 300 now. There are 25 new houses all built by private enterprise in Staithe Road, 10 council houses, and the School has become a private house. It had to be given up when 5 was the number of its children. There had been 101, then 78, and so on, now, God be praised, there are rather mare children in Barton, may they increase.

In 1875 Th Revd. William Houghton was Vicar of Barton, and Rector of Irstead. He married the daughter of a previous Vicar, the Revd. John Green who was himself the son of another Revd. William Green. They lived at Irstead Rectory, now (1975) properly renamed, though many of us knew it gratefully as the Barton Angler. Barton Vicarage was built by Sir Henry Preston in 1882, for £1200. Sir Henry's 10 aunts (5 married and 5 were spinsters) were zealous old ladies. They took great trouble about the School, which they built, and enlarged later to hold 95 pupils. They threw sweets (unwrapped ) from their windows to the children, and thought that they should keep the key of the Church organ (which they had given) though Mrs. Poole the Vicar's wife was organist. It is believed that the Revd. J. G. Poole visited Barton Hall with much dispatch, and returned with the key in his pocket. The barrel-organ given by the Preston family was in use from 1833, afterwards replaced by the keyboard one, which is still splendid.

Harry Watts, who sold those excellent cheeses was Churchwarden when the question of a robed choir first came up, "Druv 'em in from the Tower" he said. His daughter Mrs. Herbert Drake died at White Lodge at the age of 90. In the barrel-organ days the Parish Clerk was deaf enough to use an ear-trumpet, the placing of a cork in the said trumpet produced such terrible sounds, as one can imagine, but the culprit was probably a very good and enterprising boy
Coal was brought by wherries with black sails, to the coalyard on the staithe and groceries came by water too, to the parish owned shed, whence the shop-keepers fetched them. There was plenty of traffic on the Broads, including lateeners, fast, dangerous craft with great mainsails, like Arab dhows, and the wherrymen could refresh themselves at "The Hole in the Wall" only lately given up.

On Staithe Road lived Mrs. Wright, whose delicious rhubarb wine could be dangerous to unwary grandchildren. There was Mr. Neave's farm, all thatched, milk could be fetched, there were several shops, a butcher at "The Point". One shop where our good friends Mr. and Mrs. Bowyer reign, Mr. Loveday's one end of Pennygate, Mr. Watts at the other, where Mrs. Long born Yaxley, now lives. People used to walk miles to buy his cheeses. The smithy was kept by John Watts, and then by lo Cox. There was variety indeed, a Veterinary Surgeon, a Wheelwright and another smithy at "Dale Cottage" and Lubbock's coach went to Norwich three days a week.

Barton Turf has been, and is, a village to be proud of.