January 22nd 1849
Mdlle. Jenny Lind, assisted by Miss Dolby, Signor Belletti, and Signor Marras, gave an evening concert at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, in aid of the charities of the city. On the 23rd she sang at a morning concert in furtherance of the same object. The total receipts amounted to £1,859 11s., and £1,250 remained after the payment of expenses. The services of the famous singer were rendered quite gratuitously. The Mayor (Mr. Bignold) and members of the Corporation waited upon her at the Palace, where she was staying as the guest of Bishop Stanley, and presented to her an address expressive of the thanks of the citizens.
February 2nd 1849
Mr. Michael Beverley, of Forncett St. Mary, a popular sportsman in South Norfolk, was killed whilst hunting with Mr. Fellowes’ hounds at Moulton. He was in his 60th year.
February 4th 1849
Many hundred persons assembled at Bacton Wood Mill, North Walsham, to witness the baptism by immersion in the mill stream of several men and women “who had embraced the faith of Mormonites, or Latter-day Saints.”
February 13th 1849
A public meeting was held at the Guildhall, Norwich, under the presidency of the Mayor, at which resolutions were adopted in favour of a national rate, and condemnatory of the laws of settlement and removal, “which drove the poor to reside in large towns and unjustly limited their field of labour.” Another resolution condemned the gross inequality in the assessments of the various parishes in England and Wales to the relief of the poor. A petition was ordered to be presented to Parliament in accordance with the terms of the resolutions.
February 17th 1849
A severe outbreak of cholera was recorded at Rudham, where twenty-four deaths had occurred up to this date. “Extreme poverty and dirt had much to do with this awful visitation.”
February 27th 1849
The agitation for the repeal of the Malt Tax was re-opened at a meeting of the farmers of West Norfolk, held at the Market Hall, Lynn. It was decided to petition Parliament in favour of the repeal. Many meetings were held with the same object in other parts of the county.
February 28th 1849
Died at Leyton, aged 54, Mr. Charles Fox, engraver. He was a son of Robert Fox, a steward on the Costessey estate, received lessons in drawing from Charles Hodgson, at Norwich, and was apprenticed to Mr. Edwards, engraver, of Bungay. “His exquisite line engravings are well known by those who value the highest specimens of skill in that department and by the lovers of fine English prints.”
March 13th 1849
Elihu Burritt addressed a public meeting at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, in favour of the settlement of national disputes by arbitration instead of by force of arms.
March 20th 1849
The railway from Dereham to Fakenham was opened for passenger and goods traffic.
March 25th 1849
Died at the Grove, Holt, in his 64th year, Major T. A. Girling, formerly of the 5th Fusiliers, with whom he served in the Peninsula War. He was for some years adjutant of the Norfolk Yeomanry Cavalry.
March 29th 1849
At the Norfolk Assizes, before Mr. Baron Rolfe, the trial commenced of James Blomfield Rush for the Stanfield Hall murders. Mr. Serjeant Byles, Mr. Prendergast, and Mr. Evans were counsel for the prosecution, and the prisoner conducted his own defence. The case was opened at nine a.m., and the Court adjourned at seven p.m. On the 30th Emily Sandford gave evidence, and was in the witness-box nine and a half hours. Her examination in chief lasted two hours, and the prisoner subjected her to seven and a half hours’ cross-examination, mostly on irrelevant matters. On the 31st the Court sat from nine a.m. to 7.30 p.m.; and the case for the Crown was completed on Monday, April 2nd. The prisoner commenced his address to the jury shortly after nine o’clock on the morning of the 3rd, and had not concluded when the Court rose at ten minutes to eight o’clock. “It was full of repetitions, and everything material might have been said in a tithe of the time.” The address was resumed at nine a.m. on April 4th, and concluded at twelve o’clock, the prisoner in the two days having spoken nearly fourteen hours. Mr. Serjeant Byles then replied for the Crown. The Judge summed up, the jury, after a few minutes’ consultation, returned a verdict of guilty, and sentence of death was passed. Throughout the trial the Court was densely crowded. The jury were conveyed each night to the Maid’s Head Hotel, where the assembly-room was specially fitted up for their accommodation as a sleeping apartment; and on Sunday, April 1st, they attended morning and afternoon service at the Cathedral, under the escort of the county officials. (_See_ April 21st.)
April 2nd 1849
The garrison steeplechases of the 16th Lancers took place at Stanninghall, near Spixworth.
April 21st 1849
The execution of James Blomfield Rush, for the Stanfield Hall murders, took place on the Castle Hill, Norwich, in the presence of an enormous gathering of spectators. Thousands of persons entered the city by road—“one woman who had been confined only three weeks travelled from the country on foot fourteen miles during the previous night, in order to be present”—and many thousands more were brought in by the trains. Cheap return tickets were issued from London to Norwich, and the persons who availed themselves of the facilities were principally members of the “swell mob.” At Attleborough station the London detectives who travelled by the train transferred the gang to an up-train; several who evaded the police were apprehended immediately on their arrival at Norwich and conveyed to the Police Station, where they remained in custody until after the execution. The culprit was hanged at noon, by Calcraft. “The greatest silence prevailed, the solemn stillness being only broken by the solitary shriek of a woman who had fainted in the crowd.”
May 19th 1849
Major Loftus, commanding Prince Albert’s Own Norfolk Yeomanry Cavalry, announced to the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates, that the Earl of Leicester, as Lord Lieutenant, had advised the authorities that, in consequence of local circumstances, it was expedient to disband the regiment. Major Loftus complained that the Lord Lieutenant would assign “no cause for this unceremonious dismissal.” He added: “My duty is now to give you my last word of command, which is to obey the orders of her Majesty’s Secretary of State and to desire that you deliver up all your arms, clothing, and accoutrements to the respective captains of troops, who are hereby directed to forward the arms and sword belts to Cornet William Freeman, at my store-room at Billingford. And I have to request that your clothing, saddlery, &c., be conveyed to Holkham Hall, when his lordship will have the opportunity of disposing of them as he and Sir George Grey may think proper, for I shall give myself no further trouble in the matter after the ungracious manner in which I have been treated.”
May 20th 1849
A telegram was received at Norwich, announcing that the Queen had been fired at on the previous (Saturday) evening, by an Irishman named John Hamilton. The National Anthem was played at the Cathedral and at most of the parish churches.
May 24th 1849
The Queen’s birthday was celebrated with much rejoicing in Norwich. The Sheriff gave a dinner at St. Andrew’s Hall to the inmates of the Workhouse and Infirmary. The 16th Lancers paraded in the Market Place, and the Corps of Pensioners, under Capt. Cockburn, fired a _feu de joie_. The Mayor entertained a large party at luncheon at the Guildhall, and in the evening gave a dinner at the Assembly Rooms.
May 26th 1849
Died at Montreal, Sir Benjamin D’Urban, Commander of her Majesty’s forces in British North America. He saw much active service during the Peninsula War, and in 1829 became Colonel of the 51st Foot. He was a native of Norfolk, and related to the D’Urban Blythes of Massingham.
May 26th 1849
“One day last week a fine sturgeon, weighing 3 st. 11 lbs., and measuring 5 ft. 9 in. in length, was caught in the river at Northwold, twenty-eight miles from the sea.”
June 5th 1849
The Rev. R. S. Bayley, of Sheffield, the originator and promoter, gave the first of a series of addresses on the aims and work of a new institution in Norwich known as the People’s College. Commodious premises were taken in St. George Colegate, where students were instructed under competent masters.
June 11th 1849
Mountjoy the pedestrian commenced the task of walking from Norwich to Yarmouth and back twice daily for six successive days, and completed it on the 16th.
June 20th 1849
Mr. G. L. Coleman, of Norwich, was presented with a valuable piece of plate, in recognition of his efficient discharge of the duties of the Mayoralty in 1847–8. The presentation was made at a dinner given at the Norfolk Hotel, under the presidency of the Mayor (Mr. Bignold).
June 20th 1849
The demolition of the old Guildhall (or Church Hall) at Yarmouth commenced. The building had been used as a National School.
July 18th 1849
The annual show of the Royal Agricultural Society of England was opened at Norwich. The show ground, which comprised about fifteen acres, was on the old Heath, near Ipswich Road; the trials of implements took place on Mr. Parker’s land at Bixley. H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge attended the show, and during his one night’s stay in the city was the guest of the Mayor. The society’s dinner, attended by 900 noblemen and gentlemen, was held at St Andrew’s Hall on the 19th, under the presidency of the Earl of Chichester. The show, which lasted two days, was visited by 22,000 persons.
July 20th 1849
“A gentleman well known as Champion of the Yare” undertook to row 100 miles in twenty-four hours. He started at 12.35 a.m., and rowed to Beccles Bridge, a distance of 40 miles, and returned to Carrow Bridge; he then pulled down the river to Rockland Dyke, and back, a distance of 20 miles, finishing at 8.28 p.m., and completing the whole distance in 19 hrs. 53 mins. He rowed the last 20 miles under three hours.
July 23rd 1849
Mr. Martin William ffolkes, eldest son of Sir William ffolkes, Bart., of Hillington Hall, whilst fishing at Castle Rising, was killed by lightning. “His hands were not closed, and part of a cigar he had been smoking was in his mouth.”
July 24th 1849
A lecture was given at St. Andrew’s Hall, by Professor Isham Baggs, of the Polytechnic Institution, London, on “The Economy and Philosophy of the Electric Light, and its present and prospective bearing on the vested interests of Gas Companies.” The electric light was shown by the aid of a powerful voltaic battery. It was described as “a light of dazzling lustre and surpassing brilliancy, on which no eye can steadily gaze. The figures on the various paintings in the Hall appeared to start from the canvas, and every living face displayed an almost supernatural brilliancy and expression. The gas seemed extinguished amid the new blaze of light.”
July 27th 1849
Lieut. Gale, R.N., “of Cremorne celebrity,” made a balloon ascent from the Cellar Gardens, Pockthorpe, Norwich, accompanied by Mr. A. W. Pashley, of Harleston, and Mr. Nevey. “There was a second car or fake bottom attached by a rope to the balloon, and when at the altitude of about a mile this was lowered thirty or forty feet. A rope ladder was fixed to it from a trap door in the car, and by that the gallant aeronaut descended into the lower car, from which he discharged shells and other pyrotechnics.” The descent was made in a field near Coldham Hall.
August 23rd 1849
A grand cricket match, between an eleven of All England and twenty of Norfolk commenced on the Norwich Ground. All England, 63-63; Norfolk, 118-11.
August 25th 1849
“Several of those new coins, the florin, have found their way to Norwich. It is a handsome piece of money, but we dislike the un-English name. We also protest against the omission of the words of the old legend intimating that our beloved Queen reigns by ‘the Grace of God,’ and that she is the defender of the faith.”
August 25th 1849
Particulars were given on this date of the marriage of the notorious Lola Montez, “the ex-Countess of Lansfeldt,” with Mr. George Trafford Heald, a lieutenant in the Life Guards, and an owner of considerable landed property at Freebridge Marshland and Walpole St. Peter.
August 28th 1849
The Rev. John Woolley, D.C.L., was elected head master of Norwich Free Grammar School, and on the same day the Rev. Henry Banfather, B.D., the former master, was, on his retirement, presented with a valuable piece of silver plate, subscribed for by the boys and his personal friends.
September 4th 1849
A curious incident occurred at the Assembly Rooms, Norwich, at a lecture given by a Mrs. Hamilton, on “A phrenological analysis of the heads and speeches of three of the speakers at the soirée given on the 16th ult. to celebrate the opening of the People’s College.” The persons referred to were Mr. J. H. Tillett, Mr. Wheeler, and Mr. J. W. Dowson. The lecturer, amid much disturbance, stated that Mr. Tillett had “a large love of approbation, too little veneration, and a large portion of self-esteem”; Mr. Wheeler had “little veneration or philo-progenitiveness”; and Mr. Dowson’s head “showed beautiful Christian development.” Mr. Tillett rose from his seat and described the lecture as “a mass of rhodomontade, as an imposition, as non-conclusive, and as most of it foreign to the subject. He denounced this lecturing on heads, and asked what would be thought if he brought down a phrenologist to lecture on the heads of his opponents?”
September 4th 1849
A balloon ascent was made from the Cavalry Barracks, Norwich, by Mr. Green, accompanied by Mr. Rush, of Elsenham Hall, Essex, “who was desirous of trying some experiments with a new instrument called an aneroid barometer invented by himself, and the first ever made on the new principle.” The balloon descended in a field at West Newton.
September 6th 1849
The death of the Right Rev. Dr. Edward Stanley, Bishop of Norwich, occurred at Brahan Castle, near Dingwall, Ross-shire. The body was conveyed from Invergordon by sea by the steamer Duke of Sutherland, and landed at Yarmouth on the 19th. It arrived at Norwich on the same day, and was deposited in the Palace Chapel, where it lay in state on the 20th, and was interred in the centre of the Cathedral nave on the 21st. “Anthony Sparrow (50th Bishop), ob. 1685, was the last prelate buried in the Cathedral.” Bishop Stanley was the second son of Sir J. T. Stanley, of Alderley, Cheshire, and was born January 1st, 1779. He was elected to the vacant see of Norwich on the death of Bishop Bathurst in 1837. “His lordship was a Liberal in politics, but more of the Whig than the Radical, and although too conciliatory to Dissenters, he, of late years in particular, showed himself devoutedly attached to the Church.” He was Clerk of the Closet to the Queen, President of the Linnean Society, and one of the Commissioners appointed in 1848 to enquire into the state of the British Museum.
September 8th 1849
A meeting of medical practitioners was held at the Guildhall, Norwich, to consider the best means of preventing the spread of cholera. Rooms were hired in different parts of the city for dispensing medicines, and special forms of prayer were used in all the churches and chapels. November 15th, the day appointed for thanksgiving “for deliverance from the scourge which has lately visited this land,” was observed in Norwich by the entire suspension of business. All classes of citizens attended the services held at the Cathedral and the parish churches.
October 2nd 1849
Victoria Gardens, Norwich, for so many generations the popular resort of the citizens, were dismantled on this date, when Mr. William Wilde, auctioneer, sold “the ranges of drinking boxes, seats and tables, the scenery, fittings, and machinery in the theatre, the fittings, benches, &c., in the circus and saloon, the materials of the firework house, the porter bar, cake-room, &c.” The sale was held by order of the directors of the Eastern Union Railway Company, who had acquired the property as the site for their Norwich terminus.
October 3rd 1849
Mr. Joseph Hume, M.P., Sir Joshua Walmisley, M.P., Mr. George Thompson, M.P., Mr. J. H. Parry, Mr. Feargus O’Connor, M.P., and other members of the National Reform Association, addressed a large meeting held at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, under the auspices of the local branch of the association. Mr. J. H. Tillett presided.
October 22nd 1849
Madame Sontag, Signor Calzobari, Signor Bolletti, Signor F. Lablache, and M. Thalberg appeared at a grand concert given at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich. A second performance took place on the 23rd.
October 22nd 1849
A public meeting was held at the Independent chapel, Diss, for the purpose of hearing statements from Mr. James Everett respecting the expulsion of himself and Messrs. Dunn and Griffith from the Wesleyan Conference. On the 24th a similar meeting was held at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, when resolutions were passed condemnatory of the action of the Conference and expressive of sympathy with the expelled ministers. The agitation was continued until June 22nd, 1850, on the 19th of which month another meeting took place at St. Andrew’s Hall, at which the Wesleyan Reformers uttered “violent tirades against the Conference, the Missionary Committee, and other ruling bodies of Wesleyanism.” In December, 1850, a series of disturbances occurred at Lenwade, where the services of the chapel were stopped and the preacher, the Rev. C. Povah, assaulted with stones and burnt in effigy. Magisterial proceedings at Reepham were followed by an application in the Court of Chancery for an injunction to restrain certain persons from interrupting Mr. Povah and other ministers in the performance of religious worship at the Wesleyan chapel, Cawston. The affidavits read disclosed a number of gross outrages upon the ministers, extending over the period of six months. Issue of the injunction was stayed upon the defendants entering into an undertaking not to disturb or molest the plaintiffs in the exercise of their duties.
October 26th 1849
Immense quantities of fish were caught off Yarmouth. The herring boats had from 100,000 to 200,000 fish on board. Cartloads of fish were taken to Norwich and sold at the following rates:—Fresh herring, 10 for one penny; boaters, 25 for sixpence; cod, one penny per pound; soles, from three halfpence to twopence per pair.
October 30th 1849
Died at Quidenham Hall, the Earl of Albemarle. Born on May 14th, 1772, he married, on April 9th, 1792, the Hon. Elizabeth Southwell, four years his junior, who became the mother of sixteen children. Mr. T. W. Coke, though old enough to be Lord Albemarle’s father, became his son-in-law in 1822, when he espoused Lady Anne Keppel. His lordship married secondly, on February 11th, 1822, Charlotte Susannah, daughter of Sir Henry Hunloke, Bart.
November 5th 1849
Downham Market was lighted with gas for the first time. The event was celebrated by a dinner at the Queen’s Head and by other rejoicings.
November 6th 1849
The Oddfellows of the Norwich District, to the number of 700, dined at St. Andrew’s Hall, under the presidency of Mr. W. M. Kitton.
November 7th 1849
The Norwich extension railway of the Eastern Union line, completing the communication with London _via_ Ipswich, Colchester, and Chelmsford, was opened on this date. It was part of the plan of the Eastern Union Company, whose Act for making the railway from Ipswich to Colchester was obtained in 1844. The line was commenced in 1845, and opened on June 11th, 1846. In 1845 another Act was passed for making a railway from Ipswich to Bury St. Edmund’s, and in 1846 an Act was obtained for making the Ipswich and Norwich extension. In the latter year an Act was also passed for the amalgamation of the Eastern Union and the Ipswich and Bury Railway Companies, and by the two united the Norwich line was constructed. Mr. Locke was the engineer-in-chief, Mr. Bruff the resident engineer, and Messrs. Mackenzie and Brassey the contractors. The first train, conveying 550 ladies and gentlemen, the guests of the directors, started from the station (“constructed in part out of the old Pantheon”), and proceeded to Stowmarket, where refreshments were served. Trains from Bury, Colchester, and Ipswich brought 600 more passengers, and the three trains uniting ran to Norwich, where they arrived at 4.30, the band of the 16th Lancers playing the travellers into the city. A dinner took place at St. Andrew’s Hall, under the presidency of the Mayor (Mr. Bignold), and the Sheriff (Mr. Chamberlin) gave a ball in the evening, at the Assembly Rooms. The line was opened for the conveyance of cattle and goods on December 3rd, and of passengers on December 12th.
November 9th 1849
Mr. Henry Woodcock was elected Mayor, and Mr. James Colman appointed Sheriff of Norwich. Mr. Bignold reminded the Council that when he took the office of Mayor a distinct assurance was given that there was to be a retention of the system of alternate Whig and Tory Mayors and Sheriffs. He would not have accepted office but for that assurance.
December 2nd 1849
The consecration of the Rev. Dr. S. Hinds, Bishop-elect of Norwich, took place at Lambeth Palace. His lordship was installed at Norwich Cathedral on January 24th, 1850.
December 2nd 1849
Intelligence was received of the death of the Queen Dowager. The day of the funeral, December 13th, was observed in Norwich by the partial closing of the shops.
December 20th 1849
Died at Hampstead, the Ven. Philip Jennings, Archdeacon of Norfolk, aged 66. He was presented to his office in 1847 by Bishop Stanley.
December 27th 1849
A severe gale from the N.N.W., a heavy fall of snow, and a high tide prevented railway communication with Yarmouth. The line was under water for a considerable distance. The trains on the lines to London were delayed by deep snowdrifts. An omnibus was run between Norwich and Yarmouth for the conveyance of passengers. “The people on the road stared with wonderment on seeing the six-in-hand drawing the ponderous vehicle through the snow.”