North Walsham & District Community Archive

Neatishead 1875 - 1975

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

NEATISHEAD 1875-1975

It is 1875 in the 38th year of Queen Victoria's reign. Have a look around you. There are the fields, but they are smaller, the hedgerows are well cared for and contain many fine oak trees; there is no dreary old sugar beet. As for the buildings: if your memory goes back 12 years from the present day and you can remember what Neatishead looked like before the often inconguous "modern development", if you can wipe away all council houses, you will then see the village more or less as it was a century ago.
The Church is there: this is what mattered most, although it does not possess its attractive little bell tower. There is a butcher, a baker, a tailor, a saddler, a blacksmith and a brick kiln, besides a general shop, so that we are fairly self-supporting. The novelty is the new, now called the Old Vicarage, just six years old with the fine avenue of trees just beginning to help it to merge into its surroundings.
The Vicarage signifies a great change. For the first time for perhaps two hundred years, Neatishead has a resident Incumbent. Bishop Pelham, a reformer, insists that incumbents must live in their parishes and although the Revd. Henry Browne became priest-in-charge early in the sixties, the Bishop refused to institute him until the parsonage was built.
The roads are nearly all much like the loke at Cangate is today. There is much less traffic; but life is given to the scenery by the sails of the Mill which revolve happily almost every day. The population numbers probably half as much again as it is today; there are about three times as many children in the school. The school was built by the Prestons many years before, and the ladies from Beeston Hall are often in and out with all sorts of practical assistance, such as buns on St. Valentine's Day. Pupils are absent for all) sorts of reasons: haymaking1, gleaning, gathering acorns, and as late as October it is recorded that many have not been seen since harvest time. All the same, at the Inspection, Standard 3, presumably 9-11, can write out the Catechism "on paper", and the Infants write the Lord's Prayer "on slates". Could their great-grandchildren do as much?