The Foxearth and District Local History Society
1846 Norfolk Chronicle newspaper Selections

January 6th 1846

The West Norfolk Agricultural Protective Association held a meeting at the Town Hall, King’s Lynn, under the presidency of Lord Hastings, “to preserve the Corn Laws from further violation.” A similar meeting was held at North Walsham on the 8th. On January 20th a great meeting took place at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, at which addresses were delivered by Mr. Cobden and Col. Thompson in favour of the repeal of the Corn Laws, and a resolution, moved by Mr. Geary, and seconded by Col. Angerstein, “that the Corn Laws and all other laws designed to restrict trade under pretence of protecting particular classes are unjust in principle and injurious in operation, and ought to be forthwith abolished,” was carried by a large majority, in face of an amendment proposed by Mr. Wodehouse, M.P., and supported by Lord Hastings, Mr. Hamond of Westacre, and other prominent Protectionists. “Reporters from all the London daily papers attended the meeting, and the proprietors engaged special trains to carry back the report of the proceedings. The first special left Norwich Station at 8.45 p.m., and reached Shoreditch at 12.40 a.m.; the second left at 10.29 p.m. and reached London at 2.38 a.m. At half-past two p.m. on Wednesday (the 21st) we received the ‘Times’ containing the speeches to the extent of rather more than four columns.”

January 7th 1846

Died at Malta, aged 77, the Right Hon. John Hookham Frere, of Roydon Hall, eldest son of Mr. John Frere, formerly member for Norwich. Mr. Hookham Frere was educated at Eton, where he had Canning as a school companion. When very young he evinced a love for verse, and made, when only an Eton school boy, his clever translation of the Anglo-Saxon War Song on the victory of Athelstan, written when the Rowley controversy was at its height. George Ellis gave it a place in his historical essay before his “Specimens of the Poets,” and Scott invariably spoke of it as something more than a mere curiosity. Another of Mr. Frere’s works was a “prospectus and specimen” of his “Intended National Work by William and Robert Whistlecraft of Stowmarket in Suffolk, Hemp and Collar Makers, intended to comprise the most interesting particulars relating to King Arthur and his Round Table”—the precursor and original of Byron’s “Beppo” and “Don Juan.” “I have written,” says Byron, “a poem of 84 octave stanzas, in or after the excellent manner of Mr. Whistlecraft, whom I take to be Mr. Frere.”

January 17th 1846

“All the coaches between Norwich and London have ceased to run, the last being the mail through Bury St. Edmund’s, which was discontinued on the 6th inst. Six or seven coaches direct to London from Norfolk have been discontinued, and about 700 horses thrown off the road. There are, however, about 30 coaches constantly running from various towns to the principal stations between Yarmouth and London. There are many omnibuses, cabs, and flys. The railway has very much increased the number of horse conveyances to and from all the towns along the line. In fact, horses are dearer than ever they were and more in demand, and the consumption of oats is not likely to be diminished, but rather increased.” The adverse effects of the railway were shown in the following paragraph, published on April 25th: “During the droving season last year 9,300 beasts were housed at the Bird-in-Hand public-house, Tasburgh, and the landlord purchased for their consumption, and for horses, &c., 50 tons of hay; but so great is the diminution of the traffic occasioned by the Norfolk Railway, that during the present season only twelve beasts have been taken in, and the landlord has had occasion for only eight and a half hundredweight of hay.”

January 21st 1846

The Norwich School of Design was opened by Sir J. P. Boileau, Bart.

January 31st 1846

“By order of the Mayor and magistrates of Norwich, the shop-keepers have had notice that no goods are to be exposed or sold after ten o’clock on Sunday morning, and bakers are not to sell or bake goods after half-past one o’clock in the afternoon.” Several tradesmen were afterwards charged before the magistrates for contravention of the order.

February 2nd 1846

A large sea-borne vessel, heavily laden with coal, and between 60 and 70 tons burden, was brought up to the head of the navigation at Norwich, the first vessel of the kind that had ever got beyond Foundry Bridge. It was a Dutch-built craft, drawing only two feet of water, and was the property of Messrs. Bullard and Watts, St. Michael-at-Coslany Bridge.

February 6th 1846

Mr. D. N. Fisher gave the first of three subscription concerts at the Assembly Rooms, Norwich. The _artistes_ included Mdlle. Schloss, Madame and Signor F. Lablache, Mr. W. L. Phillips (principal violoncello), Mr. D. N. Fisher (leader), Mr. William Sterndale Bennett (director), and Mr. James Harcourt (director of rehearsals). “The musical world of Norwich owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Fisher for introducing to them Mr. William Sterndale Bennett. As a pianist, Mr. Bennett, without the extravagance and with less fire and brilliance than Liszt, has all the expression and musical enthusiasm of that performer.”

March 27th 1846

At the Norfolk Assizes, before Mr. Justice Maule, Samuel Yarham was indicted for the murder of Harriet Candler, at Yarmouth, on November 18th, 1844. The prisoner, who at the Spring Assizes in 1845 turned Queen’s evidence against three other men (Hall, Mapes, and Royal) charged with the murder, had made certain admissions which led to his apprehension at Gloucester, where he had gone to work. The jury found him guilty, and he was sentenced to death. The execution took place on the Castle Hill, Norwich, on April 11th (Tombland Fair-day), in the presence of 30,000 spectators. “Eight hundred persons came from Wymondham in one train; it was found necessary to use bullock-trucks to convey the people, there not being a sufficient number of regular carriages.” The fancy fair (the Sick Poor Repository) and all business in the city was suspended during the morning. “After the execution, gongs, drums, and other instruments commenced their uproar, mountebanks and clowns their antics, the vendors of wares and exhibitors of prodigies their cries, while the whirligigs and ups-and-downs were soon in full swing. The public-houses round the Hill were crowded, and hundreds finished the day in riot and intoxication. Royal and Hall were on the Hill during the execution, and got jostled by the crowd. They were turned out of the Golden Ball public-house and other houses where they presented themselves.” Owing to the scandalous character of the proceedings, a public meeting was held at St. Andrew’s Hall on April 17th, under the presidency of the Mayor, when it was decided to petition Parliament for the abolition of capital punishment.

April 1st 1846

The first general meeting of the Norfolk and Norwich Archæological Society was held at the Norfolk and Norwich Museum, under the presidency of the Lord Bishop of Norwich.

April 8th 1846

Died at his residence at Lakenham, aged 81, Mr. Thomas Thurtell, formerly an Alderman of Norwich, who served the office of Sheriff in 1815, and of Mayor in 1828. “He was universally esteemed as an honest and upright man.” (_See_ April 30th.)

April 11th 1846

George Clarke, a Norwich pedestrian, commenced a walk of 1,500 miles in 1,000 successive hours, “a mile and a half at the beginning of each hour,” at the West End Retreat Gardens, Norwich. (The result was not recorded.)

April 16th 1846

The Rev. R. F. Elwin, of Norwich, was presented with a silver coffee service, in recognition of “his promotion of the objects of the Norfolk and Norwich Musical Festival from its institution, in 1824.”

April 18th 1846

The 7th Hussars left Norwich for Ipswich, where they joined headquarters and marched for Hounslow. They were succeeded by the 6th Dragoon Guards (Carabineers), with headquarters and staff. “This regiment received its _nom de guerre_ from being the first corps which carried the modern carbine.”

April 20th 1846

The Norwich Board of Health was established as a permanent institution at a meeting held at the Guildhall. Among its objects was the encouragement of vaccination amongst the poor. The Bishop of Norwich was elected president, and the Mayor vice-president.

April 21st 1846

Many hundreds of persons attended a steeplechase meeting at East Dereham. “The course from the Common was marked out by flags describing a circle round the country, over Mr. Greenacre’s piece, across Mr. Neale’s land, and round to the Common again, making a distance of three and a half miles in two rounds.”

April 21st 1846

The first stone of the Cromer sea-wall was laid by the vicar, the Rev. W. Sharp, in the presence of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon and Lord Porchester. The contractors were Messrs. Wright and Cattermole, of Norwich, and the engineer Mr. J. Wright, of Westminster. On the same day the first pile of the new jetty was driven. The works were opened amid much festivity on August 7th.

April 23rd 1846

The North Cove Hall estates were sold at the Norfolk Hotel, Norwich, by Mr. Simpson, for £36,960.

April 29th 1846

At a meeting of “The Friends of Permanent and Universal Peace,” held at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, under the presidency of Mr. J. J. Gurney, it was resolved: “That in consideration of the points now at issue between this country and the United States of America, involving, as they do, the question of war or peace, an address be presented to the magistrates and to the ministers of the several denominations of the city of Norwich in Connecticut, and generally to the people of the United States, asking them to use their endeavours to avert war.”

April 30th 1846

At the Norwich Police Court, Mr. George Thurtell, horticulturist, was charged with assaulting a Mr. Riches, of St. George Colegate. Mr. Riches was the Norwich correspondent of the “Daily News,” and he had sent to that journal a notice of Mr. Thomas Thurtell’s death “and a private communication respecting one of Mr. Thurtell’s sons.” Mr. George Thurtell was greatly incensed on seeing the paragraph, more particularly as his father was not dead at the time, although he had been ill for some weeks, and meeting the complainant in the Market Place, he severely chastised him with a whip. The Bench, who considered the paragraph highly improper, imposed upon the defendant the nominal fine of one shilling. (_See_ January 5th, 1848.)

May 8th 1846

The Norfolk Yeomanry Cavalry commenced eight days’ permanent duty at Cromer.

May 9th 1846

“During the last week as many as 18 seaborne vessels, _via_ Lowestoft, many of them of considerable burden, have been lying at Foundry Bridge, Norwich, laden with coke, coals, and other materials, for delivery at the railway station. This proves how excellent and how practical was the plan of our late fellow-citizen, Mr. Crisp Brown, and must cause universal regret that it then failed.”

May 18th 1846

An inquest was opened at Happisburgh by Mr. Pilgrim, one of the County Coroners, upon the bodies of Jonathan Balls, his wife, and four grandchildren, who were believed to have been poisoned. The bodies had been exhumed, and were placed in a tent erected in the churchyard; peace officers were sworn to prevent the incensed villagers from rushing into the tent. Several other bodies were disinterred, and in nearly every instance traces of arsenic were found. At the adjourned inquiry some curious facts were elicited. Suspicion pointed to Balls as having destroyed his wife and grandchildren, and then poisoned himself. His conduct years previously had been suspicious, children having died suddenly while at his house. What number of persons had been thus destroyed it was impossible to ascertain. The jury found that, in the majority of the cases, death resulted from the effects of poison, but how it was administered there was no evidence to show.

May 26th 1846

The bells of St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich, were rung on the reception of the news of the birth, on the previous day, of a Princess (Princess Helena Augusta Victoria).

May 31st 1846

Died at Kimberley Hall, in his 76th year, the Right Hon. John Baron Wodehouse. He was born January 11th, 1771, and married November 18th, 1796, Charlotte Laura, only child and heiress of Mr. John Norris, of Witton Park. He succeeded to the peerage on the death of his father in 1834. He was made Lord Lieutenant of the county and Vice-Admiral of the coast in the room of Lord Suffield in 1821, and he had also served as Colonel of the East Norfolk Militia, and was Steward of Norwich Cathedral. His lordship was succeeded in his title and estates by his grandson, John Gurdon Wodehouse, son of Henry Wodehouse and of Anne, only daughter of Mr. T. T. Gurdon. The deceased nobleman was a staunch Conservative. “He was of commanding appearance, both in personal figure and dignity of deportment. During the contest for the representation of Norfolk in 1806 it was remarked with perfect truth that three finer men or more perfect gentlemen than Mr. Windham, Mr. Coke, and Col. Wodehouse never presented themselves together as candidates for the electoral suffrages of a great county.”

June 5th 1846

A fire occurred at St. James’s Factory, Norwich. Upwards of one thousand persons were, in consequence, thrown out of employment.

June 25th 1846

The first meeting of a new archery society, known as the West Norfolk Bowmen, of which Sir William B. ffolkes was “Prime Warden,” and Lady ffolkes “Lady Patroness,” was held at Reffley Wood, near King’s Lynn.

June 27th 1846

The first excursion train from London arrived at Norwich. It conveyed 800 passengers, who left Shoreditch at one p.m., and reached Norwich at eight p.m. The first excursion train from Yarmouth to London was run on June 29th. “There were 1,500 persons when it left Trowse Station at a quarter to nine, in 37 carriages. The passengers had increased to 2,000, and the carriages to 52, before it reached London, at 5.15 p.m.” The return fare was 7s. 6d. On June 30th 6,000 passengers were conveyed by two special cheap trains to Yarmouth and back. Hundreds of Nonconformist Sunday School children were taken at threepence a head, and the return fare for ordinary passengers was one shilling. Ten thousand persons assembled at Thorpe Station to witness the return of the excursionists.

July 3rd 1846

A cricket match was played on the Norwich Ground, between eleven resident members of the Norwich Club and the Messrs. Colman (eleven brothers). In the first innings the club headed their opponents by five runs only, and in the second innings had 50 runs to get. At eight o’clock, when the wickets were drawn, they had obtained 22 runs for four wickets. Scores: The Messrs. Colman, 87-54; the Club, 92-22. Game unfinished. The following were the Colmans:—Samuel, Joseph, William, Barnard, Thomas, Jeremiah, Henry, Edward, James, Robert, and John.

July 4th 1846

The great heat on this day so affected the iron Swing Bridge at Trowse as to prevent its being opened for the accommodation of the river traffic. At the magisterial proceedings which followed, it was urged in defence that the heat caused the ironwork to expand.

July 9th 1846

The first direct communication from Norwich to London was made through the medium of the electric telegraph.

July 9th 1846

An experimental trip from London to Rotterdam was made by the railway company, _via_ Norwich and Yarmouth. The railway journey was performed in 3 hrs. 35 mins. 15 secs., and was more successful than the trip by the steamer known as the Norfolk. On the return voyage the crew were under the influence of drink, bad weather was experienced, and the vessel got out of her course. The boiler of the engine of the return train to London burst when a mile and a half from Ely, and the excursionists alighted from the carriages and walked to that city. The Norfolk afterwards plied regularly between Yarmouth and Rotterdam.

July 12th 1846

Died, Charlotte Elizabeth, wife of Mr. Lewis Tonna and only daughter of the Rev. Michael Browne, Minor Canon of Norwich Cathedral. She edited “The Christian Ladies’ Magazine,” and was the author of “Letters from Ireland,” and of many religious works.

July 20th 1846

Norwich Theatre was opened, under the management of Mr. Davenport, who had become lessee of the circuit, in place of Mr. Abington. He announced that “he would be able to avail himself of the occasional services of his daughter, the eminent actress.” The company included Mr. L. Melville, Mr. Henry Loraine, Mr. Cooper, Mr. Cranfield, and Mr. J. Clarence. It was said to be better than Mr. Abington’s company, but inferior to that of Mr. George Smith.

July 27th 1846

A match between the Norfolk Cricket Club and Marylebone commenced at Lord’s, and finished on the 28th. Marylebone, 117-122; Norfolk, 119-32. The return match was played at Swaffham on August 10th, 11th, and 12th. Marylebone, 52-149; Norfolk, 86-82.

July 28th 1846

Died, aged 49, Mr. John Hill, nearly 20 years chorus-master of the Norfolk and Norwich Musical Festival.

July 28th 1846

Died at Bath, aged 58, Lieut.-Col. Richard Brunton, youngest son of Mr. John Brunton, manager of Norwich Theatre, and brother of the Dowager Countess Craven. He entered the Army young, and went through the Peninsula War. He was several times wounded, and had his lip shot away. “He was in the same battle in which several Norwich men were wounded in the leg, one of whom was Mr. R. Blake. He was also wounded at Waterloo, in defending the baggage from an attack by the enemy. He joined his regiment (the 13th Light Dragoons) in India in 1819, and brought it home, having the command of it, about five or six years since. Whilst lying in Norwich with the regiment, in 1841 and 1842, he was universally beloved by both officers and men.” Col. Brunton married the widow of Col. Wallace, but left no family.

August 1st 1846

The first consignment of foreign beasts were sold on Norwich Hill by Mr. Stephen Fromow. Dutch bullocks made £13 10s. each, and Dutch lambs from 9s. to 20s. each. “No doubt a regular trade will be ultimately established here in foreign stock, but whether to the advantage of any party except the foreign importer time must show.”

August 4th 1846

Lord George Bentinck, M.P., was entertained at dinner at Lynn by “the friends of agricultural protection, as a testimony of their esteem for the public integrity and perseverance displayed by him in the House of Commons during the recent discussion on the Corn Law Importation Bill.” The Earl of Orford, High Steward of Lynn, presided, and one of the principal speakers was Mr. Disraeli, M.P., who had a most enthusiastic reception.

August 19th 1846

The Provincial Medical and Surgical Association held its anniversary meeting at Norwich. Mr. J. G. Crosse was President for the year.

August 19th 1846

Died at Ormesby, Capt. Richard Glasspoole. He was President of the Norfolk and Norwich Museum in 1844–45, and a large contributor to the zoological department of that institution.

August 26th 1846

Died at Norwich Castle, in his 90th year, Mr. William Cole, formerly an attorney at Loddon. “He was committed to prison for debt in January, 1830, and remained there till the time of his death, never having been out of the walls of the prison 16 years and 8 months.”

September 2nd 1846

Burgh Castle, the ancient _Garianonum_, was offered for sale by auction at the Bear Hotel, Yarmouth, by Mr. Pettingill, and was purchased for £1,500 by Sir John P. Boileau, Bart., President of the Norfolk and Norwich Archæological Society.

October 17th 1846

A meeting of tenant-farmers was held at the Norfolk Hotel, Norwich, presided over by Mr. Leamon, of Whitwell. After addresses by a deputation from the “Total Repeal Malt Tax Association,” a committee was appointed to form a district branch of the society in Norfolk.

October 26th 1846

The railways from Lynn to Downham and from Lynn to Narborough were opened on this date.

November 9th 1846

Mr. Jeremiah Colman was elected Mayor, and Mr. Charles Winter appointed Sheriff of Norwich.

November 13th 1846

The London markets were, for the first time, “expressed by electric telegraph” in the NORFOLK CHRONICLE. Discussing the possibilities of “this wonderful medium of communication,” that journal observed: “A division in the House of Commons after any important debate may be communicated at all stations from London to Yarmouth in a few minutes.”

November 16th 1846

The first recorded canary show in Norwich was held on this date, at the Greyhound Inn, Ber Street, when 300 specimens belonging to a canary club were exhibited.

November 24th 1846

A trout, weighing 9½ lbs., was captured in a net near the New Mills, Norwich.

November 27th 1846

The Norwich Corporation delegated their powers to the Watch Committee “to appoint a fire brigade of six men, whose business it will be to attend all fires in Norwich with the Corporation engine, which is to be managed by the brigade exclusively. The men in the daytime are to act as common policemen, and to sleep near the station house, where the engine is kept, each night, that they may be ready in case of alarm.”

December 5th 1846

“The directors of the Norfolk and Eastern Counties Railway, with the view of giving the poorer classes greater facilities, have started a fourth class. The return fare to London is 7s. 6d.”

December 7th 1846

The Wymondham and Dereham Railway was opened for goods traffic. The Bill for the construction of this railway, which was applied for by the Norfolk Company, was strenuously opposed by Norwich traders, who considered that a direct line to Dereham would be to their greater advantage. The Act authorised the Company to make an extension of 22½ miles from Dereham to Wells, with a branch line of 6½ miles to Blakeney, making the total from Wymondham 40½ miles. Messrs. Grissel and Peto were the general contractors, and the electric telegraph was established under the superintendence of the Rev. A. Bath Power. (_See_ February 15th, 1847.)

December 18th 1846

Winter set in with great severity. The Dereham, Swaffham, and Lynn coach was unable to leave Norwich, owing to the great depth of the snow.

December 20th 1846

A fine specimen of the black grouse was shot at Swanton.

December 20th 1846

A riot occurred at Pulham St. Mary Workhouse. The paupers made a preconcerted attack upon the bread store, and were with difficulty driven back by the officials. Thirteen of the ringleaders were committed to Norwich Castle for terms ranging from seven days to two months’ imprisonment. (_See_ January 5th, 1847.)

December 26th 1846

Norwich Theatre opened for the Christmas season with the play of “George Barnwell” and the pantomime “Fortunio.” Mr. Davenport, “in compliance with public feeling,” reduced the prices of admission, which had been raised on his taking over the management.

December 26th 1846

Many of the roads in the country were stated to be “half a yard deep in mud,” and almost impassable. “Heavy goods in large quantities have lately been sent from Norwich to London and from thence to Ipswich by rail, 196 miles, instead of the direct route of 40 miles by road, the rail conveyance being cheaper and quicker. It would be a great advantage in this and other counties if a general Act were passed for widening and levelling the turnpike roads and for laying down tramways on which carriages could be drawn by horses or by engines of small power to the principal railway. Unless some measure of this sort be carried out, the common roads will soon be of little use, and not worth keeping in repair.”