North Walsham & District Community Archive

Westwick 1875 - 1975

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

WESTWICK 1875-1975

The essentials of the village were then, as now, "noble park and plantations" although the majority of the woodland was a mere 60 years old and Westwick Arch only 45 years old . . . doubtless with dovecotes in full use.

The population was around the 200 mark (211 in 1871 census), but the year 1875 saw 7 funerals - 3 of babies, 2 of young women and 2 of elderly villagers; 6 baptisms; and 2 weddings. Perhaps the babies were pushed along the turnpike in perambulators bought for 7/6d. and wedding guests entertained with gin at 21-a bottle, or whisky at 2/3d.

A big event in the village was the building of the Rectory ... a house of red bricks and covered with tiles - 53ft. long and 39ft. wide with outbuildings and coach house of the same materials. All this at a cost of £1530 of the Queen Anne bounty. The first occupant being the Rector of the villages of Westwick and Sloley -the Rev. Henry John Coleman, M.A.

The village had its own surveyor and overseers, Parish Constable, Parish Clerk and Churchwarden. These gentlemen deciding upon a church rate of 2d. in the £1 and a Poor Rate of 9d.

Farming throughout the country was suffering a depression - cheap American wheat, a series of bad harvests, refrigerated meat imports, strikes and lock-outs resulting in a lower meat consumption, so perhaps none of the 5 tenant farmers of the village were able to buy the new Norfolk Ridge Drill for Mangolds and Turnips invented, made and sold by Cubitt of North Walsham for £5.5.0d.

Twice in 1875 village events received mention in the Norfolk Chronicle. On January 9th "several boys ventured on Westwick pond although cautioned that the ice was unsafe. Between 4 and 5 p.m. 5 boys were immersed and with difficulty 4 were got out but one named Strike was drowned." On a happier note on May 26th "Col. and Mrs. Duff invited children of the Smallburgh Union to spend the day at Westwick Hall. They were conveyed by wagon and a plentiful dinner awaited them. The afternoon was spent with various games, presents and tea."

There are no records of villagers availing themselves of the tempting offers of emigrating to Australia for £20 but perhaps some tried a day trip to London for 6/- in a covered carriage, or even 10/6 First Class.
Oddly enough even in 1875 the village had no shops. Public Houses or tradesmen, but there was a school (of which no information can be found).