February 8th 1803
At a meeting held at the Guildhall, Norwich, a committee was appointed to prepare a Bill to be laid before a future meeting for the better paving, lighting, watching, and cleansing of the city. A meeting was held on the 15th, at which resolutions were passed in opposition to the proposal; and in the month of March it was announced that the Paving Committee deemed it advisable in the then state of public affairs to defer going to Parliament with their Bill until the next Session.
February 8th 1803
Died, after having lived in three centuries, Mary Helsdon, of East Ruston, widow. “Her age was 105 years 11 months; she retained her faculties till about a year before her death, and she left a progeny of near 80 persons, including children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.”
February 12th 1803
“Mr. Coke, of Holkham, let out his Southdown tups last season for £1,500.”
February 12th 1803
Nearly 100 pairs of shoes, the property of 20 different persons who had been fined for making them contrary to Act of Parliament, were publicly burnt in Norwich Market Place. One shoemaker, for refusing to allow the searchers to perform their duty, was fined the full penalty of £5. The tradespeople, after obtaining counsel’s opinion, gave notice that actions for trespass would be taken against searchers and sealers of leather if they entered their premises. On March 7th two shoemakers were fined for offering resistence.
February 23rd 1803
Died, Mr. Wignell, manager of the Philadelphia Theatre. He married, a short time before his death, Mrs. Merry, formerly Miss Brunton, of Norwich Theatre.
February 24th 1803
Died, at Coltishall, Mr. Bartlett Gurney, banker, of Norwich, aged 46. He left £500 to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.
The portrait of Capt. John Harvey, of the Norwich Light Horse Volunteers, painted by Opie at the request of the corps, was this month placed in St. Andrew’s Hall.
March 5th 1803
“Mr. Stephen Martin, an old gentleman who lately died at Brentwood, bequeathed to the minister and churchwardens of St. Giles’, Norwich, the sum of £1,000 Stock in the three per cent. Consols, to be laid out for the use and benefit of the poor of that parish, of which he was a native. He was born in 1717, and when an infant was taken to Jamaica, where he amassed a fortune.”
March 7th 1803
At an assembly of the Corporation of Norwich an address of congratulation was ordered to be presented to his Majesty “on the providential discovery of the late traitorous conspiracy against his Royal person and Government, entered into by Col. Despard and six other persons, who were executed on the top of the new Surrey prison, in Horsemonger Lane, on February 21st.” The address was presented to the King by the Mayor (Sir Roger Kerrison), accompanied by Mr. Robert Fellowes, M.P., and Alderman John Harvey. Similar addresses were voted by the Corporations of Yarmouth, Thetford, and Lynn; and by the High Sheriff and Grand Jury of Norfolk at the Assizes at Thetford. The latter address was presented by Sir J. H. Astley, M.P., and Mr. T. W. Coke, M.P., on March 30th.
March 11th 1803
Died, aged 73, Mr. Thomas Twiddy, “who had been many years trumpet herald to the Norwich Company of Comedians.”
March 14th 1803
Died, Mrs. Parfrey, aged 80, wife of Mr. R. Parfrey, of Holme Hale, near Swaffham. “The public will best recollect her, as a doctress, by her former name of Fyson, and for the many cures she made in dropsy and other complaints.”
March 15th 1803
At a meeting held at St. Andrew’s Hall the late members of the Norwich Loyal Military Association, in consequence of the aspect of public affairs, offered their services to the Government.
March 19th 1803
“Two pairs of eagles were lately shot near Yarmouth. One pair measured and weighed as follows:—Female, length, 3 feet 4 inches; extent of wings, 8 feet; weight, 9¾ lbs. Male, length, 2 feet 9 inches; extent of wings, 7 feet 1 inch; weight, 9¼ lbs. Seventeen wild swans have also been shot by one man in the week.”
March 21st 1803
The Militia Regiments in the county this day assembled at Yarmouth, East Dereham, and Swaffham.
March 22nd 1803
At the Norfolk Assizes, held at Thetford, before Mr. Justice Grose and a special jury, the case, Astley _v._ Harwood, was tried. This was an action for defamation. It was alleged that the defendant, at a ball held on July 6th, 1802, the day after the Norwich election, mounted a table, and, addressing the company, called the plaintiff a liar, a coward, an assassin, a scoundrel, and a murderer, “for he had murdered his father.” The jury found a verdict for the plaintiff, and assessed the damages at £2,000. On June 11th the Court of King’s Bench granted a new trial, on the ground that the impression the words made on the hearers was matter for aggravation or mitigation of damages. The new trial took place at Norwich Assizes in August, 1803, when a special jury confirmed the former verdict, and awarded Sir Jacob Astley £2,000 damages. On December 3rd, it was announced that the case had been removed to the Court of Exchequer on writ of error. In June, 1804, the judges in the Exchequer Chamber unanimously confirmed the former verdict, and gave judgment, with costs, against Col. Harwood. Finally, on July 19th, 1804, the case was taken to the House of Lords, when the Lord Chancellor delivered his opinion in favour of Sir Jacob Astley, which was confirmed by the Lords, who ordered Col. Harwood to pay Sir Jacob £100 costs, occasioned by the writ of error.
April 9th 1803
Henry Ford was executed at Thetford, for stealing a silver watch, coat, and jacket from the person of Thomas Aylmer, of Pentney.
April 16th 1803
A county meeting held at the Shirehall, Norwich, when an address of congratulation to his Majesty, on has escape “from the late traitorous conspiracy,” was moved by the Hon. Col. Wodehouse, seconded by Sir Roger Kerrison, and unanimously adopted.
April 26th 1803
A rowing match took place between two crews, manning respectively two well-known Norwich boats, the Lion and the Dove. It was the only contest of the kind that had been witnessed in Norwich for nearly a quarter of a century. The course was from Carrow Abbey “to a signal post standing in Whitlingham reach, and return to Carrow, a distance of four miles.” In consequence of the narrowness of the stream, “the boats started about 300 yards distant from each other, the first having to go to the place whence the last set off.” The Lion won by about 80 yards in 38 minutes 40 seconds. (The number of oars not mentioned.)
April 27th 1803
A public dispensary was established in Norwich. “The committee propose to recommend to the general meeting an extension of the original plan, and to connect with it inoculation for the cow-pox.”
May 3rd 1803
Mr. William Firth was elected Steward of the Corporation of Norwich.
May 3rd 1803
The Norwich Loyal Military Association was re-established, and 300 men entered to serve therein.
May 5th 1803
An impressment took place at Yarmouth.
May 7th 1803
“Lately, was married at Ranworth, Wm. Brown, aged 80, to Elizabeth Gunton, aged 63. The bridegroom had had three wives, the bride three husbands, and the bridegroom’s daughter, who attended this wedding, had also had three husbands.”
May 14th 1803
The friends of the Right Hon. Wm. Windham celebrated his birthday by dining at the White Swan, St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich.
May 15th 1803
Found dead in his bed, Edward Baldwin, of Wereham, near Stoke Ferry. He was a glover, aged 89, “commonly reputed ‘the Almanack’ of that neighbourhood, as he was remarkable for many years past for being a true prognosticator of the weather.”
May 16th 1803
An embargo was laid on all the shipping in Yarmouth Roads.
May 18th 1803
The Mayor of Norwich, attended by the two Sheriffs, the city officers, and citizens, proceeded on horseback, at nine o’clock, with band playing and colours flying, from the Guildhall, to visit the boundaries of the city and county of the city of Norwich. The cavalcade went from Conesford Gate to Trowse “Eye,” thence to Trowse, Lakenham, Hartford Bridge, Eaton, Earlham, Hellesdon, Mile Cross, Catton Field (“including Sir Edward Berry’s house”), across Mousehold Heath to Thorpe, Trowse Newton Hall, and Bishop’s Bridge. The company then returned to the Market Place, where three cheers were given and the band played “God Save the King.” In the evening, the Mayor dined with a large party at the King’s Head. (A similar perambulation took place in 1793.)
May 30th 1803
Died, at Hardingham, aged 64, Sir Archibald Dickson, Admiral of the Blue.
May 31st 1803
Thomas H. Case, of Great Fransham, formerly a private in the East Dereham or Second Troop of Yeomanry Cavalry, was charged before the Rev. Dixon Hoste with “obstinately refusing to deliver up his arms, accoutrements, and clothing,” for which he was fined £10.
May 31st 1803
A two days’ race meeting commenced at Tivetshall. “The poney races afforded excellent sport, and there was some good running between the hunters.”
This month a ballot took place for the Supplementary Militia. Under the Army of Reserve Act, Norfolk (including Norwich) raised 927 men.
June 4th 1803
“This week the West Norfolk Militia marched from Thetford and Dereham to Colchester Barracks, to which place the East Norfolk have received orders to march next week.”
June 13th 1803
The Duke of Cambridge and suite arrived in Norwich from Yarmouth. After changing horses and taking refreshment at the Maid’s Head, they proceeded on their way to London, by Attleborough. His Royal Highness had come to Yarmouth in the Amethyst frigate, with Prince William of Gloucester, from Cuxhaven, where they narrowly escaped being made prisoners by the advance guard of the French army. The French general in Holland put an immense number of fishing boats in requisition for the avowed purpose of invading England.
June 13th 1803
The Aldermen requested the concurrence of the Common Council of Norwich to a dutiful and loyal address to his Majesty “on the present important crisis,” and a motion was made for the appointment of a committee to draw up such address. It was opposed by several members of the Common Council, and on a division rejected by 29 votes to 19.
June 21st 1803
Mr. John Patteson was appointed to be lieutenant-colonel, Mr. Charles Harvey, major, and Messrs. Andrew Sieley, J. H. Cole, R. Partridge, and Hammond Fiske, captains in the battalion of Norwich Volunteers.
Capt. John Harvey was this month promoted to be major of the squadron of Norwich Light Horse Volunt
During this month the number of poor in the Norwich Workhouse did not exceed 400, “a circumstance almost unprecedented.”
July 9th 1803
At a meeting of the deputy-lieutenants and magistrates of the county, presided over by the Marquis Townshend, the plan recommended by the Government, for establishing a system of communication throughout the county and for rendering the body of the people instrumental in the general defence and preservation of property in case of invasion, was approved and adopted. The county was formed into 13 divisions, consisting of a certain number of hundreds; each division was placed under the charge of lieutenants of divisions, nominated by the Lord Lieutenant; each hundred was under a magistrate, known as an Inspector of the Hundred; and each parish under some gentleman, clergyman, or principal farmer, termed Superintendent of the Parish.
July 13th 1803
On this day and on the 14th, William Green, bricklayer, undertook at Yarmouth, for a bet of five guineas, to lay 3,800 bricks in a workmanlike manner in 24 hours, and completed his task in 20 hours, on a new building at the Bowling Green House.
July 23rd 1803
Two men, named Denny and Allen, were placed in the pillory at Norwich, in accordance with sentence passed upon them at the Quarter Sessions on July 15th, for conspiracy against Mr. F. Latham. “Over their heads was the inscription, ‘False Conspirators.’ Allen wept bitterly when he was put in, but Denny, with great effrontery, continued to nod and smile at the numerous spectators, until the people, by a shower of rotten eggs, and, at last, potatoes, convinced him of their detestation and abhorrence of his character and crime. This continued for about half-an-hour, when Denny, against whom all their violence was directed, appeared to faint, and by the advice of a medical man was taken out of the pillory and conducted to the gaol, where, being examined by several medical men, he was deemed to be in a fit state to be replaced on the pillory, and was carried back for that purpose, but all efforts to reinstate him there proved ineffectual, and he lay thereon till the hour was expired, amidst the execrations of the enraged multitude. When Denny was taken out the populace clamorously demanded that Allen, whose appearance excited their commiseration rather than their indignation, should be taken down. Mr. Sheriff Back immediately ascended the scaffold, and with the greatest firmness and severity expressed his determination to enforce obedience to the laws and to carry the sentence fully into execution. When the hour was expired they were taken down and removed to the Bridewell to undergo two years’ imprisonment.”
July 23rd 1803
“All persons arrived from France and Holland and witnessed the immense preparations which are now making for the invasion of this country, express astonishment at the apathy and indifference which prevail here.”
July 24th 1803
This day (Sunday) the Norfolk Rangers (Yeomanry Cavalry) had a field day at Rainham Park, and subscribed £100 towards the fund instituted by the merchants of London for the relief of persons “who may suffer in the general defence of the country.”
July 30th 1803
“At a Court of the Commissioners of Sewers, concerning the repairing of sea breaches between Happisburgh and Yarmouth, the jury, after hearing read three several verdicts of former juries given in 1702, 1715, and 1742, and also, hearing several witnesses, delivered a verdict agreeable to the above, by all of which it was determined that no particular persons were bound to sustain or repair the sea walls adjoining their lands.”
July 30th 1803
“The male part of the Norwich Company (theatrical) have agreed to enroll themselves to learn the use of arms.”
July 30th 1803
“Messrs. Marsh and Sons, Norwich and Cambridge carriers, have within the last few days offered, for the service of the Government in case of invasion, 100 horses, 12 broad-wheel waggons, 24 men as drivers and assistants, 24 boats, amounting altogether to 200 tons burden, 6 watermen, and 9 boys, with blacksmiths, with their apparatus, tools, &c., and 2 wheelwrights, and 2 harness makers, with all necessary tools.”
July 30th 1803
Major-General Money published an address on the necessity of immediately associating, subscribing, and arming for the defence of the county in case of invasion. It resulted in the formation of Volunteer corps in all the seaports and market towns in Norfolk.
Active preparations commenced for the defence of the county in view of possible invasion. On the 8th several officers and non-commissioned officers of the 47th Regiment of Foot arrived in Norwich to receive the balloted men and substitutes of the Army of Reserve, the training of whom commenced next day in Chapel Field. A county meeting was held at the Shirehall, Norwich, on the 10th, when resolutions were passed, assuring his Majesty of the readiness of the county to take defensive measures. A meeting of the inhabitants of Norwich was held at the Guildhall on the 16th, at which a subscription was opened for raising a regiment of Volunteer Infantry. Clerks attended in the porch of the Guildhall to enroll the names of the Volunteers, and the city flag was displayed from the window of the Town Clerk’s office. On the following day 702 men had offered themselves, and by Saturday, the 20th, the number had increased to 1,085, and the public subscription exceeded £3,000, of which £500 was given by the Corporation. On the 26th the regiment was formed, 800 strong, under Lieut.-Col. Harvey (commanding), Lieut.-Col. Plumptre, and Major Sigismund Trafford. The public subscription then amounted to £6,400. A Rifle Corps was also formed, with Mr. R. M. Bacon as captain. At Yarmouth, 500 persons enrolled themselves, under the command of Lieut.-Col. Wm. Gould. On the 27th, it was announced that the number of Volunteers in the county enabled the Lord Lieutenant to suspend the compulsory clauses of the Defence Act. The total number was about 7,300. The Government purchased some properties in Norwich to be converted into temporary barracks for the reception of 800 infantry.
August 6th 1803
“The Rev. Mr. Beloe, formerly of this city, has been appointed librarian to the British Museum.”
August 9th 1803
A brig was launched from Cattermoul’s yard at Thorpe, near Norwich, in the presence of many hundreds of spectators. “She went off the stocks in very fine style, but when she was towing ashore for the company on board to get off her, everyone endeavouring to get ashore first, the weight of such a body of people, added to those on the rigging, overset her. Nearly one hundred men, women, and children were plunged into the water, and messengers were at once sent to Norwich for medical assistance.” It is somewhat remarkable that no lives were lost.
August 20th 1803
The case of Mr. Cony, a ward in Chancery, came before the Court of Chancery. He was only 17 years of age, and had married Elizabeth Franklin, the daughter of an innkeeper at Downham Market, in which district he possessed a large property. The marriage took place by licence in London. The Chancellor annulled the marriage, ordering the cessation of all further intercourse between the parties, at the same time intimating that, if his orders were not strictly complied with, “he should take such steps as would prevent the possibility of their meeting.”
August 25th 1803
Mr. George Wyer, of Downham Market, “carried a 20 stone sack of flour one mile, leading through the town of Watton, for a wager of 230 guineas, which he performed with great ease in 18 minutes, to the astonishment of a vast number of spectators.”
September 1st 1803
The first parade of the Norwich Regiment of Volunteer Infantry took place. Eight battalion companies, a light infantry company, and a grenadier company were formed, and “from five barrels of British brown stout they drank the King’s health and prosperity to their country and city, and success to the corps.”
September 7th 1803
The brass ordnance belonging to the city were tested by some of the regular artillery stationed in Norwich. Four of the guns burst, and appended to the account delivered to the Corporation was the intimation:—“It is customary for the corporal to have the old metal when any of the pieces burst.” The official reply was to the effect that the Corporation were of opinion that the corporal “did not want brass.” The iron nine-pounders stood the test. The brass gun used by Kett in 1549 was preserved as a relic.
September 22nd 1803
The Norwich Volunteers, commanded by Lieut.-Col. Patteson, entered the Market Place, and after marching round the Hall and saluting the Corporation, had their colours presented to them by the Mayor. The men were afterwards regaled at Neeche’s Gardens, and the officers dined at the King’s Head.
September 24th 1803
“Telegraphs, signal flags, or tar barrels are being stationed on all the churches and lofty edifices on the coast, in order to give in a chain of communication the earliest intelligence, either by night or day, of the event of the enemy’s landing.”
September 29th 1803
A trial was made on the Castle ditches, Norwich, of carriages constructed for the conveyance of troops. A wooden frame, serving as a seat, was affixed to the skeleton of a four-wheel cart. A board for the feet was attached to it by ropes. The vehicle was capable of conveying 17 men.
The monument to the memory of the Poet Cowper and of his friend, Mrs. Unwin, in the church of St. Nicholas, East Dereham, was erected this month.
October 6th 1803
At the Norfolk Quarter Sessions various resolutions were adopted and transmitted to the Government regarding the defence of the county. The principal resolution was as follows:—“An object of most essential concern, which this meeting think it incumbent upon them to point out, is the town and port of Yarmouth, the infinite importance of which as the principal and almost only naval station in the North Sea, and the circumstances of which they do not wish to detail, but which, they conceive, require the immediate attention of the Government, in order that they may be rendered as secure against attack likely to be made upon it by land as by the presence of a fleet, it is, they presume, against any attempt by sea.”
October 15th 1803
At a parade of the Norwich Volunteers this day (Sunday) a letter was read from the Lord Lieutenant, asking if they would undertake to perform permanent duty at Yarmouth. A unanimous reply was given in the affirmative, and “the officers and gentlemen of the Light Horse Volunteers laid their hands on their breasts, as an appeal to their honour to undertake the duty whenever they should be required.” Shortly afterwards the commanding officers received instructions to have their corps in a perfect state of military equipment, and be prepared to march at a moment’s notice.
October 18th 1803
The Artillery, Shropshire Militia, and the Volunteer Corps (horse and foot) took part in a sham fight on Bramerton Common. General Milner, the inspecting officer, commended all arms for their steadiness on parade.
October 19th 1803
A general fast was observed. The Bishop of Norwich preached at the Cathedral, and the military attended service in the evening.
October 22nd 1803
Died, at Norwich, Mr. Elias Norgate, aged 76. He served the office of Sheriff in 1781, and of Mayor in 1785, and was a surgeon of great local eminence.
October 26th 1803
The Lord Lieutenant transmitted to the justices of the peace his Majesty’s proclamation for establishing certain regulations under the Act, respecting aliens arriving in the kingdom or resident therein.
November 5th 1803
Bonfires were prohibited in city and county, “as they might cause a false alarm.”
November 8th 1803
The battalion of Norwich Volunteers, commanded by Lieut.-Col. Patteson, paraded in the Market Place at seven a.m., and, amid the ringing of St. Peter Mancroft bells, started on their march to Yarmouth for the performance of garrison duty. The battalion halted at Acle, and, on resuming their march, reached Yarmouth at four o’clock. The rank and file numbered 280, out of an establishment of 312, and two officers only were absent. On the same day two troops of the Norfolk Rangers, headed by the Marquis Townshend and commanded by Capt. Sir M. B. ffolkes, Bart., and Capt. Beauchamp, entered Norwich on their way to Yarmouth. There were seven officers, two quartermasters, seven sergeants, two trumpeters, and 94 privates. The officers dined in the evening with Sir Roger Kerrison, and on the following morning the squadron resumed its march.
November 9th 1803
The Fakenham Volunteers, Capt. P. M. Case, marched into Norwich from Aylsham. There were four officers, seven sergeants, four drummers, and 80 privates. This was the first Volunteer corps in Norfolk to volunteer for garrison duty at Yarmouth.
November 16th 1803
The Norfolk Rangers arrived at Norwich on the termination of their duty at Yarmouth, and on the next day proceeded to their homes.
November 22nd 1803
The Norwich Regiment of Volunteer Infantry, under Lieut.-Col. Harvey, paraded on Tombland and marched to Yarmouth for garrison duly. On the same day Col. Patteson’s battalion marched in. They were preceded by the Fakenham corps, whose headquarters were at the White Swan.
November 30th 1803
The troops stationed at Yarmouth were reviewed upon the Denes by General Milner.
November 30th 1803
At the annual meeting of the Society of Universal Good Will, Norwich (formerly the Scots Society), it was reported that since its establishment in 1775 it had relieved 1,813 persons.
November 30th 1803
The Lord Lieutenant received a circular letter from the Government, relative to the appointment of such householders to act as special constables who were not enrolled in any Volunteer corps.
November 30th 1803
Mr. Thomas Wm. Coke was gazetted captain of the Holkham Yeomanry Cavalry.
November 30th 1803
Alderman John Herring, of Norwich, received from the Duke of York a letter, in which his Royal Highness expressed approbation of the readiness with which the Norwich Volunteers had undertaken to do garrison duty at Yarmouth.
December 1st 1803
Died, in Norwich, aged 43, Mr. James Burkin Burroughes, captain of the Blofield and South Walsham troop of Yeomanry Cavalry. His remains were interred, with military honours, at Burlingham on December 6th.
December 1st 1803
The squadron of Norwich Light Horse, Major John Harvey, marched to Yarmouth, to relieve the Tunstead and Happing troop.
December 6th 1803
Col. Harvey’s battalion returned to Norwich from Yarmouth. In the Regimental Orders, Col. Harvey referred to the steady and orderly march on the road, to the loyal discharge of duty at Yarmouth, and to the kindness with which the people of that town treated the men while in quarters.
December 15th 1803
The Lynn and Freebridge Yeomanry Cavalry, with the artillery and rifle corps, commanded by Major Taylor, marched through Norwich for Yarmouth, to relieve the South Erpingham troop in garrison duty.
December 20th 1803
The North Walsham Volunteers marched from that town at four o’clock in the morning, and arrived at Yarmouth at one o’clock, “without leaving a single man behind, although the roads were extremely bad, and the distance 26 miles.”
December 22nd 1803
The Dereham and Swaffham troops of Yeomanry Cavalry (Capts. Crisp and Johnson) marched through Norwich to Yarmouth, to relieve the Lynn and Freebridge troops. The Diss (Capt. Woodward), Wells (Capt. Bloom), and Old Buckenham (Capt. Powell) companies of infantry marched into Yarmouth for a fortnight’s garrison duty.
December 25th 1803
This day (Sunday) the Norwich Rifle Corps paraded at St. Andrew’s Hall, took the oath of allegiance, and attended service at the church of St. Peter Mancroft. (The uniform and appointments of this corps consisted of a dark green jacket, with lace of the same colour, pantaloons, and short black gaiters; hussar cap, with green feather and trimmings; a rifle-carbine, sword bayonet attached to the side by a black waist belt, and a ball pouch and powder horn slung from the left shoulder.)
December 25th 1803
At a church parade of the Lynn Sea Fencibles, Capt. Bentinck, the commanding officer, presented to the corps “a most elegant banner,” worked by Viscountess Andover, daughter of Mr. Coke, M.P.
December 30th 1803
The Hingham troop (Capt. Alpe) and the Wymondham troop (Capt. the Hon. Wm. Wodehouse) marched to Yarmouth, to relieve the Dereham and Swaffham troops.
December 31st 1803
The Dereham troop, which left Yarmouth on the 30th, arrived at Dereham, and was welcomed by a great concourse of the inhabitants. The church bells were rung, and the officers and many members of the troop dined in the evening at the King’s Arms Inn. The twenty-two troops of Yeomanry Cavalry in the county were this month formed into three regiments. The Marquis Townshend was appointed colonel of the Western Regiment; Major-General Money, colonel of the Eastern Regiment; and Col. (afterwards Brigadier-General) Bulwer, colonel of the Midland (or Mid Norfolk) Regiment.
December 31st 1803
Polito’s wild beasts were exhibited in the yard at the Duke’s Palace, Norwich.