North Walsham & District Community Archive

Horning 1875 - 1975

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

HORNING 1875-1975

When in 1925 the Tithe map was made for this village the 25 inch O.S. sheet was already out of date, Horning then had started on its great expansion. What the map shows is the shape of the village at the turn of the century and the differences between that and the previous map of 1837 are negligible. Either map shows a very little place divided into three portions: Horning Hall and the Falgate, Upper Street and Lower Street. The total population kept very steady, somewhere about four hundred or rather less, men who looked to the land, and a few eel fishers or wherrymen in lower street, who earnt their living on the rivers.
The most notable difference between the maps is the disappearance of the windmill that stood high above the sudden turn of the river and had been the most obvious landmark for many years. It was demolished in 1879 and anyone who has looked at old pictures of the village still mourns it.
Gryme's Farm, now "Cedar Close", was well beyond the end of Lower Street, and there a hundred years ago you would have seen those "big red animals" the oxen used by William "Moon" Bush, the foreman, for ploughing. If you had then needed some cheap smokeless fuel you could have taken your dickey cart down the track opposite to the turf staithe and bought turves at one shilling a hundred. They would not have brought your house to the temperature you now need but they would have lasted long and given your rooms a lovely country scent. Nor would the general form of artificial light have come up to your standards for it was chiefly a matter of farthing dips. They were made from the pith of rushes dipped in tallow. They did not give much light even when you were constantly snuffing them.
The Ferry was well clear of the rest of the village but you could take a vehicle across the river to Wood-bastwick and, there being no railway at Wroxham at that date, this was your way to distant Norwich. It was 6d. for a vehicle and Id. for each passenger.
The then vicar was the Rev, Augustus Pyne. There were many stories told of him, his quickness with a gun as when he nearly shot one of his parishioners who was hanging around in hope of "chatting-up" a vicarage maid, his insistence that all female parishioners should not omit the customary curtsey when they happened to meet him, his dislike of being driven by a woman driver. It is not these for which we should remember him. In his time he not only enlarged the vicarage (a pity) he also presided over the thorough and badly needed restoration of the parish church.
Since he had earlier been rendered unconscious by a great fall of water on him from the roof we can understand his zeal. The architect was Euan Christian and a capable and restrained job he made of it, the influence of his friend Butterfield being only visible in the communion rails. The final touch came, by wherry of course, just about the hundred years ago: the four evangelists on the corners of the tower.
Then they were shining white in the moonlight and a rare old fright they gave those who lifted up their eyes and saw them unexpected; the little boy who saw them arrive and wrote about the experience many years later in the old "Cornhill Magazine" and Beavis, the village carrier, who appealed to the vicar "Why there's four graveyard walkers up there, master; 'clare to Gawd 'tis true, and in their white grave-clothes and all!"