East Dereham, Norfolk Genealogy
Parish History[edit | edit source]
DEREHAM, EAST (St. Nicholas), a market-town and parish, in the union of Mitford and Launditch, hundred of Mitford, W. division of Norfolk, 16 miles (W. N. W.) from Norwich.
East Dereham St Nicholas is an Ancient Parish in the Hingham Deanery of the Diocese of Norwich. There is a large detached bell tower in addition to the church tower.
It is believed that Dereham's name derives from a deer park that existed in the area, although it is known that the town pre-dates the Saxon era. Saint Withburga, the youngest daughter of Anna, King of the East Angles, founded a monastery there in the Seventh century after seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary.
Many of the town's ancient buildings were destroyed in the serious fires that took place in 1581 and 1659. Notable buildings that survived the fire include the Church of Saint Nicholas' and the nearby Bishop Bonner's cottage.
The town lies on the site of a monastery founded by Saint Withburga in the seventh century. A holy well in the town supposedly began to flow when her body was stolen from the town by monks from Ely, who took the remains back to their town.
In the 18th century an attempt was made to turn Dereham into a new Buxton or Bath by building a bath house over Withburga's Well. It was described at the time as a hideous building of brick and plaster and was never popular. In 1880 the local vicar, Reverend Benjamin Armstrong obtained permission to pull the building down. The spring was then protected by iron railings, but fell out of use and became choked with weeds. Since 1950, however, it has been kept clear of weeds—although the railings still prevent access to the waters.
Close examination of the Withburga story will cast doubt on Dereham being the location of the Saint's abode and resting place. The legend states that monks from Ely came 'up the river' at night and stole her body, taking it back to Ely to rest with her sisters, who were already considered saints. A look at a map will prove this to be an impossibility as there is no river connecting Ely with Dereham, although it is possible to navigate a river from Ely to West Dereham.
Until proved otherwise, Dereham continues to be considered the site of Withburga's home and violated grave.
Resources[edit | edit source]
Civil Registration[edit | edit source]
Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.
- Mitford 1837-1938
- East Dereham 1939-1974
Church records[edit | edit source]
Contributor: Include here information for parish registers, Bishop’s Transcripts, non conformist and other types of church records, such as parish chest records. Add the contact information for the office holding the original records. Add links to the Family History Library Catalog showing the film numbers in their collection
Images of the parish registers may be viewed online in Historic Records (formerly Record Search) Norfolk Record Office reference PD 86
Census records[edit | edit source]
Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library.
Poor Law Unions[edit | edit source]
Records of the Mitford and Launditch Poor Law Union1776-1948
Norfolk Record Office C/GP 14
Extent 137 pieces
The following parishes comprised the 1836 union: Bawdeswell, Beeston, Beetley, Billingford, East Bilney, Bintry, Brisley, Bylaugh, Colkirk, Cranworth, East Dereham, Great Dunham, Little Dunham, North Elmham, Elsing, Foxley, Great Fransham, Little Fransham, Garvestone, Gately, Gressenhall, Guist, Hardingham, Hockering, Hoe, Horningtoft, Kempstone, Letton, East Lexham, West Lexham, Litcham, Longham, Lyng, Mattishall, Mattishall Burgh, Mileham, Oxwick with Pattesley, Reymerstone, Rougham, Scarning, Shipdham, Southburgh, Sparham, Stanfield, Swanton Morley, Thuxton, Tittleshall, East Tuddenham, North Tuddenham, Twyford, Weasenham All Saints, Weasenham St Peter, Wellingham, Wendling, Westfield, Whinburgh, Whissonsett, Wood Rising, Worthing, Yaxham.
All fifty parishes of Mitford and Launditch Hundreds were incorporated in 1775 under the terms of An act for the better relief and employment of the poor within the hundreds of Mitford and Launditch, 15 Geo. III, cap. 59. In 1801 the parish of East Dereham separated from the Incorporation, but in 1836 all fifty original parishes plus ten from Eynesford Hundred joined together in a new union. The House of Industry belonging to the old incorporation, built at Gressenhall in 1776-1777, was repaired and altered in 1836 to become the new Union Workhouse. Mitford and Launditch Union Board of Guardians was replaced by Guardians Committee No. 10 in 1930.
Probate records[edit | edit source]
Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Norfolk Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.
Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]
Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.
Web sites[edit | edit source]
http://www.derehambenefice.co.uk/Dereham.html Dereham Benefice website
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~tinstaafl/ for link to Norfolk Baptism Project
Reference[edit | edit source]
- Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of England(1848), pp. 32-46. Date accessed: 19 September, 2013.