North Walsham & District Community Archive

Skeyton 1875 - 1975

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

SKEYTON 1875-1975

As many of you are probably aware, there is no actual village of SKEYTON - it is more of an area some 15 miles in radius, with only a handful of cottages or houses in any one part -Skeyton Cross Roads contains probably the greater number of dwellings together: 1 bungalow, 10 Council houses and the Village Hall.

The Parish Church of All Saints is situated on a visual focal point in fact we understand, one of the second highest points in Norfolk, and stands at the Cross roads where a New road from Coronation Corner meets the Aylsham road.
The church is small and compact, having a Tower older than the main structure - which Tower appears to have dated back to before 1300. In 1887 a new East Window was installed in the Church, chiefly at the expense of the Rector - The Rev. Gaye : the Chancel windows formerly contained the Coat of Arms of the Warren and Paston families. The Lords of the Manor are still today the Patrons of the Church, and after being consolidated with Buxton and Oxnead, the Church was disunited in 1872.

Crossing the Aylsham road and descending Devils Hill - Skeyton Lodge is passed on the left, this was partially destroyed by fire and rebuilt. About i mile further on is "The Goat" Inn, part of which is credited as being 400 years of age. The name was derived from the fact that it was the first stopping stage for herds of goats, being driven from Sheringham to Norwich market. Adjacent to the building is Stake Bridge - this was and still is the boundary of the Parish with Buxton Lamas, Swanton Abbott and Scottow. The bridge collapsed in the floods of 1912.

From "The Goat" turning left, the road leads back to the Aylsham/Swanton Abbott road : before passing over the cross roads, it is interesting to note that the building at the cross roads, now in private occupation, was The Black Horse Inn - reputed to be one of the oldest houses in the area. It had a Blacksmith's shop, and was sold in 1868 for £600 to Pattersons of Norwich.

Breck Farm on the North Walsham road leading to the Woods, when owned by Mr. Page, was partially used as a timber yard, and trees were brought by steam engine from as far away as Wymondham. Also the farm used one of the first tractors called "Overtime".

Corn was generally stacked at Harvest and then thrashed by steam engine later in the year, often the stacks became homes for an army of rats who ate much of the grain. Fields were smaller and hedges and trees much more numerous than today - large numbers of horses and sheep were kept - the latter on turnip fields.

The road from Highview to Felmingham dips down to Skeyton Corner. Here are several houses, and now only one Chapel adjacent to the main road. Years ago there were two chapels which held Sunday Schools, with their Anniversary Services in Elmtree Farm barn, which had a platform at one end for the musicians, who played on violins, double bass and organ; the children recited and choirs competed, and those who watched had seats in the hay loft decorated with flowers. With the money collected, the children were taken to Cromer in farm waggons, and given breakfast, lunch and tea. In the Rev. Gaye's time the Church Sunday School held their fete at the Rectory.

Several "characters" resided near "The Corner House" - at the top of Chapel Lane opposite, a gentleman by name Mr. Pilgrim lived in a small hut warmed by a Tortoise Stove, with just a shelf for a bed! He wore a top hat, and it is understood never washed his shirts, but when they were dirty he burnt them. He Cobbled for a living and was called "Nutman". A certain Issac French, who also dwelt in the lane, was said to always keep his donkey in his house during the Winter. Two batchelor brothers also resided there and were General Dealers, called Dump and Dough, with a pony and cart. The next house to them was occupied by a "Vet" and opposite - a General Store, owned by a Mr. Sutton, now owned by the Gibbons family.

Next to The Chapel was a Mr. Dyke who cut hair in the evenings, aided by his wife, who held the candle. Also not far away were Thompson & Sons, Warreners and Pigeon Fanciers, mainly employed by the farmers. A. Sendall - Coal Merchant had his business just up the hill.

The other road which turns left from Skeyton Corner, bears round and meets the New road by Rowans Corner. Down this lane opposite is the Village School - built in 1850. In 1874 the Teachers were Mr. and Mrs. Harmer -attendance 39. In 1975 present Headmaster Mr. Johnson and Mrs. Chalmers - children 31.