North Walsham & District Community Archive

Bradfield 1875 - 1975

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

BRADFIELD 1875-1975

One hundred years ago, Bradfield, or Broadfield as some say is the real name, was as it is to-day, a very scattered community, with three main centres of population. But the population of 252 was more than twice to-day's figure and this suggests that many homes have completely disappeared. It has always been a farming community and in 1875 the main farm was Hall Farm where lived George Ives. The other large employer of labour was the bone mill just over the border in Antingham. Wherries came up the canal to the Pond carrying the bone, and at one time there was a water mill in Bradfield itself near the wheelwright's yard. The mill at Antingham was run by steam, and this also ground corn. There was a village shop where the Post Office is now; a wheelwright (fohn Cork); a blacksmith (James Larner, later the York family); and a thatcher. By the bridge was a coal yard owned by the Hicks family. John Futter was a familiar sight as he sat by the side of the road wearing his goggles as he broke up flints. He then carted these round Bradfield, and also in Swafield, Trunch and Felmingham, making up the roads. Bradfield Church was newly roofed and restored in 1864, like many others round this area in these years of much church repairing, and the Rev. Hugh Owen was the Rector. The Congregational Chapel, which still stands empty in the village, had been rebuilt in 1872; it was closed about 20 years ago and the Congregationalists worship in North Walsham. And finally, a reminder of a collection of Bradfield surnames, none of which are still in the village - Swan, Crow, Starling, Goose - and of course, Bird!