Oxborough Through Time

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The Oxborough History Group was formed in April 2014 as a community organisation for people to meet, discuss and share their interest in the history and heritage of Oxborough.
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Norfolk Heritage Explorer Parish Summary: for Oxborough


Oxborough. Administrative units. Ancient Parish and Civil Parish

Ancient Parish
Preceding the Norman Conquest and until England's break with Rome (1533-7), ancient parishes (groups of villages or hamlets and their adjacent lands) existed for ecclesiastical functions, whilst Vills (townships) and Manors dealt with the secular government matters. These ancient parishes could be identified as a conglomeration of ancient rights which became associated with a specific area, such as the area over which a clergyman had jurisdiction.
Civil Parish
Civil Parishes were created with the election of parochial boards in most parishes between 1845 and 1860. They were a local government unit with only civil responsibilities. They were founded anytime after the sixteenth century, most commonly between 1845 and 1975. Until 1930 civil parishes were defined as 'areas for which a separate poor rate is or can be assessed'.

The name ‘Oxborough’ is derived from the Old English for a fortified place frequented by oxen. The parish is part of the Breckland local government district, and was enlarged by the abolition of Caldecote civil parish in 1935, an area of 700 acres which makes up the north of the modern day parish. Along the northwestern border runs Oxborough Wood, which includes a nature reserve at its most southerly tip. The parish is bordered to the south by the River Wissey, and to the north by Caldecote Fen and Fen Wood. Oxborough parish contains the village of that name and the remains of Caldecote village, as well as the area to the southwest which is referred to as Oxborough Hythe.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

This name, with variant spellings Oxborough, Oxborrow, Oxbrow, Oxburgh and Oxbury, is of English locational origin from a place in Norfolk called Oxborough. Recorded as Oxenburch in the Domesday Book of 1086 and as Oxeburg in the 1194, Pipe Rolls of that county, the name derives from the Old English pre 7th Century "Oxan", genitive plural of "oxa", an ox, plus "burg" a fort; hence "fort where oxen were kept". 
OXBOROUGH, a village and a parish in Swaffham district, Norfolk. The village stands on an affluent of the river Wissey, 3 miles N E by E of Stoke-Ferry, and 7 S W of Swaffham r. station; occupies the site of a Roman station, supposed by some to have been Iciani; is mentioned in Domesday book; was once a markettown; and has still a fair on Easter Tuesday. The parish comprises 2, 518 acres; and its post town is Stoke-Ferry, under Brandon. Real property, £2, 721. Pop.in 1851, 293; in 1861, 225. Houses, 51. The decrease of pop. was caused by the removal of cottages. The manor belonged once to Torchil the Dane; and, with Oxborough Hall and most of the land, belongs now to Sir Henry G. Bedingfeld, Bart. O. Hall is a castellated brick quadrangle of the 15th century; measures 118feet by 92; has towers 80 feet high, and a fine old gate-way; is surrounded by a moat; was visited by Henry VII.; and contains some curious old tapestry, and a number of paintings by old masters. An ancient camp and tumuli are at Warren Hill; and ancient coins have been found there. The living is a rectory, united with the vicarage of Foulden, in the diocese of Norwich. Value, £516.* Patron, Cains College, Cambridge. The church comprises nave, aisles, and chancel; has a squaretower, with a very lofty octagonal spire; and contains aterra cotta screen, and monuments of the Bedingfelds. There are a Roman Catholic chapel, a handsome endowed school, and charities £100. The R. Catholic chapel was built in 1835, and is a neat edifice.



Former resident Pauline Coe who lived in Oxborough during the war remembers searchlights situated in at least two sites around the village.

One was situated at the corner of road to Stoke Ferry just past the sharp bend after White Bridge were about 20 Royal Artillery soldiers were camping in the wood there.

Another was near Caldecot Farm – there is a bomb crater there even today on the opposite side of the road to the barn.

Pauline Coe and her 86 year old cousin recall concrete bollards across the road just past the last house on the Swaffham Road, as a road block, they only let certain traffic through. They also remember and watching the Royal Scottish Highlanders stationed down the Foulden Road, marching down there wearing their kilts.

Probable World War One searchlight battery

Location Grid Reference: TF 7423 0292

Unusual dark circular crop mark with opposing entrances to east and west is visible on aerial photographs.
These may possibly be connected with the searchlight station operative here in 1918, perhaps connected with Gooderstone landing field. Following a visit to the possible WWI searchlight site October 2008 it was reported that nothing was visible on the surface. It is also suggested that the site does not date to WWI.

Cencus Abstracts











Social structure 1831   

Occupational Categories1831

Employers & Professionals  8              Farmers employing labourers   5  
Middling Sorts 16    Farmers not employing labourers     1
Labourers & Servants 48   Agricultural Labourers    48
Others 22   Manufacturing   0

    Retail & Handicrafts   15

    Capitalists, Professionals      3
Definitions of social class: "middling sorts" combines small farmers not employing labourers with both masters and skilled workers in urban manufacturing and handicrafts.

    Labourers (non-agricultural)     0
    Servants   0
    Other  22


Proposed rail link from Stoke Ferry to Gooderstone via Oxborough. This was proposed in 1882 and an Act of Parliament in 1883 approved it. It was never built of course and in 1887 a further Act of Parliament revoked the permission. The railway station at Stoke ferry was however deliberately built in a 'through station' pattern rather than a terminus to allow the extension to be added in the future.

The proposed Order will amend or repeal, so

far as may be necessary or expedient for any of

the purposes of the Provisional Order, ths provisions

or some of the provisions of the Order

of 1881, and will incorporate all or some of the

provisions of the Tramways Act, 1870, subject

~"to such alterations and modifications as may be

deemed expedient.

On or before the 30th day of November instant,

plans and sections of the proposed tramways and

works, and a copy of this advertisement will be

deposited at the office of the Board of Trade,

London, and for public inspection with the

clerk of the peace for the county of Worcester,

at his office at Worcestei*, with the clerk of the

peace for the county of Stafford, at his office at

Stafford, with the town clerk of the borough of

Dudley, with the clerk to the Stourbridge Improvement

Commissioners, and with the clerk to

the Local Board of Rowley Regis, at their respective

offices; and on or before the same day

a copy of so much of the said plans and sections

as relates to each of the parishes and extraparochial

places in or through which the tramways

are proposed to belaid, will be deposited in

the case of each such parish with the parish

clerk thereof, at his residence, and in the case of

each such extra-parochial place, with the parish

clerk of some parish immediately adjoining

thereto at his residence.

Printed copies of the draft Provisional Order

will be deposited at the Board of Trade on or

before the 23rd day of December, 1882, and

printed copies of the draft Pro visional Order, when

deposited, and of the Provisional Order, when

made, may be obtained on application, at the

office of Messrs. Dyson and Co., Parliamentary

Agents, No. 24, Parliament-street, in the city of

Westminster, at the price of one shilling for

each copy, or at such other price as the Board

of Trade may direct.

Every company, corporation, or person desirous

of making amy representation to the Board of

Trade,, or or bringing before them any objection

respecfctag' this application, may do so by letter

addressed to the Assistant Secretary of the

Railway Department of the Board of Trade, on

or before the 15th day of January, 1883, and

copies of such representation or objections must,

at the same time, be sent to the promoters, and

in forwarding to the Board of Trade such objections,

the objectors or their agents should state

that a copy has been sent to the promoters or

their agents.

Dated this 17th day of November, 1882.

Henry M. Wainwright, Dudley, Solicitor

for the Promoters of the Order.

Dyson and Co., 24, Parliament-street,

Westminster, Parliamentary Agents.


In Parliament.—Session 1883.

Downham and Stoke Ferry Railway.

(Extension of Railway from Stoke Ferry to

Gooderstone, in Norfolk; Purchase of Lands,

Special Powers to limited Owners, &c., of

Lands; Tolls; Agreements with the Great

Eastern Railway Company; Additional Capital

and Borrowing Powers; Further Powers of

Subscription, &c., to the Great Eastern Railway

Company, varying Agreement with that

Company scheduled to " Downham and Stoke

Ferry Railway Act, 1879 "; Amendment of

Acts, &c.)

"NOTICE is hereby given, that application is

J_ 1 intended to be made to Parliament, in the

next session, for an Act to authorise the Downham.

and Stoke Ferry Railway Company (hereinafter

called " the Company ") to make and maintain,


with all proper stations, approaches, works, and

j conveniences connected therewith respectively,

j the following railway, or some part thereof, that

i is to say:—

A railway wholly in the county of Norfolk,

commencing by a junction with the Downham

and Stoke Ferry Railway at its termination in

the parish of Stoke Ferry, and terminating in

the parish of Gooderstone, in the north-east

corner of the field known as Gooderstone Sheep

Walk, and owned and occupied by Messrs. James

and Theophilus Brookes, which intended railway

will be made, or pass from, in, through, or into

the parishes, townships, and extra-parochial or

other places following, or some of them, that is

to say: Stoke Ferry, Wereham, Wretton,

Northwold, Methwold, Oxborough, Foulden, and


And it is intended by the Bill to take for or in

connection with the purposes aforesaid certain

lands, being or reputed to be commons or commonable

lands, of which the following are particulars

and the estimated quantity to be taken,



Name (if

any) by

which the

lands are


Where the

lands are




within the

limits of



quantity to

be taken.


Stoke Fen,


Stoke Poor



Poor Land

Stoke Ferry



a.   r.  p.

10  0   0


10  0   0


a.  r. p.

2   0  0

2   0  0




To authorise the Company to deviate laterally

from the lines of the intended works to the

extent shown in the plans hereinafter mentioned

or as may be provided by the Bill, and also to

deviate vertically from the levels shown on the

sections hereinafter mentioned.

To empower the Company to cross, divert,

alter, or stop up, whether temporarily or permanently,

all such turnpike and other roadsj

highways, streets, pipes, telegraph and other

posts, wires, and apparatus, sewers, canals,

navigations, rivers, streams, bridges, railways,

and tramways within the parishes, townships,

extra-parochial and other places aforesaid, or

any of them, as it may be necessary or convenient

to cross, divert, alter, or stop up for the

purposes of the intended works, or any of them,

or of the Bill.


To authorise the Company to purchase and

take by compulsion and also by agreement

lands, houses, tenements, and hereditaments

for the purposes of the intended railway and

works, and of the BiU, and to vary or extinguish

all rights .and privileges in any manner connected

with the lands, houses, tenements, and

hereditaments BO purchased or taken.


To enable and authorise any tenant for life

of, or other person having a limited estate or

interest in any lands which would or might be

benefited or improved in value by or would

derive facilities or accommodation from the

construction or working of the intended railway

or any part thereof, to subscribe to and bold

shares in the undertaking of the Company,

and to raise the moneys necessary for that

purpose by mortgage of and to charge the


Oxborough Norfolk
Kelly's Directory for Cambridgeshire, Norfolk & Suffolk, 1883, p.462.
[Complete entry. Transcription Copyright © E.C."Paddy" Apling]
[Transcription copyright © Paddy Apling] By kind permission of  Paddy Apling.
For more information on Norfolk villages an history visit Paddy Apling's Web Site http://apling.freeservers.com/index.htm

OXBOROUGH is a parish, seated on the banks of a small stream running into the navigable Wissey, 7½ miles south-west from Swaffham station, in the Western division of the county, South Greenhoe hundred, Swaffham union and county court district, Cranwich rural deanery, Norfolk archdeaconry and Norwich diocese. The church of St. John the Evangelist is a large stone Gothic building consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, and square tower with a remarkable lofty spire rebuilt in 1877 (the previous one having been struck by lightning), and containing 6 bells: it has an altar-tomb under a marble Corinthian canopy, to Sir Henry Bedingfeld, knight-marshal and constable of the Tower under Queen Mary, ob. 1583. The register dates from the year 1538. The living is a rectory with the vicarage of Foulden annexed, joint yearly value £720 with residence, in the gift of Caius College, Cambridge, and held since 1848 by the Rev. Alexander Thurtell M.A. formerly fellow and tutor of that college. Here is a Catholic chapel, built in 1835, dedicated to our Lady and St. Margaret: there is a resident priest. There are charities to the amount of £130, the principal of which are derived from 86 acres, the estate of Thomas Hewar, who in 1619 left it in trust to apply two-thirds for the relief of poor parishioners, and one-third for repairing and beautifying the church; from the proceeds of this fund a handsome schoolhouse has been erected at the entrance of the parish. Oxborough was a Roman station, and is mentioned in the Domesday survey. In 1252 a market and fair were granted: the fair is still held on Easter Tuesday, it is a pleasure fair. Oxborough Hall is a castellated mansion of the fifteenth century, entirely surrounded by a moat filled with water: there a few good paintings and a curious tapestry: it is the seat of Sir Henry G. Paston-Bedingfeld bart D.L., J.P. who is lord of the manor and chief landowner The soil is loam and clay, with a portion of fen land; subsoil, chalk and clay. The chief crops are wheat, barley and turnips. The area is 2,528 acres; reateable value, 2,830; and the population in 1881 was 228.
POST OFFICE.— Mrs. Matilda Stacy, sub-postmistress. Letters through Brandon, viâ Stoke Ferry; arrive 7.30 a.m. dispatched at 5.25 p.m. No collection on Sunday. Stoke Ferry is the nearest money order & telegraph office
Catholic, Miss Lucy Woods, mistress
Free (boys & girls), Thomas Colver, master; Mrs. Hannah Colver, mistress
Paston-Bedingfeld Sir Henry George bart., D.L., J.P. The Hall
Thurtell Rev. Alexander M.A. Rectory
Bodley Rev. William Hamilton M.A. [Catholic]
Cobbin Louisa (miss), grocer
Dickenson Wm. steward to Sir Henry G. Paston-Bedingfeld bart. D.L., J.P.
Goring George, Bedingfeld Arms
Green Gates, farmer
Mitchell John Banham, farmer
Stacy Matilda (Mrs.), dress maker & post office
Trundle William, blacksmith


Oxborough Norfolk
William White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk 1845 - 1864 - 1883
For more information from Pat Newby visit http://www.origins.org.uk/genuki/NFK/places/o/oxborough/white1845.shtml

OXBOROUGH, or Oxburgh, is an ancient village, on the banks of a rivulet, 3 miles N.E. of Stoke Ferry, and 6½ miles S.W. of Swaffham, comprising in its parish 316 inhabitants and about 2317 acres, all the property of Sir H.R.P. Bedingfeld, Bart., of Oxbrough Hall [sic], which is encompassed by a moat, 52 feet broad, and 10 feet deep, and is one of the most perfect specimens of ancient castellated mansions in the kingdom, erected in the latter part of the fifteenth century, by Sir Edmund Bedingfeld, who obtained a patent from Edward IV., in 1482, to build a manor-house, with towers, battlements, machicolations, &c. It is built of brick, and was originally of a square form, environing a court 118 feet long, and 92 broad; round which the apartments were ranged. It resembles Queen's College, Cambridge, and the entrance is over a bridge (formerly a drawbridge,) through an arched gateway, between two majestic octagonal towers, which are 80 feet high. In the western tower is a winding staircase, beautifully turned, and lighted by quatrefoil oeilet holes. The other tower is divided into four stories, each forming an octagon room, with arched ceilings, stone window frames, and stone fire-places.
The archway between the towers is supported by numerous groins, and over it is a large handsome room, having one window to the north, and two bay-windows to the south; the floor is paved with small fine bricks, and the walls are covered with very curious tapestry, which exhibits several figures of princes, ladies, and gentlemen, of the age of Henry VII., who is supposed to have lodged in this apartment when he visited Oxburgh. Some of the apartments are spacious and elegant, and contain a few good paintings, by Vandyke, Holbein, Salvator Rosa, and other old masters. The outer walls of the hall stand in the broad and deep moat, which is well supplied with water from the adjacent rivulet, which falls into the navigable Wissey, about 1½ mile below the hall.
Oxburgh was a place of note in the time of the Romans, and from some coins found in Blomefield's time, he considered that it was the Iceani, of Antoninus, by some supposed to be at Ickborough. To the north-west of the village, on Warren Hill, are a very deep foss and vallum, and several tumuli; and near the rivulet are numerous hollows, still denominated Danes' Graves.
At the Domesday survey, the manor was held by Turketil, the Danish Earl of East Anglia. In 1252, it was held by Ralph de Wygarnia, who had a patent for a weekly market here on Tuesday, and a FAIR yearly on the vigil, day, and morrow of the Blessed Virgin; but the former has long been obsolete, and the latter is now held on Easter Tuesday, for the sale of horses, cattle, toys, &c.
Sir Edmund Bedingfeld, Knt., obtained the manor by marrying the heiress of the Tuddenham and De Weyland families, in the time of Henry V., and his descendants have retained it ever since. He was a firm adherent to the House of York; and Edward IV. allowed him to bear his own cognizance, the fetterlock. Sir Henry Bedingfeld was made governor of the tower of London during the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary, and had the charge of her sister, Elizabeth, who, on ascending the throne, dismissed him from court, saying, "whenever she had a state prisoner who required to be hardly handled and strictly kept, she would send for him." The Sir Henry Bedingfeld, who died in 1655, was confined nearly two years in the tower, and his estates sequestered, for his adherence to the cause of Charles I.; but they were restored to his successor, who was created a baronet, in 1660, immediately after the restoration of Charles II.
The parish CHURCH (St. John the Evangelist) is a large Gothic structure, with five bells and a square tower, surmounted by a lofty octangular spire, rising to the height of 156 feet. It is supposed to have been founded about the reign of Edward I. The large east window was formerly filled with stained glass. The roof is impanelled with oak, on which are carved various figures and devices. In the south aisle is a chapel, built in 1573, by the Bedingfelds, several of whom are interred in it. The sculptured stone screen which separates this chapel from the aisle, is an early specimen of the revived Grecian, or Corinthian Gothic.
The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the King's Book at £8. 6s. 8d.; and in 1831, at £516, with Foulden vicarage annexed to it, in the patronage of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and incumbency of the Rev. Rd. Lucas, M.A. The Rev. Charles Parkin, the continuator of Blomefield's History of Norfolk, was presented to this rectory in 1717, and died about 1768. The tithes were commuted in 1845.
In the park, is a neat Catholic Chapel, erected by Sir H.R.P. Bedingfeld, in 1835.
Thomas Hewar in 1619, left his estate here in trust, to apply one-third of the rents towards repairing and beautifying the church, and two-thirds for the relief of poor parishioners. This estate now consists of a farm of about 98A., worth about £50 a year. Mary Hammond, otherwise Craske, in 1679, bequeathed for the poor a tenement and 3A. of land, to which 8A. was added at the enclosure, but the whole is held by Sir H.R.P. Bedingfeld at the yearly rent of £2. 10s., under a 999 years' lease, granted in 1723. He also pays, for distribution among the poor, £2 per annum, called Walk Money, and they have £3 every sixth year from Yorker's Charity. (See Cockley-Cley.) Here is an Allotment of 49A. of fen land, on which the parishioners cut fuel.

                Bedingfeld Sir Henry Richard  Paston, Bart.     Oxborough Hall
                Gubbins    Rev. Wm               (Catholic)
                Howes      Joseph                  schoolmaster
                Lucas       Rev. Richard, M.A. rector
                Roan        Thomas                 vict. Spread Eagle
                Tingay      James                  grocer and draper
                Trundle     Henry                   blacksmith

                Postman to Stoke Ferry, daily

                Harrod       Robert
                Johnson    James
                Rumbell    George
                Thorpe      James


                                    ‘Trouble at mill’
Oxburgh watermill makes the news in 1803
This letter was discovered in old court archives and was addressed to a magistrate at Bury St Edmunds. It has been reproduced with its original spelling and punctuation. It relates to the plight of Ann Hemson, a young servant girl who, in 1803, became pregnant out of wedlock by Robert Kemp a miller at Oxburgh watermill. This condition referred to as ‘bastardy’ in those days was frowned upon and under the threat of prison the young woman had to appear before the magistrates and tell them the name of the child. The man in question had four choices: to run away, to go to goal, to marry the woman or to pay large sums for the upkeep of the child until it was old enough to earn its own keep.
“Lynn Janry 23, 1803
to Mr. Matthise Wright, Crown St. near the three Tuns, Bury, Suffolk

Sir I have taken the Libberty of Trubbling you with these few Lines hopping you will not be angry as Nessesaty Causes me to Come Trubblesome to the town as it have bin my Unfortunate I ott to be Deluded by man and I am in very Low Circumstance so that I am under the Nessesaty of trubbling the parrish to wich I belong for Support in time of my trubble So I think it in my place to Lett you know that you may proceed after the man that I am with Child by, as soon as possible you Can make it Convenienthis name is Robt Kemp by trade a Miller Low pluggy man Darke Complextion Live betwin Stoke ferry and Oxburgh at a water Mill on the Right hand goin from Stoke to Oxburgh. I have Lived at Sarvis at Lynn since Micklemass but am now seven months with Child that I am not able to do my work so that on next Tusday I must Come to Bury my Name is Ann Hemson I Lived five years with Lady Gage in Bury but I have not Lived a year in one place never since – if you be at Oxburgh on next wedensday you would finde him in the mill that is his day to Grind. I hope Sir you will do as far as Lay in your power for me for on Contempplating on the Circumstance has brought me very Low.
I am yours Humbly Ann Hemson”

According to the records, four days later, Ann appeared at Bury to swear that Robert Kemp was the father of her unborn child. It is noted in the records that Robert had agreed to appear in court on sureties of £40.
Finally, Ann appeared again on July 21st to state that, earlier in the year and still unmarried, she had give birth to a baby boy on 13th May 1803.


A brief history of the The Bedingfeld Arms ( Re-opening under new management Jan 2012)
The house is referenced as the EAGLE 1846
Origanlly the SPREAD EAGLE 1783, 1845 , 1881 and 1891
The Bedingfield crest is an Eagle.
There was a 6 day licence to 2nd February 1954, then a 7 day.
SOUTH GREENHOE LICENCE REGISTERS PS 19/5/1 to PS 19/5/2 (1926 - 1969)
Sir Henry Edward Paston Bedingfield Bart of Oxborough Hall : Hogge & Seppings were supplying the house in 1846
GREENE KING by 1952 - FREEHOUSE by 1995

Licensees :
THOMAS ROAN 1836 - 1846   JOHN WHITE 1890 - 1900
THOMAS JEATER 1854 - 1858       HARRY COBBIN 1908 - 1912
 ACOB BOYCE 1861 - 1869   WILLIAM ROBERSON 1916 - 1922
SUSAN BOYCE* 1871 - 1875   HENRY WILLIAM WHITE by 1925 - 1932
GEORGE GORING & farmer 1883   JOHN GREEF    19.04.1948

Bob Greef writes
‘John (Jack) Greef was my Great Uncle and after his death my great aunt Nancy continued to run the Bedingfeld Arms. On her stepping down, her younger son Maurice ran it but cannot remember when he gave it up as I had left the village (indeed the county) by then. Maurice still lives locally, not sure exactly where. Fred Greef, my father was, as you may already know head gardener at the Hall for Sir Edmund Bedingfeld then continued for over 40 years with the National Trust’


'Graneries for corn, and coal yards’
1781 Bloomfield
A mile and a half up river the name Oxborough hythe, though now all evidence of commerce has long vanished, indicates that there was a wharf that served the Oxborough estate and village. In 1781 Bloomfield in his History of Norfolk, wrote that a  mile south-west of the town of Oxborough was the ‘hithe to which to which place the river Wissey is navigable: here are granaries for corn, and coal yards; and lighters and boats pass from hence to Lynn, Cambridge and other towns on that navigation’. The site of the hythe buildings appears to have been at the edge of the higher ground about a quarter of a mile from the river. In Bloomfield’s time there was evidence from old ruins and foundations that Oxborough had once been ‘a place of consequence, capable of great reception’. The town had been granted a market and three annual fairs in the thirteenth century, but two of the fairs lapsed in the reign of Elizabeth I. The major fair – originally an eight day event, at which cattle and horse were sold, lasted just into the twentieth century, and held annually


From: 'Hundred of South Greenhoe: Oxburgh', An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: volume 6 (1807),In Domesday Book, is called Oxenburgh, taking its name from its site on the Ouse or Wissey, a river navigable from hence to Cambridge, Lynn, &c.;


In Domesday Book, is called Oxenburgh, taking its name from its site on the Ouse or Wissey, a river navigable from hence to Cambridge, Lynn, &c.
Odes, Sparrow's, or Chantry Manor.
In the reign of Henry III. Nicholas de Oxburgh, was found to hold the 8th part of a fee of Hubert Ruffin, Hubert of Sir Hugh de Odynsels; in the 9th of Edward II. Nich. de Oxburgh was returned to hold it; and in the 20th of King Edward III. Christiana, wife of Nicholas, was found to have held the same of Sir John de Grey. In the 3d of Henry IV. it was held by the heirs of Christiana, that is (as I take it) by the Odes, a family of good account in this town: William Ode was lord in the 2d of Richard II. and had then a foldcourse for 240 sheep; after this, Thomas Ode, and his son John, (by Agnes Langwade his wife,) in the 33d of Henry VI. had a capital messuage and other messuages here, 300 acres of arable land, 52 acres of pasture, 20s. &c. rent of assize, with the liberty of two freefolds, and other privileges to the said messuages and lands belonging, in Oxburgh and Caldecote, and paid to the lord of Caldecote 8s. 8d. per annum.

In 1463, Thomas Wellys, LL. B. and Godfrey Joy, citizen and alderman of Norwich, enfeoffed John Hewer, alias Bocher, of Oxburgh, Thomas Kyppyng of Caldecote, clerk, Thomas Mason of StokeFerry, and Henry Malvern of Ashill, in all and singular the messuages, lands, &c. with their appurtenances in Oxburgh and Caldecote, with the liberty of two freefolds for sheep in the said villages, with all the meadows, pastures, rents, wards, reliefs, eschaets, &c. which they held lately, together with John Paston, senior, Esq. Edward Coteler, citizen and alderman of Norwich, Stephen Brasier, notary, and William Swayn of Norwich, draper, by the enfeoffment of John Whittrat, clerk, dated in 1460, to the use, behoof, and fulfilling of the last will and testament of John Ode, late of Norwich. After this, in 1480, John Hewer and Thomas Kyppyng enfeoffed Edmund Bedingfeld, Esq. William Grey, Esq. John Fincham, junior, Gent. &c. in the same; what were the use and behoof of Odes will, is uncertain; probably it was given to some religious use, &c. and was held by feoffees, till license of mortmain could be obtained; for it appears, that Richard Sparwe, or Sparrowe, Gent. afterwards held it; and by his will, dated 24th of April, 1482, and proved the 10th of February 1483, gives this manor, with all the services, quitrents, lands, tenements, pastures, meadows, &c. lying in the towns and fields of Oxburgh, and Caldecote, to the founding of a chantry in the church of Oxburgh, and for the maintenance of a priest to officiate in the said church, to pray for his soul, the souls of his parents, children, and all his benefactors.

About two miles east of the town, (Goderston) in the road to Cley, a little before you come to Langwade Cross (part of which is still standing on the greenway, which is the boundary between Oxburgh and Cley) was a house of lepers; Thomas Salmon, chaplain of Oxburgh in 1380, gave by will to the Chapel of St. Mary at Oxburgh, 3s. 4d. and to the lazars at Langwade 6d. There was an ancient family of this name, who took their name from the long-wade or passage here, over the river. Ralph and Robert de Langwade gave by deed sans date, lands to West-Derham abbey.

The lete is in the lord of the manor.The church of Oxburgh is dedicated to St. John the Evangelist; it is a large and regular edifice consisting of middle, north, and south isles, in length from the west door to the chancel about 88 feet, and including all the isles, in breadth about 53 feet; the chancel is about 46 feet long, and 21 broad, the whole is of flint-stone, &c. covered with lead, and seems to have been founded about the reign of King Edward I. At the west end stands a foursquare tower of curious workmanship of flint, with quoins and battlements of free-stone, on this is raised a lofty octangular spire all of free-stone throughout, the whole being 150 feet in height. In this tower hang five musical bells, the first thus inscribed, Omnia sint ad Gloriam Dei, 1610. The third, Te per Orbem Terrarum Sancta confietur Ecclesia, Patrem immensæ Majestatis 1582, and on this is the figure of St. Edmund. The fourth, Venerandum tuum verum, et unicum Filium, 1582. The fifth, O Christe, Rex Gloriæ Es Tu, 1586: here also is a clock, (which strikes on the bell hanging on the outside of the spire,) with a dial-plate on the west-side of the tower. At the west door, as you enter, lie two old grave-stones, one on the right hand, the other on the left, with plain crosses on them; also a third with a cross flory, and serves for the uppermost step, as you descend into the church; in memory, most probably, of some of the family of the Weylands, lords of the town, and founders of the church. The Lady Cecilia de Weyland, by her will dated in 1384, bequeathed her body to be buried in the churchyard before the west door. (fn. 45) On each side of which is a niche of stone-work for images. On the pavement of this church lie several gravestones, deprived of their brasses: on one before the screen of the chancel, with a brass plate, 


Who were the nuns?
By kind permission of Dr. Caroline Bowden:

The 'Who were the nuns?' project team has been investigating the membership of the English convents in exile, from the opening of the first institution in Brussels to the nuns' return to England as a result of the French Revolution and associated violence.

A Prosopographical study of the English Convents in exile 1600-1800 has two Oxburgh women who entered the English convents from the foundation of the first new house in Brussels in 1598.

Nuns born in Oxburgh

Elizabeth Timperley, in religion Elizabeth Anne.
Born: c 1629 in Oxburgh, Norfolk. Died: 1703, aged 74.

Her father: Michael Timperley Esq of Hintlesham, Suffolk
Her mother: Frances Bedingfield of Oxburgh, Norfolk

Franciscans, Nieuport choir nun. She was clothed 2 Dec 1653, aged 23. She left ? 1659 .

Conceptionists (a contemplative religious order of nuns), Paris choir nun.

She arrived 1659. She left 31 Oct 1681 dispute with discreets about a confessor. Went to a French convent.

She professed with the Franciscans 27 Dec 1654, aged 24. She brought the Conceptionists a dowry of £700.

Frances Timperley,
in religion Francis Anthony.
Born: in Oxburgh, Norfolk 1636.

Died: 19 Nov 1661 in Paris, aged 25.

Her father: Michael Timperley Esq of Hintlesham, Suffolk
Her Mother: Frances Bedingfield of Oxburgh, Norfolk

Benedictines, Cambrai choir nun. She entered  20 Jun 1654, aged 19.

Conceptionists, Paris choir nun. She was clothed 3 May 1661, aged 24.

She professed 19 Nov 1661, aged 25. Her dowry was £700/18,200 livres.

Blue Nuns Professions and Obituary

Sister Francis Anthony alias Tymperley made her profession in the seaventh month of her noviship upon her Death and Departed this life after having Received all the Rights of our holy Mother the Church the 19 of November & year of our Lord 1661. She was very patient in sicknesse and vehemently Thirsted to see God. Mr Terret [Tyrwhitt] the Confessor performed her funerall obsiquis.

To access the full database of English Convents in exile log on to:-
                                                             Who were the nuns? http://wwtn.history.qmul.ac.uk/about/index.html

This project would be interested to hear from people who have used the database or have ancestors and can provide details for nuns with spaces in their family connections who are already in the database. Please quote the UID of the nun concerned and give the mother or father, associated property (if known) and the source where you have found the details.

If anyone has images of properties associated with families with relations in the convents that they are prepared to share please contact us. They need to illustrate the property at the time it was connected with the convents: in other words not a later nineteenth century version of the house.

The five original musical bells of St John’s Church were named:-

The first thus inscribed, Omnia sint ad Gloriam Dei, 1610.  All to the glory of God,
The second is unknown, it was either not named or recorded.
The third and on this was the figure of St. Edmund. Te per Orbem Terrarum Sancta confietur Ecclesia, Patrem immensæ Majestatis 1582,
Confietur Throughout the world the Holy Church, the Father, great majesty
The fourth, Venerandum tuum verum, et unicum Filium, 1582. Adorable, your true, and only Son,
The fifth, O Christe, Rex Gloriæ Es Tu, 1586: O Christ, You Are the King of glory,

The Oxborough Dirk
Bronze Age, 1450-1300 BC
Stumbling upon antiquityA man walking in woods near Oxborough literally stumbled across this dirk in 1988.
A man walking in woods near Oxborough literally stumbled across this dirk in 1988. It had been thrust vertically into soft peaty ground nearly 3,500 years ago, but erosion had exposed the hilt-plate, which caught his toe.
The 'weapon' respects the basic style of early Middle Bronze Age dirks, but it is ridiculously large and unwieldy, 70.9 cm long and 2.37 kg in weight. The edges of the blade are very neatly fashioned, but deliberately blunt and no rivet holes were ever provided at the butt for attaching a handle in the customary manner. The dirk was evidently never intended to be functional in any practical way. Instead, it was probably designed for ceremonial use, or as a means of storing wealth.
Although of an extremely rare type, and indeed the first example from Britain, there are four excellent parallels from continental Europe - two each from the Netherlands and France. Two of these earlier finds give the type the name Plougrescant-Ommerschans type. The five weapons are so similar, in style and execution, that it is possible that they were all made in the same workshop. However, on present evidence we cannot be sure whether this was in Britain, or the neighbouring parts of continental Europe.
You can use all of the material and images on The British Museum website for approved purposes. Approved purposes are private or non-commercial uses for education, academic study, scholarship or research by individuals or charities, societies, institutions or trusts existing exclusively for public benefit (but no other purposes).

Dept. of Classics University of Alberta Canada
The Oxborough Lead Tank,
Christopher Guy writes; A lead tank was found in the Winter of 1984-85 near Oxborough, Norfolk, although the precise details of its findspot and recover are unknown, It would appear to have been unearthed by a mechanical excavator, perhaps working in meadows adjacent to the River Wissey or one of its tributaries. From comparison with other similar objects the tank can he dated to the later Roman period.

The tank is formed from three sheets of lead, one for the base and two for the sides  and was probably circular w2ith vertical walls. It was originally c.0.49 m in diameter and c. 0.36m high with a capacity of c. 68 litres. There are six vertical hands of decoration and each of the four zones between the bands contains a cross pattée within a circle.
The tank seems to have been formed by bending the bottom of the sides slightly to form a ledge on which the base sits. This has created a neat, flush join on the inside but on the underside the join protrudes and has been hammered to form a seal. 
Can anyone remember this event in 1985. Do you know where it was found or offer any more information?
Please let the Messenger know.


Log on to Norfolk Heritage Explorer.


This definitive database of the county's archaeological sites and historic buildings
will give you information on historic Oxborough listed below.

 Neolithic flint hand axes

Neolithic jadeite axehead

Flint weapon

Unpolished flint axehead

Polished flint axehead


Neolithic flints

Base sherd of rouletted beaker

Bronze Age copper alloy palstave

 Fragment of Bronze Age palstave

A hoard of nineteen Bronze Age spearheads

Possible burial mounds of unknown date

Bronze Age copper alloy palstave

Bronze Age copper alloy palstave

Iron Age, Roman and medieval pottery sherds

Roman coins

Anglo Saxon brooch

Post medieval iron knife and ring

British History on Line