January 5th 1861
At the annual meeting of the Norfolk Agricultural Association, held at the Swan Hotel, Norwich, Mr. Clare Sewell Read moved that the annual show for 1861 be held at East Dereham, instead of at Swaffham. This effort to abolish the system of holding the exhibitions alternately at Norwich and Swaffham was defeated by 19 votes to 15.
January 6th 1861
The frost continued with unusual intensity, and on this day snowstorms, which covered the ground to the depth of twelve inches, occurred. On the 10th a public meeting was held at Norwich, under the presidency of the Mayor (Mr. W. J. Utten Browne), at which a fund was inaugurated to relieve the distresses of the poor. In a few days the sum of £4,139 12s. 11d. was subscribed. The river was frozen from Norwich to Yarmouth, and on the 16th a large party of ladies and gentlemen assembled on the ice on Breydon and “skated” quadrilles. The frost continued for more than five weeks, during the whole of which period the ground was covered with snow.
January 11th 1861
Walsingham Quarter Sessions were held for the last time. Sir Willoughby Jones, who presided, informed the Grand Jury that the Sessions would be removed part to Swaffham and part to Norwich, “on account of the expenses being so great in proportion to the number of prisoners for trial.” On March lst the Bridewell ceased to be used as a house of correction, and the prisoners were removed to Norwich Castle.
January 16th 1861
Died, aged 85, Mr. Kinnebrook, for many years a proprietor of the “Norwich Mercury.”
January 18th 1861
Died, in his 60th year, Mr. Thomas Lound, for 35 years confidential clerk at King Street Old Brewery, Norwich. “As an artist, but principally as a painter in water-colours, he had maintained a high reputation for many years. The local river and rural scenery afforded materials for a large proportion of his works. He occasionally painted street scenes and monastic ruins, and of late years he made excursions into Wales and Yorkshire, bringing home with him a vast variety of subjects.” In addition to his own collection, he left many water-colour drawings by Bright, Thirtle, Cox, and others, some of them of considerable value.
January 26th 1861
At Norwich Castle, James Blomfield Rush, aged 30, “eldest son of _the_ Rush,” was committed for trial on the charge of breaking into the dwelling-house of Mr. Abraham Cannell, farmer, Cringleford, on the night of January 12th. At the Norfolk Assizes, on March 27th, before Chief Baron Pollock, the prisoner was acquitted. At subsequent dates he was twice acquitted for housebreaking, but at the Norfolk Quarter Sessions on March 11th, 1862, was sentenced to four years’ penal servitude for breaking into a house at North Tuddenham.
February 13th 1861
In the Court of Queen’s Bench, before the Lord Chief Justice and a special jury, an action was brought by Mr. Costerton, solicitor, of Yarmouth, against Sir Edmund Lacon, M.P., for a scandalous attack made upon the plaintiff by the defendant in the course of an election speech. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff, damages 40s.
February 25th 1861
Judgment was given by the Barons of the Exchequer in the cause Morant _v._ Chamberlin. It was an action between the Corporation of Yarmouth and Mr. G. D. Palmer, who claimed a right to a portion of the south end of the public quays. Judgment was for the plaintiff, damages £5 5s. “This decision thus settles this long-pending dispute, now nearly three years from its commencement, and decides the right of the Corporation to the soil of the quays and the right of the public to the free use of the same without any of the inconveniences which for so long a time prevented the proper enjoyment of the part in dispute. The verdict gives the plaintiffs the costs of this heavy litigation, except on two unimportant issues. The defendant will have to pay somewhere about £2,800.”
March 16th 1861
On this date was published the announcement that the First Norfolk Mounted Rifle Volunteer Corps had been attached to the City of Norwich Rifle Volunteer Corps for administrative purposes. The mounted corps, which numbered 50, was commanded by Capt. F. Hay Gurney. The uniform consisted of scarlet tunic with blue facings, white cross belt, white breeches, and Napoleon boots. The head-dress was a busby with blue bag; the forage-cap was blue trimmed with white.
March 16th 1861
Intelligence was received at Norwich of the death, of the Duchess of Kent. On the 17th (Sunday) special references were made to the melancholy event at the religious services in the city, and at intervals the age of the deceased was tolled upon the muffled bells of the Cathedral and St. Peter Mancroft church. The Town Council, on April 5th, adopted an address of sympathy with the Queen.
March 16th 1861
The Surlingham estate was sold by Messrs. Butcher, at the Royal Hotel, Norwich, for £16,895.
March 26th 1861
At the Norfolk Assizes, before Chief Baron Pollock and a special jury, was tried the libel action, Cufaude _v._ Cory. The plaintiff and defendant had taken different sides at the election of a vestry clerk at Yarmouth, and the libel was contained in a handbill issued during the contest by the defendant, who referred to the printed statement of the income and expenditure of the Guardians, to which body the plaintiff was clerk, as “cooked,” and left the sum of £779 unaccounted for. The special jury returned a verdict for plaintiff, damages £500. In the Court of Queen’s Bench, on April 17th, Mr. Lush moved for a rule to set aside the verdict, on the ground of excessive damages. A rule was granted. Mr. Cufaude subsequently consented to a reduction of damages from £500 to £300, “much against the advice of his counsel.”
April 2nd 1861
The High Sheriff of Norfolk (Mr. J. T. Mott) delivered a lecture at Noverre’s Rooms, Norwich, on “The Paston Letters.”
April 10th 1861
The 10th Hussars Steeplechases took place at Crostwick.
April 23rd 1861
A vessel, named the Harmony, built by Messrs. Fellows and Son, of Yarmouth, for the Moravian mission in Labrador, was launched.
May 18th 1861
The census returns were published on this date. In Norwich the number of inhabited houses was 17,012; uninhabited, 786; building, 97. The population consisted of 33,717 males, and 40,697 females; total, 74,414.
May 20th 1861
A serious military riot took place at Yarmouth, between men of the Royal Artillery and of the East Norfolk Militia. Belts and stones were freely used. A party of 200 Artillerymen, armed with swords and knives, issued from the arsenal, and were going to the assistance of their comrades, when Mr. R. Steward, by persuasion and threats, kept the greater portion from proceeding further. Officers of both corps exerted themselves to quell the disturbance, and strong pickets were stationed at the bridge, to prevent the Artillery from entering Yarmouth and the Militia from crossing to Southtown.
June 13th 1861
The Norwich Grammar School athletic sports were held for the first time.
June 18th 1861
A memorial was presented to the Norwich Town Council, by farmers, graziers, dealers, &c., praying the Corporation to enlarge the Cattle Market. The Market Committee recommended the Council to adopt in its entirety a plan for executing the work, at a cost not exceeding £20,000. This scheme involved the demolition of the notorious locality known as Pump Street.
June 20th 1861
Mr. and Mrs. Ringer, of Walcot Green, near Diss, left their house in charge of a servant, named Susan Garrod, and on their return in the evening found her suffering from several gunshot wounds in the head and face, inflicted by a man named Charles Sheldrake, a returned convict, employed as a groom and gardener by Mr. Ringer. Sheldrake, after committing the deed, secreted himself in a wood. On being called on by the police to surrender, he placed the muzzle of a double-barrelled gun to his mouth and blew out his brains. At the inquest the jury returned a verdict of _felo de se_, and the Coroner gave a warrant for the interment of the body between the hours of nine and twelve o’clock. “The body was accordingly buried at ten o’clock at night, under one of the paths in the churchyard.”
June 24th 1861
The London Royal English Opera Company commenced a week’s engagement at Norwich Theatre. The repertory included “four new successful operas never before performed in Norwich,” namely, Balfe’s “The Rose of Castille,” Loder’s “The Night Dancers,” Macfarren’s “Robin Hood,” and Balfe’s “Satanella, or the Power of Love.” In addition to the above-named works, “Il Trovatore,” “Martha,” and “Maritana” were produced. The _artistes_ included Miss Fanny Ternan, Miss Bronte, Miss Angel, Miss Fanny Reeves, Mr. Edmund Rosenthal, Mr. J. Manley, Mr. E. D. Corri, Mr. Oliver Summers, and Mr. Elliott Galer. Mr. W. Meyer Lutz was the conductor. The performances received very inadequate public support. The company revisited Norwich for six nights, commencing on September 9th.
June 24th 1861
Herr Kolisch, the celebrated chess-player, contested, at the Rampant Horse Hotel, Norwich, 13 games simultaneously against some of the best players in the neighbourhood. He won eight games, lost three, and two were drawn.
June 28th 1861
Died, at Feniton Court, Devonshire, the Right Hon. Sir John Patteson. The second son of the Rev. Henry Patteson, and nephew of Mr. John Patteson, who for some time represented Norwich in Parliament, he was born in that city on February 11th, 1790. He was educated at Eton and King’s College, Cambridge, and, after talking his degree, removed to London and entered at the Middle Temple. On being called to the Bar, he went the Northern Circuit. “He had been only nine years a barrister, he had not a silk gown, he had never led a cause or once addressed a jury,” when he was appointed to the Queen’s Bench, and from that time to February 11th, 1852, continued to discharge the duties of his high office with a reputation for industry, learning, and integrity.
July 20th 1861
“The first number of the NORFOLK CHRONICLE was published on the 18th of July, 1761. We are, therefore, as journalists, exactly 100 years old. . . . The difference between the newspapers of the last and present century is, perhaps, more conspicuous in the quantity of space occupied than in any other respect, and the present sheet is at least four times the size of our first publication.”
July 27th 1861
“The repairs at St. Gregory’s church, Norwich, the interior of which has been undergoing general restoration, have brought to light an interesting fresco, representing the renowned fight between St. George and the Dragon, a subject which has a local association, St. George being the titular saint of the city and patron of a once flourishing civic company. The painting, which, in all probability, is of a date of the middle of the fifteenth century, was discovered on the removal of the organ at the west end of the north aisle, for the purpose of cleaning the wall. The figures are life-size, and the colours and drawing exceedingly good.”
July 27th 1861
At the Norfolk Assizes, before Chief Justice Erle and a special jury, a libel action, Lane _v._ the Yarmouth Free Press and Printing Company, Limited, was tried. Damages were laid at £300. The declaration alleged that the defendants published in a paper called the “Yarmouth Independent,” certain reflections upon the plaintiff in his capacity as collector of market tolls. The defendants contended that, at the request of and by agreement with the plaintiff, they had inserted in the newspaper a paragraph explaining the alleged libel, and had exonerated him from the imputations made against his character, and plaintiff had accepted it as satisfaction. The case ended with the withdrawal of a juror.
August 1st 1861
Died at the residence of his son-in-law, 48, Elgin Crescent, Notting Hill, in his 84th year, Philip John Money, formerly captain of the 17th Regiment. He was a magistrate of Norwich, and served the office of Mayor in 1839.
August 2nd 1861
The celebrated tight-rope walker, Blondin, made his first appearance at Norwich. The rope was fixed at an altitude of about 60 feet, in a field on Newmarket Road. “It is a very fortunate circumstance for M. Blondin that he crossed Niagara and had the Prince of Wales for a spectator, for it has added a much greater interest to has performances than they would otherwise have acquired, and even, if we may judge from what we saw here, they deserved.”
August 4th 1861
Mr. Edward Casson, aged 33, medical superintendent of the County Lunatic Asylum at Thorpe St. Andrew, committed suicide by poisoning himself.
August 8th 1861
Holy Trinity church, Norwich, was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of the Diocese. “The ceremony should have taken place three weeks previously, but at the eleventh hour the Bishop requested that a capital fund of about £300 should be provided prior to the consecration. As the committee were then about £1,000 in debt, it was felt to be indiscreet to increase their risk, and consequently it was determined to delay the opening of the church until they had received nearly all that they required. In less than three weeks more than £1,200 had been subscribed out of the £1,300 then supposed to be needed.” The consecration was attended by the Mayor (Mr. W. J. Utten Browne) and several members of the Corporation.
August 29th 1861
A troop of the 15th Hussars left Norwich, _en route_ to York; the remainder of the regiment marched on September 3rd.
September 12th 1861
A great review of the whole of the Volunteer Companies in the county and city, with the Norwich Mounted Volunteers and the Yarmouth Artillery, was held at Holkham Park, by Major-General Sir Archdale Wilson, Bart., K.C.B. This was the first occasion on which the corps had been brigaded since their formation. The review was fixed for eleven o’clock, but in consequence of a breakdown in the railway arrangements, and the consequent detention of companies on their way to the _rendezvous_, the parade was not formed until 2.15 p.m. The troops numbered upwards of 1,700, and were divided into two brigades, commanded respectively by Lieut.-Col. Custance and Major the Hon. F. Walpole, West Norfolk Militia. The railway company displayed the same incompetency in conveying the corps from Holkham as in taking them there, and the Norwich men did not reach the city until six o’clock on the morning of the 13th.
September 28th 1861
The headquarters of the 5th Dragoon Guards arrived at Norwich Cavalry Barracks, from Aldershot. “It is known in the service as the ‘Green Horse,’ being the only cavalry regiment which wears green facings.”
October 13th 1861
Died, Sir William Cubitt, the eminent engineer. Born in Norfolk, in 1785, he was apprenticed to a joiner, and, becoming a very superior handicraftsman, he rapidly took a prominent position as a maker of agricultural implements. Within a short time he became a millwright, and about 1807 invented self-regulating windmill sails, and ultimately became connected with Messrs. Ransome and Son, of Ipswich. He was the inventor also of the treadmill for gaols and houses of correction. His reputation increasing his engagements, it became necessary for him to remove to the Metropolis in 1826, and after that period there was scarcely a port, harbour, dock, navigable river, or canal in the United Kingdom with which he was not in some way engaged. The South-Eastern Railway from London to Dover was designed and executed by him. He undertook the bold project of blowing away the face of the Round Down cliff, which he successfully executed by exploding 18,000 lbs. of gunpowder in one blast, and precipitated one million tons of chalk cliff into the sea. The great landing-stage at Liverpool, the deck of which was nearly one acre in extent, was a unique example of his work. As consulting engineer of the Great Northern Railway, he materially contributed to the production of one of the best lines in England. One of his last public works was the superintendence of the construction of the palace for the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park in 1851, which he undertook at the pressing instance of his coadjutors on the Royal Commission, and his services were recognised in a marked manner by the Queen and the Prince Consort.
October 22nd 1861
The Mayor of Norwich (Mr. W. J. Utten Browne) delivered a lecture to the members of the parochial library, Lakenham, on “The Times of King Charles the First.”
October 24th 1861
Died, suddenly, of apoplexy, at his residence, West Parade, Earlham Road, Norwich, in his 46th year, Mr. Edward Garrod, editor of the NORFOLK CHRONICLE.
October 28th 1861
Charles Dickens gave the former of two readings at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich. The work selected was “David Copperfield.” On the 29th he read “Nicholas Nickleby at Mr. Squeer’s School,” and the Trial scene from the “Pickwick Papers.” “Our opinion is,” the NORFOLK CHRONICLE remarked, “that Mr. Dickens as a reader fails to do justice to himself as an author.”
November 6th 1861
Norwich Theatre was opened, under the management of Mr. George Owen. Mr. Sidney, however, retained the lesseeship.
November 8th 1861
Died at Hingham, in her 100th year, Mrs. Rebecca Houchen.
November 9th 1861
The new Corn Hall at Norwich was opened for business. The contractors for the building were Messrs. Ling and Balls, of Norwich, and for the roof Messrs. Barnard, Bishop, and Barnards. The total cost was about £8,000. The work was executed from the designs of Mr. Barry, of Norwich, and Mr. H. Butcher, of 37, Bedford Row, London; and the roofs were adapted and carried into detail from the design of the architects by Mr. E. A. Cowper, C.E., of Westminster. The first brick of the new building was laid on May 1st, 1861.
November 9th 1861
Mr. John Oddin Taylor was elected Mayor, and Mr. Addison John Cresswell appointed Sheriff of Norwich.
November 10th 1861
Died at North Runcton Rectory, in his 85th year, the Rev. James Cumming, M.A., professor of chemistry in the University of Cambridge, to which office he was elected in 1815. He was a Fellow of Trinity College, and had held the living of North Runcton for more than forty years.
November 22nd 1861
In the Court of the Lords Justices in Lincoln’s Inn, a petition was presented by Major-General Charles Ash Windham, Capt. Windham, the Marquis of Bristol, Lord Alfred Hervey, M.P., Lord Listowel, and others, praying that a writ _de lunatico inquirendo_ might issue against William Frederick Windham. In support of the petition, affidavits were read which alleged a variety of eccentricities and extravagances on the part of William Frederick Windham, and laid great stress upon a marriage he had contracted with one Agnes Ann Rogers, better known by the name of Agnes Willoughby. The judges, after hearing the affidavits on the other side, considered that a _prima facie_ case had been made out, and allowed the prayer of the petition. On December 4th, in the Vice-Chancellor’s Court, a motion was heard for the committal of Mr. James Bowen May for contempt of court, in having, during the infancy of William Frederick Windham, and without the knowledge of his guardian or the sanction of the Court, drawn or sided and abetted in drawing the said William Frederick Windham into a promise of marriage with Agues Rogers or Willoughby, in which promises had been made of settlements or dispositions of his property in her favour. The motion was refused, with costs. On December 11th the Court of Chancery granted leave to William Frederick Windham to raise as a mortgage charge on his property the sum of £2,000, in order that he might defend himself before the Commission. The Commission held its first sitting in the Court of Exchequer, Westminster, on December 16th, under the presidency of Mr. Samuel Warren, Q.C., one of the Masters in Lunacy. Mr. Windham was the only son of Mr. Howe Windham, who died in 1854, and the great-grandson of Mr. Windham, the great politician. He became of age on August 9th, 1861, when he succeeded to the Felbrigg Hall estate, worth upwards of £1,200 a year, and to other properties in which he had a life interest, and which, in the year 1869, would yield him £9,000 a year more. During his minority he was under the guardianship of his uncle, General Windham, and of his mother, Lady Sophia Hervey. He married a woman of loose character, upon whom he bestowed jewellery of the value of £1,200 or £1,400, and upon whom he settled a present annuity of £800, with a further annuity of £1,500 contingent upon his coming in to the whole of his property in 1869. It was also alleged that he sold, in a wild and reckless way, and upon terms of the utmost disadvantage, the whole of the timber, ornamental as well as useful, on the Felbrigg estate. The inquiry lasted thirty-four days, and upwards of 150 witnesses were examined. It is said to have cost something like £160 per hour, or nearly £3 per minute, for all the leading talent of the Bar of England was engaged in the case. On January 30th, 1862, the jury returned the following verdict: “That the said Mr. William Frederick Windham, at the time of taking this inquisition, was a person of sound mind, so as to be sufficient for the government of himself, his manners, his messuages, his lands, his tenements, his goods, and his chattels.” The moment the verdict was uttered a loud and enthusiastic cheer rose from the audience, and was repeated again and again. When Mr. Windham left the Court he was received outside with the shouts of an admiring crowd, who almost carried him to the cab in which he drove away, amid a deafening cheer. In the Court of Equity, on April 23rd, 1862, the Lords Justices refused to exonerate the alleged lunatic from the payment of the whole of the costs, amounting to £20,000, consequent upon the enquiry.
November 30th 1861
“The portrait of Mr. J. H. Gurney, M.P., President of the Norfolk and Norwich Museum, has this week been placed on the walls of that institution. It was painted by F. Grant, R.A., at the cost of 200 guineas.”
December 7th 1861
Died, in his 73rd year, Mr. Charles Turner, who was Sheriff of Norwich in 1824, elected Alderman in 1832, and was Mayor in 1834. He was the last Mayor who served the full term of office under the old Corporation.
December 9th 1861
A six miles race for £50 was run at the Green Hill Gardens, Norwich, between Deerfoot, the celebrated Seneca Indian, Brighten, the “Norwich Milk Boy,” and Long, of Middlesbrough. This was one of the so-called matches run during a provincial tour by these pedestrians. Deerfoot wore his Indian costume, decorated with shells and feathers. He stood 5 ft. 11 in., was of muscular frame, but not well knitted, and his limbs were long and loose, contrasting badly with the neat, compact figure of the “Milk Boy.” Among the spectators of the “match,” which was, of course, won by the Indian, were the Duke of Wellington and Sir Samuel Bignold.
December 15th 1861
Intelligence was received in Norwich of the death of the Prince Consort. Early on the following morning (Monday) the Mayor requested the citizens to partially close their business establishments until after the funeral. On the day of the funeral (December 23rd), business was entirely suspended, and the Mayor and Corporation, accompanied by the Rifle Volunteers, attended service at the Cathedral. The Nonconformist bodies held a united service at St. Andrew’s Hall, at which the Rev. John Alexander delivered an address. Addresses of condolence with the Queen were voted by the Norwich Town Council, on December 30th, and by a county meeting, held at the Shirehall, under the presidency of the High Sheriff (Mr. J. T. Mott), on January 18th, 1862.
December 26th 1861
Mr. George Owen produced the Christmas pantomime, “Puss in Boots,” at the Theatre Royal, Norwich; and Mander’s Royal Menagerie was exhibited on the Castle Meadow. The African “lion tamer,” Maccomo, whilst performing at the latter show, on the 28th, was severely attacked by a young lion, and narrowly escaped with his life.