Come back with me and take a look at three gentlemen of "the cloth", 100 years ago as they spend their Saturday afternoons reading, writing or officiating at the nuptials of young couples in their respective parishes.
The Revd. G. H. Harris, instituted in June 1863, to the living of Tunstead with Sco' Ruston, took his first wedding on July 1st. Mr. and Mrs. Marler walked down the aisle and away to marriage bliss, whilst Mr. Harris, content with his efforts, strolled leisurely to his study, just two minutes walk from Tunstead Church. Do let me mention the groom, whose
domicile can still be seen: Saturday afternoons, for him, were not harrassing, unless 'Madame' required his services. Not once, in three years, did he have to convey the Incumbent of Sco' Ruston to St. Michael's to join together "this man and this woman in holy matrimony".
In the neighbouring parish, the Revd. Francis fickling enjoyed a pleasant life ministering to his people in Beeston St. Lawrence and Ashmanhaugh. The Reverend gentleman must have been very proud of his large rectory, built in the year of Our Lord, One thousand, eight hundred and sixty five, at a cost of £1,005. With so many rooms to heat, one wonders what the price of coal was one hundred years ago!! It is certain the Rector was never expected to soil his hands with that precious commodity. As only 96 weddings have been performed in Ashmanhaugh Church between 1838 and 1975, it will come as no surprise to read that only once did the coachman descend from his little garret, above the stable - still in being - to take his master to church on a Saturday afternoon in 1875 for a wedding. Moving on to the fourth parish, in the present five, we find ourselves at Beeston St. Lawrence with its church and rare round tower. A tiny village, yet an important one in the history of Norfolk with its connection with the Preston Family, still living at Beeston Hall. Mr. Jickling did not call upon his coachman to take him to Beeston Church for a wedding in the year 1875, but one imagines he frequently called at the Hall. May be he spared his coachman and went on horse back - who can tell?
The last, but by no means the least parish is that of Hoveton St. Peter, which certainly did not go with the other four one hundred years ago. A century ago the incumbent, the Revd. M. J. Blofeld also looked after Hoveton St. John and lived in that parish. He was related to the present gentleman of that name who takes such a great interest in all church matters in this area and who lives in the family house in Hoveton St. John. In 1875 Mr. Blofeld officiated at one wedding in his parish when George B. Hannant married Elizabeth Dunning.