North Walsham & District Community Archive

Sloley 1875 - 1975

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

SLOLEY 1875-1975

In common with most villages, Sloley was a reasonably self-sufficient parish 100 years ago. The population of 200 served by a blacksmith, a shoemaker, three shops and a village pub. Most of the villagers worked locally, either on the land or in service. Later some men became regulars in the Armed Forces. To supplement their larders many families kept livestock for milk and meat and grew their own vegetables.

The Squire, the Rev. James White, who was also the Parson, known as Squarson, lived at Sloley Hall. He was Rector from 1852 until 1885 when he died at the age of 97, never having retired. He was the younger brother of Henry Kirke White who wrote the hymn "Oft in danger, oft in woe." In his day beer was brewed at a brew-house at the Hall and served to the workers on the estate until a tragic event brought this to a close. The coachman, apparently overcome by fumes, fell into the vat of beer and was drowned.

The village children went to Sloley National School which was built and paid for by the Rev. White in 1874. His family maintained it at a token rent of 6/- per annum until 1950 when it was converted into a Voluntary Controlled School.
There were and still are, two places of worship in Sloley. St. Bartholomew's Church, dating the late 13th Century and Sloley Methodist Chapel, built in 1869. There had previously been a Primitive Methodist Chapel, on the site of which council houses now stand. In the 1890's during moirning service in church, the Rev. Jagg was delivering his sermon with great gusto when, without warning, he disappeared from view in a cloud of dust. The Parish Clerk was heard to remark that "there always was a lot of dry rot came out of that pulpit".
The Boer War only touched the village lightly. A donation of £5.1.7d. went to the Transvaal War Fund in 1899, a large sum in those days and records show that "Lt. Lionel J. Neville of the 5th Field Company, Royal Engineers returned after 2 years spent in service in the Transvaal War. The parishioners gathered at the entrance gate to Sloley Hall, where his carriage was unhorsed and dragged home amid cheers. The route through the village was decorated with flags and triumphal arches bearing the words "Sloley rejoices in our Soldier's Return" and "Welcome Home".

The 1914-18 War was a different story as 11 of the village men were killed, including the above-named Lieutenant.

In the 1939-45 War only one man from the village was killed.

A Church Restoration was carried out in 1909 and a further one in the period 1960-65.

The School Centenary was celebrated in 1974 with teachers and pupils dressed in 1874 style.

Now, in 1975, there are 30 children at the Village School. The village population is 200.