The Foxearth and District Local History Society
1840 Norfolk Chronicle newspaper Selections

January 1st 1840

At the Norwich Quarter Sessions, before the Recorder, Mr. Jermy, James Ollett Marshall and James Darkin were indicted for publishing in a paper called “The Searcher” a libellous article on Mr. Sparkall, of Norwich. Marshall was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment, and Darkin fined £5.

January 4th 1840

Died at Hempnall, in his 101st year, William Reed, cordwainer.

January 7th 1840

A prize-fight took place on Pulham North Green, between Cricknell and Cain. After six rounds had been fought, Cricknell was taken into custody by the “Rural Police,” conveyed to Harleston, and bound over to keep the peace for twelve months. “The concourse of persons was not so numerous as has been noticed on similar occasions. Whether this arose from the necessary secrecy of the scene of action, on account of the declared intentions of the magistrates to put a stop to these demoralising sights, or the early hour (ten o’clock) the combatants set-to, cannot be fully determined. But that these brutal attacks are fast declining in the estimation of the middle classes may be fairly presumed by the paucity in number and the circuitous route taken by many of them to the battlefield.”

January 10th 1840

The Penny Postage “came into operation this day, according to the official regulations. Our advertising friends and correspondents will also be pleased to observe that unless the penny postage be prepaid the expense of them will be DOUBLE on their orders or communications. Since the ‘schoolmaster has been abroad’ the plural of penny is twopence. A letter not exceeding half-an-ounce in weight may be sent from any part of the United Kingdom to any other part for one penny, if paid when posted, or for twopence if paid when delivered.” On January 18th it was announced “the penny postage reduction has about trebled the number of letters in Norwich and in other towns, but printed circulars have formed a great proportion of this temporary increase. A tradesman in this city, we are informed, has sent out several thousands of such penny postpaid circulars.”

January 15th 1840

Died, Mr. J. Purdy Beacham, aged 70, for 54 years a highly-respected member of the Norwich Theatrical Company.

January 19th 1840

A severe thunderstorm occurred. A stack of barley at Overstrand was struck by lightning and entirely consumed; and on the 20th, during a heavy gale at Carlton Forehoe, a barn was blown down. On the 21st the thunderstorm raged with increased fury at Carlton Rode, where the lightning struck the premises of Mr. James Ringer, a miller, and set the thatch roof on fire. “His married daughter (Mrs. Matthews) was struck, and her clothes set on fire in twenty different places. Her sister was also enveloped in flames. The lightning inflamed her neck and shoulders, ran down her back, her side and breast, ran down her legs, and burned her heels, even the bottoms thereof, but neither her stockings nor boots were the least injured. Of her upper apparel, every article was burnt through and through.”

January 23rd 1840

A fine schooner, named the Lady Sondes, was launched from the shipyard of Mr. Lubbock, at Wells-next-the-Sea. The vessel was built for Messrs. R. and R. Brereton, of Blakeney, and was intended for the foreign trade. This was a very busy year for Norfolk shipbuilders. From Mr. J. Parker’s yard at the same town was launched, on May 20th, the Saucy Lass schooner; from Mr. Joseph Hastings’ yard at Yarmouth, on June 16th, a vessel of 200 tons burden; from Mr. F. Preston’s yard at Yarmouth, on July 16th, a fine vessel named the Maid of Athens; from Mr. Fellowes’ yard at Yarmouth on September 15th, the Earl of Leicester brig; and from the yard of Mr. Ambrose Palmer, Yarmouth, on October 28th, a vessel of 400 tons, called the Hamlet.

January 28th 1840

Steeplechases took place at Long Stratton. Among the other meetings this season were the military steeplechases by the officers of the 9th Royal Lancers at Shimpling Hall on March 3rd; the Fakenham Steeplechases on March 13th, over a four-mile course, with the winning-post on Hempton Green, where, in the heavy weight race, the silver cup, value £100, with 50 sovs. added, was won by Mr. Skelton’s ch.h. Colonel, ridden by Wright (sixty-five years of age), and Mr. J. Elmere’s br.h. Lottery (winner of the Liverpool stakes) was unplaced; the Norfolk and Suffolk Steeplechases, at Diss, on March 17th; the Loddon Steeplechases, on March 27th; and the Yarmouth Steeplechases, on March 31st.

January 31st 1840

The petition for the new Norwich Improvement Bill was presented in the House of Commons by the Marquis of Douro, who, on February 26th, introduced the Bill. On the previous day (February 25th) a common hall was held at the Guildhall, at which it was resolved that there was no necessity for the Bill, and a petition was drawn up in opposition to it.

February 1st 1840

Norwich Theatre opened for the season with the production of “The Lady of Lyons,” in which the part of Claude Melnotte was played by Mr. G. V. Brooke. “When we see the huge amphitheatre which is now in rapid progress towards completion on the Castle Meadow, under the sanction of the constituted authorities, for the reception of another batch of horse riders so soon after the visit of Ducrow’s troupe, and just at the very moment the players are come, we are constrained to observe that the jewel of fair play does not appear likely to be awarded as it ought to be to a class of her Majesty’s servants.” On February 4th Mr. J. Russell, of Drury Lane and Covent Garden, appeared in the parts of Dominique (“The Deserter”) and Pat Murphy (“The Happy Man”). Before the end of the season it was announced that Mr. G. V. Brooke had been added to the permanent strength of the Norwich Company.

February 2nd 1840

A remarkable case of somnolence was reported at Norwich. John Browne, master of the Yarmouth Bridge public-house, Red Lion Street, who died on this day, aged 39, and was reputed to be the heaviest man in the city, had been constantly afflicted with sleepiness. “He weighed at the time of his death nearly 27 st., and had generally slept away his time. He kept awake only a few minutes at a time, and even in conversation fell asleep. Browne was several years turnkey at the City Gaol, and was then by no means a man of over size, but he had been increasing in bulk for several years, notwithstanding the rigid temperance which he observed, living entirely upon dry toast and tea. His coffin was 3 ft. across, 6 ft. long, and 1 ft. 9 in. in height.”

February 10th 1840

The marriage of her Majesty the Queen was celebrated in Norwich. The Mayor and members of the Corporation, wearing white favours, attended service at the Cathedral, where the sermon was preached by the Rev. Prebendary Wodehouse. After service the quarterly meeting of the Town Council was held at the Guildhall, when congratulatory addresses to her Majesty and Prince Albert were adopted. At one o’clock the 9th Lancers, under the command of Capt. Arthur Williams, entered the Market Place and fired a _feu de joie_ with their pistols; “the trumpeters played ‘God save the Queen,’ and the soldiers gave three hearty cheers, flourishing their sabres in the air.” Luncheon was afterwards served in the Council Chamber, “the principal object on the table being a large wedding-cake, lavishly decorated.” At five o’clock one hundred gentlemen dined at the Swan Inn, under the presidency of the Mayor. At night there was a firework display in the Market Place. On the staging at the north-east angle of the Market Place the fireworks were prematurely exploded; a rocket was driven through the shutters of a shop on the Walk, and another entered the second storey window of a house in London Street. A man was severely wounded in the face, and others were also injured. A ball took place at the Assembly Room, “and in conformity with the wishes of the committee of the Council, the pit and gallery of the Theatre were thrown open gratis.” The pieces performed were “The Wedding Day” and “The Illustrious Stranger,” followed by the pantomime, “The House that Jack Built.” There were many parochial celebrations. At Yarmouth the vessels in the harbour were decorated with flags, the Revenue cutter in the Roads fired a royal salute, and a public dinner was held at the Town Hall. At a county meeting held at the Shirehall, Norwich, on March 21st, at which Mr. Henry Villebois, High Sheriff, presided, congratulatory addresses were ordered to be sent to her Majesty and Prince Albert.

February 12th 1840

At the Norfolk and Norwich Museum, Mr. William Stark delivered a lecture on “The functions of the brain phrenologically considered.” It was really a defence of the theory of phrenology, and gave rise to much adverse comment.

February 15th 1840

Died, aged 31, Mr. George Stannard, younger brother of Mr. A Stannard, the Norwich artist. The deceased was described as “an artist of superior talents.”

February 19th 1840

Died, in his 108th year, Richard Pattle, of Rudham. “He was a poor but honest man, and had through life earned his bread by the sweat of his brow, and was so respected by his neighbours that they some time ago employed an artist to take his likeness, from which a print was published, and is now in possession of most of the neighbouring gentry and farmers.”

February 27th 1840

A fire occurred on the newly-erected premises of Mr. Thorrold, engineer and ironfounder, near Foundry Bridge, Norwich, “and totally consumed all but the bare walls.”

March 2nd 1840

Batty’s Royal Circus commenced a season in “the most elegant, spacious, and substantial building ever erected in Norwich.” Its site was on the Castle Meadow. One of the principal productions of the season was the spectacle, “The Council of Clermont,” in which trained lions and leopards were introduced.

March 7th 1840

At a meeting of the owners and occupiers of land in the Hundred of Henstead, held at the Bell Inn, Orford Hill, Norwich, under the presidency of Mr. Robert Fellowes, it was determined to present a petition to Parliament against any alteration in the Corn Laws. The question was discussed at a meeting of the Norwich Town Council on March 24th, on a motion by Mr. Marshall that a petition be presented to Parliament “to repeal the present laws affecting the importation of foreign corn, and to substitute such a duty as shall secure to the agriculturists of the country present protection, with the prospect of a progressive diminution of that duty as well as of others which form our commercial code.” The motion was negatived. Mr. Bell, of the “Farmers’ Journal,” delivered a lecture in Norwich Corn Hall at the close of the market on March 28th, and argued that the theory of Free Trade was false in the principle on which it professed to be founded. On the 11th a public discussion took place at St. Andrew’s Hall between Mr. Bell and Mr. Ackland, one of the lecturers of the Manchester Anti-Corn Law League. Many meetings were held, for and against repeal, in different parts of the county.

March 7th 1840

“Died, lately, Mr. Robin Wade, of Ditchingham, aged 102.”

March 7th 1840

“Mr. William Bagge, M.P. for West Norfolk, has lately purchased Col. Say’s estate at Crimplesham, for £35,000, including the timber.”

March 14th 1840

At the Norfolk Sheriff’s Court at Norwich, a jury was empanelled to assess damages in a case of _crim. con._, in which the plaintiff was Mr. Edward William Trafford, and the defendant Mr. Ellis, a lieutenant in the 9th Royal Lancers stationed at Norwich in 1839. The Attorney-General (Sir John Campbell) was one of the counsel for the plaintiff, Mr. Thesiger was leading counsel for defendant, and Mrs. Opie was a witness in the case. Mr. N. Palmer, barrister, was deputed by the High Sheriff to preside. The damages were laid at £5,000, and the special jury, composed of county gentlemen, assessed them at £500. On August 4th the Royal assent was given to Mr. and Mrs. Trafford’s Divorce Bill.

March 20th 1840

At a meeting of the county magistrates, held at the Shirehall, Norwich, Mr. Henry Champion Partridge and Mr. Isaac Jermy, Recorder of Norwich, were elected Chairmen of the Norfolk Quarter Sessions.

March 29th 1840

Died in St. Giles’ Street, Norwich, aged 47, Mr. Christopher Edwards, formerly a solicitor. “The deceased was better known by the appellation Cutty Edwards, and was possessed of considerable talent and natural wit. No man experienced more the vicissitudes of fortune. He once had a comfortable property, but latterly felt the bitter pangs of want.”

March 30th 1840

Norman’s School, erected in the parish of St. Paul, Norwich, by the trustees of Alderman Norman, who died May 10th, 1724, “he bequeathing his property upon trust for ever for the purpose of boarding, clothing, and educating the sons of his own and his first wife’s relations,” was opened. The “claimants,” with their children, marched in procession from Chapel Field to the bowling-green of the New Inn, St. Augustine’s Gates, where the boys were regaled with buns. A party numbering 500 was entertained to tea in the school-room, when Mr. Samuel Daynes proposed “The Memory of Alderman Norman.” On July 28th the “claimants” presented a silver cup to Mr. Daynes, “as a memorial of their esteem for his indefatigable exertions in obtaining and establishing the claims of those who could prove descent from their munificent benefactor.”

March 31st 1840

The Judges of Assize, Sir James Parke and the Hon. Sir Edward Hall Alderson, arrived at Norwich. Their lodgings on this occasion were at St. Catherine’s Hill.

April 1st 1840

A match against time took place on Swaffham Racecourse. “Mr. B. Land’s celebrated chestnut mare Lady Jane was backed to do 20 miles in an hour for 100 guineas.” Odds of 5 to 4 were laid against the mare, “but she accomplished the task with the greatest ease, having one minute and a half to spare, and trotted in the last few yards.”

April 6th 1840

A meeting of the freemen of Norwich was held at St. Andrew’s Hall, for the purpose of petitioning Parliament “to repeal so much of the Municipal Reform Act as debars freemen of the right to be enrolled as burgesses under the same, and to confer on the freemen and burgesses of all cities, boroughs, and towns corporate within the operation of the Act the right to vote at all municipal elections.” Mr. John Culley presided, in the absence of the Mayor, and the petition was adopted. On May 4th the freemen went in procession with a band of music and numerous flags and banners, from the Pope’s Head to the Greyhound Inn, Surrey Street, where, through Col. Harvey, they presented the petition to the Marquis of Douro, M.P., who promised to support it in the House of Commons. The petition to the House of Lords was presented by Lord Mansfield, formerly Lord Stormont, one of the members for Norwich.

April 17th 1840

Died in St. George Colegate, Norwich, aged 41, Emily, eldest daughter of John Crome, founder of the Norwich Society of Artists. “In her pictures of fish, fruit, and flowers it may be justly said that no one has represented these objects with greater fidelity to nature, combined with a tasteful and picturesque manner of grouping them.”

April 18th 1840

“Children who are sickly are taken to a woman living in St. Lawrence, Norwich, for the purpose of being cut for a supposed disease called the spinnage. The infants are on a Monday morning taken to this woman’s, who, for threepence, with a pair of scissors cuts through the lobe of the right ear, then makes a cross with the blood upon the forehead and breast of the child. On the following Monday the same barbarous and superstitious ceremony is performed upon the left ear, and on the succeeding Monday the right ear is again condemned to undergo the same ceremony, and in some cases it is deemed necessary to perform the ridiculous operation nine times.”

May 2nd 1840

“Married lately at St. Peter’s, in London, by the Rev. Thomas Grose, George Henry Borrow, Esq., for many years a resident in Spain, and a native of Norwich, and only surviving son of the late Captain Borrow, to Mrs. Mary Clarke, of Oulton Cottage, in Suffolk.”

May 3rd 1840

Died at Bath, Mr. Thomas Manning, of Orange Grove, Dartford, and formerly of Diss. “An eminent linguist, he accompanied Lord Amherst’s embassy to China, and was considered the best Siamese scholar in Europe, Dr. Morrison and Mr. St. Julien being his only rivals. He was able to speak fluently fifteen languages, and maintained a correspondence with the _literati_ of the world. For months he resided at H’lassa, in the kingdom of Thibet, and was the only Englishman who had ever penetrated to the metropolis of the Lama. There he spoke during his sojourn only Latin, and on his departure received the benediction of the Lama.”

May 6th 1840

Died, aged 76, Mr. James Sillett, of King Street, Norwich. “As an artist he stood unrivalled in his minute and accurate delineations of fish, fruit, and flowers. From 1781 to 1790 he studied from the figure at the Royal Academy, under Professors Reynolds, Barry, and others, whose lectures he also attended. He began to exhibit at Somerset House in 1796, which he continued at intervals for upwards of 30 years, part of which time he practised as a miniature painter with great success. He afterwards settled in his native city, and gained pre-eminence in his skilful and faithful delineations in oil and water colours. In later days he undertook architectural subjects. In 1815 he was President of the Norwich Artists’ Society, of which he was one of the original members, but, in consequence of disputes arising, he and two other of the original members quitted it. He continued annually to exhibit, although he never afterwards joined the society, which, from want of encouragement, gradually dissolved in a few years.”

May 7th 1840

A public meeting was held at the Guildhall, Norwich, “to take into consideration the propriety of petitioning Parliament to afford to every part of the United Kingdom the advantage now enjoyed by the Metropolis of not having any post delivery on the Sabbath day.”

May 9th 1840

“Married lately at Catfield, by the Rev. J. Prowett, Mr. John Curtiss, aged 85, to Miss Rogers, an agreeable young lady. The morning was ushered in with the ringing of bells and firing of guns. A large barge was prepared for the accommodation of the company to row on the lake in front of his mansion. In the evening an excellent band of music tended to the great amusement of hundreds who assembled on the cheerful occasion, when all the younger ones joined in the rustic dance, which was kept up till a late hour, after which there was a grand display of fireworks.”

May 13th 1840

Matthew Rackham, over seventy years of age, started from Norwich at four o’clock in the morning and walked to Yarmouth, where he arrived at nine o’clock, and returned to Norwich by six o’clock in the evening, “without experiencing any fatigue, although he had to contend with an adverse wind accompanied with rain during the whole of his journey out.”

May 18th 1840

Mr. G. V. Brooke took his benefit at Norwich Theatre as Hotspur in “King Henry the Fourth” (Part 1). “The degree of estimation in which this young actor is held was displayed in a general call for him at the end of the piece, a proceeding which is frequently resorted to in London, but which we are not aware of having seen occur here before.”

May 22nd 1840

The remaining troop of the 9th Royal Lancers marched from Norwich Barracks, under the command of Capt. Whalley. Two troops and the headquarters of the 8th Royal Irish Hussars, commanded by Col. the Hon. G. B. Molyneaux, took over the Barracks on June 5th.

May 25th 1840

The Norfolk Yeomanry Cavalry, commanded by Major Loftus, commenced permanent duty at Cromer. The regiment consisted of three troops, namely, the Rainham Troop (Capt. H. B. Caldwell); the Hingham Troop (Capt. Ferdinand Ives); and the Holt Troop (Capt. John Mott). “The uniform and appointments assimilate closely in cut and other details with those of her Majesty’s regiments of Dragoon Guards.”

June 1st 1840

Died at Thetford, aged 63, Mr. Thomas Withers Gill, an alderman of the borough, who had twice served the office of Mayor.

June 1st 1840

The publication commenced in bi-monthly shilling parts of “The Eastern Arboretum: a new Botanical Work on the Trees of Norfolk,” by James Grigor; illustrated by T. Ninham. London: Longman and Co.; Norwich: John Stacy, Old Haymarket.

June 4th 1840

A public meeting, presided over by the Dean, was held in Norwich, “to receive a report on the city National Schools, established in the year 1708, and to consider the best means of advancing the benevolent objects of these most ancient charitable institutions.” Resolutions were passed pledging the meeting to support the schools, “which were the first and for a long time the sole means of educating the children of the poor, and also the cause of similar institutions in later years.”

June 5th 1840

The tender of the Rev. Mr. Kent, of East Winch, for the purchase of the patronage of St. Mary’s Church, Bury St. Edmund’s, at 3,000 guineas, was opened and accepted by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

June 9th 1840

Mr. W. M. Warcup, surgeon, of East Dereham, was presented with a piece of plate by the inhabitants of Swanton Morley, “in testimony of their respect for his skilful and successful treatment of the poor of that parish during fourteen months when typhus fever of a very malignant character extended itself into the family of almost every poor person in the village.”

June 9th 1840

The question of the practicability of paving Guildhall Hill, Norwich, with wood, “in order to prevent the noise and interruption from carriages passing up and down the hill during the holding of Quarter Sessions, Assizes, and magistrates’ sittings,” was introduced by the Mayor (Capt. Money) and referred to a Committee of the Paving Commissioners, who, on October 13th, reported that “a wood pavement was not suitable for declivities.” A macadamised road was thereupon ordered to be made.

June 13th 1840

“We regret to find some of the finest parts of the antient church of Yarmouth are doomed to destruction. Handbills inviting tenders for the work have for some time been in circulation. The principal object of demolition is the splendid east window of the south isle, one of the most elaborate examples of a highly-enriched style of architecture in the county. This capacious building has long been suffering from the effects of mutilations which every admirer of our antient ecclesiastical architecture must lament. The modern and ghastly eastern windows of the north isle and chancel are deformities which would disgrace a dilapidated church of the meanest village.”

June 15th 1840

Mr. Farren, of Covent Garden, and Mr. J. Vining, of the same theatre, formerly a favourite actor in the Norwich Company, commenced a short engagement at Norwich Theatre. The plays in which they appeared included “The Clandestine Marriage,” “The Day after the Wedding,” “The School for Scandal,” &c.

June 15th 1840

A public meeting, convened by the Mayor, was held at the Guildhall, Norwich, “for the purpose of congratulating her Most Gracious Majesty and his Royal Highness Prince Albert on their late most happy escape from the atrocious attempt at assassination.” The address was moved by Col. Harvey, and seconded by Dr. Wright. The notorious Chartist, Dover, moved a direct negative, which the Mayor refused to accept. The address was then adopted. An address was also agreed to by the Town Council on the 15th, and on the 21st the Mayor and Corporation attended the thanksgiving service at the Cathedral. Addresses were adopted by the Corporations of Yarmouth and Lynn, by the clergy of the diocese, and by various public bodies in the city and county, and a special form of prayer was used at all the churches. A county meeting took place at the Shirehall, Norwich, on June 27th, at which congratulatory addresses to the Queen, the Prince Consort, and the Duchess of Kent were adopted. Dover and a party of Norwich Chartists occupied the gallery and created much disturbance.

June 16th 1840

John Mountjoy, the pedestrian, commenced a series of remarkable feats at Norwich. At Ranelagh Gardens he performed the task of taking up with his mouth, without touching the ground with his knees, 100 eggs placed a yard apart and dropping them into a bucket of water without breaking them, and leaping over 50 hurdles 4 ft. high placed ten yards apart, making a distance of 6½ miles. He undertook to do this in one hour, and accomplished it in 58 minutes 56 seconds. On June 22nd he began his walk from the Shirehall Tavern, Castle Ditches, to Symonds’ Gardens, Yarmouth, and back twice a day for six successive days, a distance of 76 miles. He finished the undertaking on Saturday, June 27th. After he had crossed Foundry Bridge on his last return journey he was followed by a tremendous crowd, who bore the toll collectors before them and made a free passage. The only remuneration Mountjoy received for his self-imposed task were the contributions prompted by the generosity of the public. On July 13th, at Ranelagh Gardens, he ran a mile, walked backwards a mile, ran a wheelbarrow half a mile, trundled a hoop a mile, hopped 200 yards, picked up with his mouth 40 hazel nuts placed a yard apart without putting his knees to the ground, and jumped over 30 hurdles ten yards apart within five minutes of the time stipulated, one hour. On August 31st he started to walk to London and back, by way of Cambridge, in 48 hours. Leaving Ranelagh Gardens at four o’clock in the morning, he reached Wymondham at 5.5 and Thetford at 9.20, Barton Mills before 11, and Newmarket at 12.45. After leaving Newmarket, he incautiously drank some cold water, which had such an effect upon him that he lay for an hour and a quarter outside the Swan Inn at Bottisham. Having somewhat recovered, he resumed his walk and reached Cambridge a little before five o’clock, and Melbourne at nine, where he was again taken ill and obliged to lie down for an hour. He then struggled on to Royston, where “he was obliged to lie down under a hedge, with none but strangers around him.” On reaching Buntingford he was advised to give in, but he pursued his course to within a mile of Ware, when he was obliged to relinquish the undertaking. Mountjoy, on September 10th, jumped 144 hurdles and ran twelve times round the racecourse on Mousehold Heath in 1 min. 4 sees, under the hour (distance not stated); and on September 13th walked 20 miles backwards and 20 forwards on the Catton Road, starting at 9 a.m. and finishing at 7.4 p.m.

June 18th 1840

Died at Coltishall, aged 62, Mr. Thomas Stallard Webb, historical engraver to the Queen. “For the long term of 38 years this eminent artist most assiduously devoted his great talents, in conjunction with the late Thomas Holloway and Richard Slann, who survives, exclusively to the engraving of the celebrated cartoons of Raphael from the original paintings in the possession of her Majesty, the last plate of which series was completed only a few weeks before his death. This splendid work will carry down his name to posterity amongst the first artists of the age.”

June 23rd 1840

The foundation-stone of Christ church, New Catton, was laid by the Hon. and Very Rev. Dean Pellew, after a special service at the mother church of St. Clement, at which the sermon was preached by the Hon. and Rev. J. T. Pelham, rector of Bergh Apton. The architect was Mr. Brown, the contractors Messrs. Wright and Cattermoul and Messrs. Watson and Neale, the site was given by Mr. S. D. Page, and the entire cost of the work was £2,400. “More than 300 years have elapsed since a parish church has been raised in this city. Of the 36 churches, St. Andrew’s is the last that was erected, or rather rebuilt, about the year 1500, on the site of an ancient church.”

July 1st 1840

On the opening of the Eastern Counties Railway from Shoreditch to Brentwood, the London coaches from Norwich, Yarmouth, and other places in Norfolk and Suffolk there transferred their passengers and mails to the trains in communication with the Metropolis.

July 4th 1840

“The very antient _lectorium_ or reading-desk which has for many years lain neglected in Norwich Cathedral has, by order of the Hon. the Very Rev. the Dean, recently been restored, and is now placed in the choir. It was originally adorned with figures, which, in the time of the usurpation, were destroyed or mutilated. These figures have been replaced by others cast in brass and elaborately chased by Mr. John Herbert, from models furnished by Mr. Ollett.”

July 9th 1840

Died in St. Stephen’s, Norwich, aged 81, Mr. John Stafford, “a man well known in the sporting world, having been many years a noted cock-feeder.”

July 18th 1840

[Advt.] “The public are respectfully informed that the Angel Inn, Market Place, Norwich, having been recently disposed of, is now refurnishing and fitting up with every convenience for the reception of families and commercial gentlemen, and will in future be known as the Royal Hotel.”

July 23rd 1840

In recording the anniversary of an Oddfellows’ Lodge at Lynn on this date, the NORFOLK CHRONICLE stated: “The name ‘Oddfellows,’ by which the Order is distinguished, scarcely does justice to the institution, as corresponding with its importance and its noble and generous principles. To those who are unacquainted with the real merits of the society, there is a sort of peculiarity in the title of ‘Oddfellows’ which may seem to imply something of buffoonery united with thoughtless revelling.”

July 30th 1840

Died, aged 50, Mr. B. Harrison, many years a popular actor on the Norwich stage.

July 31st 1840

Married, Mr. Charles Fisher, of the Norfolk and Suffolk Company of Comedians, to Miss Richardson, only daughter of Richard Richardson, gent., of Swafield, North Walsham.

July 31st 1840

The non-commissioned officers and men of the East Norfolk Yeomanry Cavalry presented to Major Charles Loftus a silver candelabrum, in “testimony of the sincere regard and admiration which they bear towards him both as their commanding officer and as a private gentleman.” The presentation was made by Lord James Townshend, at a dinner given at the King’s Arms Inn, East Dereham, under the presidency of Quarter-Master Wood.

August 1st 1840

Sir John Patteson and Sir Edward Hall Alderson, the Judges of Assize, arrived at Norwich.

August 3rd 1840

Mr. Yates, Mr. and Mrs. Keeley, and Mr. Paul Bedford commenced a six nights’ engagement at Norwich Theatre for the Assize week, in the new drama, “Jack Shephard.” Mrs. Keeley appeared in the title _rôle_, Mr. Yates as Abram Monday, and Mr. Bedford as Joe Blueskin. Mrs. Keeley (_née_ Goward) was formerly a member of the Norwich Company. On the 10th Miss Ellen Tree and Mr. George Bennett, of Covent Garden and Drury Lane, appeared in Sheridan Knowles’ play, “Love.” Mr. Bennett was the son of an old actor on the Norwich stage, and of Miss Tree it was said: “She is indeed one of Nature’s _noblesse_, an histrionic genius of the first order, an ornament to her arduous, anxious, and ill-requited profession.”

August 3rd 1840

At the Norfolk Assizes, before Mr. Justice Patteson, John Randalsome, aged 40, was indicted for the murder of his wife, at Thwaite, on June 19th. A singular feature of the case was that none of the murdered woman’s relatives were aware that she was married to the prisoner. Randalsome had formed an illicit acquaintance with a girl named Punchard, and desired to be rid of his wife. Having enticed her from the house of her father, with whom she resided, he wounded her severely about the head and face with a hedge stake, and threw her into a pond. The medical evidence proved that death resulted from drowning. The jury returned a verdict of guilty, and the prisoner was executed on the Castle Hill, Norwich, on August 22nd.

August 3rd 1840

The new Amphitheatre and Royal Albert Saloon, Ranelagh Gardens, St. Stephen’s Gates, Norwich, was opened. “The building is after a new design, constructed with great solidarity, and on a considerably increased scale of dimensions. The circle is about 150 feet in circumference, lighted up with a splendid chandelier of 20 gas burners, suspended from the centre of the cone, which is glazed from the top downwards about 15 ft. Round the spacious arena rise lower and upper tiers of boxes splendidly fitted up. The entrance to the circle and boxes is through a lofty and well-proportioned saloon, about 70 ft. long and 30 ft. wide. The façade of the building presents above the principal entrance an open portico of three arches looking into the gardens; and there is an exactly similar arcade opening internally towards the theatre.” A portion of the building here described is now the Victoria Station of the Great Eastern Railway.

September 2nd 1840

At the King’s Head Inn, Diss, the brewery, public-houses, mansion, farm, and other property of Mr. Robert Sheriffe, of Diss, were sold by auction by Mr. W. W. Simpson, of London. The brewery and public-houses were purchased by Mr. Samuel Farrow, and the amount realised by the three days’ sale was £50,000. “The great increase in the value of country public-houses apparent from the enormous prices which have lately been realised for this description of property leads us to believe that the shook which the trade suffered on the passing of the Beer Bill some years since has been entirely recovered, and that country public-houses are now even of greater value than they were antecedent to the passing of that measure.”

September 9th 1840

The two days’ annual race meeting commenced on the Mousehold course, Norwich.

September 10th 1840

A “great ringing festival” took place at Heydon, to celebrate the opening of the new peal of bells put up by Thomas and Joshua Hurry, of Norwich. Prizes were competed for by the ringers, and a “farmers’ ball” concluded the festivities.

September 12th 1840

On this date was reported the discovery of the remains of Sir Thomas Browne, in the church of St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich. “The bones of the skeleton were found to be in good preservation, particularly those of the skull. The brain was considerable in quantity, but changed to a state of adipocere resembling ointment of a dark brown hue. The hair and the beard remained profuse and perfect, though the flesh of the face as well as of every other part was totally gone. With respect to the formation of the head, we are informed that the forehead was remarkably low, but the back of the cranium exhibited an unusual degree of depth and capaciousness. Sir Thomas Browne died on October 12th, 1682.”

September 14th 1840

Died at Honing, Thomas Holt, aged 105.

September 21st 1840

M. Liszt, the celebrated pianist, performed at two grand concerts at Norwich, in the morning at the Assembly Rooms, and in the evening at the Theatre. The other artistes were Mr. Mori, Mdlle. de Varny, Miss Louisa Bassano, and Mr. J. Parry.

September 22nd 1840

Under the management of Messrs. Hewlett and Trory, a morning concert was given at the Assembly Rooms, and an evening concert at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, at which the performers were Madame Persiani, Signor Negri, Signor Rubini, and Signor Puzzi. “In two consecutive days we have had four concerts and heard four of the greatest performers of the present day—Persiani, Puzzi, Rubini, and Liszt.”

September 24th 1840

From a meadow near Bishop Bridge, Norwich, Mr. Charles Green ascended in the Nassau balloon, accompanied by Mr. R. Crawshay and his sons, Messrs. F. and E. Crawshay, Mr. Nicholas Bacon, Mr. Shalders, and Mr. Andrews. The balloon rose at four o’clock, and descended at five o’clock, at Metton, near Felbrigg.

October 1st 1840

Died at his residence in the Lower Close, Norwich, aged 90, Sylas Neville, M.D. “Of this venerable gentleman, for a great many years an inhabitant of this city, living as he did in a state of perfect seclusion, there is little to record beyond the fact of his having been born in London and having taken his doctor’s degree at Edinburgh, in 1775. His inaugural essay, ‘De Prognosi in Febribus,’ delivered on the occasion, is in print, and bears testimony to his acquirements both as a classic and as a pathologist. During many years and to the last moments of his existence, Dr. Neville was chiefly indebted to the kindness of friends around him for the means of subsistence.”

October 5th 1840

George Edward Seales, known as a common informer, procured the conviction of a coach proprietor, at the Norwich Police Court, for carrying more than the regulation number of passengers. Seales, on leaving the Guildhall, was violently assaulted by the mob, and was escorted to his home by twenty police-officers.

October 6th 1840

Col. Petre, of Westwick, presided at a meeting at the Assembly Rooms, Norwich, at which was formed, for the prevention of cruelty to animals, a society known as “The Animals’ Friend Society.”

October 6th 1840

The Countess of Leicester sustained a compound fracture of the leg by a fall from her horse whilst riding in Holkham Park.

October 16th 1840

A brace of trout was taken in an eel net at the New Mills, Norwich. The female weighed 6 lbs. 8 oz., and was 23½ inches in length; the male was 4 lbs. 12 oz. in weight, and 23 inches in length.

November 2nd 1840

On Mr. T. R. Buckworth’s estate at Cockley Cley, near Swaffham, “a party of several gentlemen killed the extraordinary number of 630 head of game, consisting of 331 pheasants, 15 partridges, 176 hares, and 108 rabbits.”

November 5th 1840

Gaslight was used for the first time at Harleston; to celebrate the event a public dinner was held at the Magpie Inn.

November 6th 1840

A public meeting was held at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, presided over by Mr. John Joseph Gurney, at which an auxiliary of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, for the purpose of abolishing slavery throughout the world, was formed. Mr. Henry B. Stanton, secretary of the New York Anti-Slavery Society, was the principal speaker.

November 9th 1840

Mr. Edward Willett was elected Mayor, and Mr. Richard Coaks appointed Sheriff, of Norwich.

November 9th 1840

Died at his residence, St. Margaret’s Place, Lynn, aged 63, Mr. John Prescott Blencowe, who had several times served the office of Mayor of that borough.

November 10th 1840

The Norwich Polytechnic Exhibition was opened in the premises known as the Royal Bazaar, St. Andrew’s. The exhibition consisted of scientific objects, paintings, drawings, machinery, &c. Professor Partington delivered a course of lectures on arts and manufactures.

November 18th 1840

A county meeting was held at St. Andrew’s Hall, in furtherance of the movement for suppressing the slave trade in Africa. The High Sheriff (Mr. H. Villebois) presided. The Chartists attended in force, and “gave groans for the Whigs of Norwich, for Mr. J. J. Gurney, the Bishop of Norwich, and Sir T. Fowell Buxton.” The ringleader, Dover, moved a resolution affirming that the meeting “views with deep regret the many proofs of despotic slavery now increasing at home, and it therefore pledges itself to use all its exertions to put a final stop to slavery wherever it is found to exist.” This was negatived, amid great uproar, and the resolutions drafted by the promoters of the meeting adopted.

November 22nd 1840

Intelligence was received in Norwich of the birth of a Princess (Princess Royal). The bells of St. Peter Mancroft were rung, and next day (Monday) there were further demonstrations of joy. On December 2nd a special meeting of the Norwich Court of Guardians was held, “to drink the health of the Queen and the Princess Royal”; and on the same day the Bishop, in celebration of the birth, entertained the inmates of the Workhouse. The Town Council, on the 10th, adopted a loyal and dutiful address of congratulation.

November 22nd 1840

A severe gale occurred on the Norfolk coast, and resulted in the loss of several lives. Ships were driven ashore at Cromer.

December 14th 1840

A young man named William Bunting appeared before the Norwich magistrates, charged with using threatening language to Mr. R. N. Bacon, of the “Norwich Mercury.” The defendant, a groom in the service of Capt. Ives, rode a horse named Newman Nogs at Long Stratton steeplechases on December 9th. The animal was injured, and had to be destroyed. The complainant, in his report in the “Mercury,” insinuated that the rider “had too much nog in his head”; and Bunting, taking offence, called at the office, and threatened to horsewhip Mr. Bacon. It was alleged that, during the interview, Capt. Ives rode backwards and forwards in front of the office. Defendant was ordered to find sureties, and keep the peace.

December 26th 1840

Navigation between Norwich and Yarmouth was obstructed by the frozen state of the river.

December 28th 1840

A cricket match was played on the ice on Scoulton Mere, between two selected elevens from the parish of Hingham. “Mr. W. Waller’s side went in first, and after some fine play, and still finer falls, were out for 66 runs. Mr. W. Roberts’ side then took the bat, and scored 170 runs in the most slashing style, hitting the ball quite off the ice in all directions. Some of the players wore skaits, and others their stump shoes, &c., to prevent falling.”

December 30th 1840

At a meeting held at the East India and Colonial Rooms, Pall Mall, under the presidency of Mr. W. L. W. Chute, M.P., the Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridge Railway Company was formed, for the purpose of constructing a line to proceed from Yarmouth to Bishop’s Stortford, by way of Norwich, Wymondham, Attleborough, Thetford, Newmarket and Cambridge. The principal promoter was Mr. J. W. Rastrick, and the adoption of the scheme was agreed to on the motion of the Marquis of Douro, seconded by Mr. Samuel Bignold. The estimated cost of the line was two millions, and of locomotives and carriages, £200,000.

December 31st 1840

The weather “was warmer and more brilliant than the last days of May are sometimes found to be.” In the previous week the thermometer stood at eleven degrees below freezing point.