The term 'Repps' is peculiar to Norfolk and is thought to derive from an old word 'repples' which meant strips of land.
The population in 1875 was 750, much as it is now. and this is above average for Norfolk. The population then appears also to have had an above average thirst since there were four pubs - The New Inn, the Crown, the Vernon Arms and the Red Lion which was in Lower Street. In the Crown yard, now the butchers shop, was a shed at which the very poor widows would gather each week to receive one and sixpence and a little flour. Since the relieving officer came by pony cart from Beckham it must aften have been a long cold wait. The New Inn was very much a village centre, its cellar being used as a parish bath house. It is now the home of Alan and Mary Young who continue to welcome the people from the parish not to bath but to paint and make pottery.
A hundred years ago Lord Suffield was Lord of the Manor (Gimingham-Lancaster) and John Burton the principal landowner. There was also a wide variety of traders. The three shoemakers were James Baker, Robert Foulger and James Temple. The saddler was William Bartram and James Bensley was the tailor. There were two carpenters, Elijah Curson and James Stoney. The butcher
was John Ducker. James Sharpen and Frederick Plumb-ley were veterinary surgeons. There were two wheelwrights, Robert Starling and William Temple, a blacksmith, Isaac Temple and a basket-maker, John Osborne. William Dunning was a horse dealer and Charles Knights a market gardener. There were nine farmers in the parish.
The school which lies mainly in Antingham is well placed at the centre of the five parishes it serves, the Board having been set up in 1875 though the school itself was built some fifty years earlier by Lord Suffield in what would have been the trendy neo-Gothic style of his day. The school mistress was Miss Sarah Bur-borough and the charge at the time was two pence a week. One reminiscence is of a bucket of water which stood at the foot of a tree in the playground with a tin mug attached by a chain to the tree; it would have been well used and handled on hot days. On cold winter days the memories were of fires which only became effective when it was time to go home.
The church with one of the highest towers in Norfolk is dedicated to St. James whose scallop shell is well in evidence throughout the building. Even without its aisles which were taken down in 1791 the church is large by any standards. In 1875 there would have been a west gallery completely blocking up the tower arch in which the fiddle players would sit. In that same year the chancel was given a new east window to complete the restoration of the previous year. One odd feature not to be rectified until later was that the nave roof was lower than the newly restored chancel. The Rector at that time was Richard Gwyn who, it is said, held open-air services on the common in Lower Street.
One popular and memorable custom was the fair held in the parish on Tuesday fortnight after Whit Monday. Stalls were set up in the yard of the Vernon Arms and all down the High Street. The children were given a school holiday, the pubs were always open and beer was 2d. a pint.
In the yard at the back of the New Inn was the village Long Room where prize fights used to take place and dramatic performances given by bands of travelling players. The women of the village would take their washing to this room to use the box mangle which was filled with large stones from the beach and worked with a large handle which, fastened to a huge roller, propelled the box of stones back and forth. A charge of 2d. was paid to the owner. Was this the first Launderette in Norfolk?