North Walsham & District Community Archive

Worstead 1875 - 1975

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

WORSTEAD 1875-1975

Some extracts from early issues of this Magazine.

In July, 1876 we read:- "The remarkable events of Worstead are like Angel visits, few and far between in their occurrence, we live at peace for the most part one with another, we amuse ourselves in the quietest way and it is seldom that we have a meeting, so nobody takes the chair and nobody makes a speech. We come into the world, live in it, and go out of it in the calmest and most uneventful fashion. For want then of other matters with which to occupy our corner in the magazine we present our readers with a few figures relative to Church matters in 1875. In that year there were two marriages, 16 baptisms, 14 burials, The average number of communicants was 35 and the total amount of the offering £7.3.lOd." The comparative figures for 1974 would be 4 Weddings, 7 Baptisms, 8 Burials and an average of 35 Communicants, and the total amount of the offerings at Services £258.21p.

The uneventful peace of Worstead referred to above was quickly shattered, for in the next month the writer reports:- "fuly 13th will long be remembered in Worstead as the day of the Great Fire. It appears to have broken out at about five in the afternoon in the out premises of Mr. Henry Watts and speedily spread to the adjoining cottages and to the house and yard of Mr. Robert Rump, carpenter." Seven Cottages were burnt down.

Passing on to 1879, we read:- "July 2nd - On this day, (God willing) will take place the Opening Service, in celebration of our New Organ and Restored Bells." Would this be the present organ

July 1880. "In the course of Parish Gossip it was discovered that one only of the old Worstead Weavers is still living and he has reached the ripe age of 89. For five hundred years did weaving flourish in Worstead, and now of all the hands that ever plied doom and shuttle within sound of our Church Bells Old Cubitt is the solitary relic. He is a hale fresh-featured, white haired old gentleman, and delights to tell how his father was a master weaver owning three looms, and living in what is now Pycrofts' House. A little more than fifty years ago trade was still brisk, a weaver could earn from twenty to twenty-five shillings a week".

These paragraphs would not be complete without mention of the remarkable Clerk, Mr. Starling. We find the reference also in the July 1880 issue. "Old Cubitt's still older father was a little man but a great singer. He was at the head of the Church Choir, and warbled melodiously with the accompaniment of a Bass viol, Bassoon, Flute, Clarinet and Octave, what ever that may be. Of his harmonious band all have gone to rest save Clarionet who survives in the person of Starling, our learned and practical clerk".

August 1881. "Time was that Worstead was famous for its ferns, and indeed they still line our lanes and hedges in comparative abundance. But any one, who, whilst waiting at the Station, has noticed the bundles upon bundles and hampers heaped on hampers of these luckless plants almost daily consigned, with drooping fronds, and almost no roots, to a lingering death in the gardens of Norwich Cockneys, must be painfully convinced of their certain and speedy extinction. We only wish that the pitiless dispoilers of our roadsides would transfer the dirt and soil so plentiful upon their hands and faces to the scanty, starving root-lets of their victims, as they peep out of the baskets, sighing farewell to home, sweet home, - it would give them a chance of a slightly prolonged existence. Meantime we place upon record the names of the various species of ferns which have hitherto flourished amongst us. A few years more of railway extensions and tramp exploration, and the list will be read with surprise even by residents:- Filix Mas, Filix Femina. The two more common forms of polysticum, Adiantum, Nigrum, Common Polybody, Asplenium Trico-manes, Osmunda regina, Blecknum, Hartstongue (Scolo-pendrium), Lastrea dilatata, and the common Brake.