North Walsham & District Community Archive

Gimingham 1875 - 1975

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

GIMINGHAM 1875-1975

In the Middle Ages, the village was the centre of the Soke of Gimingham, which included most of the surrounding villages. The smaller manor of Gimingham is well-known on account of the ancient verse:
Gimingham, Trimingham, Knapton and Trunch
with Northrepps and Southrepps lie all of a bunch.
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster King of Castile was the most famous of the lords and most of the parishes in the area still have the Duchy of Lancaster as their patron. This is one of the few remaining links. The Great Hall which had provided Kings and Archbishops with hospitality gradually fell into disrepair and now no trace remains.
The field names which were in use in 1875 made the links with the past most obvious. Chantry Piece, which was situated behind the blacksmiths, was the site of the chantry chapel built by John of Gaunt in the 14th century and dissolved at the Reformation. Gallows Hill and Lord's Meadow have clear connections with the old manor. The mill, still in use, dates back to the 11th century and would still have been water driven in 1875. The Pound which still stands at the entrance of the village would have been used for the stray animals and the removal of its tin roof last year has restored it to its original appearance. The Church, originally dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, had in 1875 recently been thoroughly restored with new seats, pulpit and stained glass in the East and West windows.
The population a hundred years ago was 326 (present figure 340) and they would, for the most part, have been educated at the village school which had been built in 1834 during the Incumbency of the Rev'd. Ralph Blake-lock who was Rector from 1837-1892. During part of that time he was also Archdeacon of Norfolk. He has been described as "the father of the allotment system" and some of the allotments still bear his name.
The parish had twenty acres of seaside in 1875 and now that the sea has encroached, the parish has a slightly larger strip of coastline. The Lords of the Manor had rights to the wrecks on the coast and no doubt several people from the area would have gone down to look at the whale washed up near Cromer in March of 1875 for it is said that hundreds of people went to view it and were amazed at its 75ft. span.
The village wheelwright in 1875 was Samuel Bates. Elizabeth Deary and Richard Hubbard both kept shops. John Neave was the shoemaker; Thomas Gaze the miller and Richard Spoom the blacksmith. The farmers were William Allard, Thomas Plumbly, Henry Primrose and John Porritt.
One amusing newspaper report on the funeral of a Gimingham man on January 2nd, 1875 described the late Mr. K. Rising, aged 91, as "a staunch Conservative, in spite of a lifetime under four liberal landlords".