The Foxearth and District Local History Society
1845 Norfolk Chronicle newspaper Selections

January 5th 1845

The Rev. Charles Chapman, who was elected vicar of the parish on November 5th, 1832, preached his farewell sermon at St. Peter Mancroft church, Norwich. The Rev. Thomas Wilson, M.A., was elected to the vacant living.

January 7th 1845

At Norwich Quarter Sessions, before the Recorder (Mr. Isaac Jermy), John Dover, the notorious Chartist leader, was found guilty of receiving stolen silk, &c., the property of William Martin and others, and sentenced to fourteen years’ transportation.

January 13th 1845

Cooke’s Royal Circus was opened at the Amphitheatre, Victoria Gardens, Norwich. During the season various “horse spectacles,” pantomimes, farces, and burlettas were produced.

January 18th 1845

Died at his house near St. Giles’ Gates, Norwich, Mr. James Bennett, a man of great scientific attainments. By trade a watchmaker, “he invented an instrument for performing the operation of the trepan, which was mentioned with much praise by Sir Astley Cooper in his lectures, and ever afterwards used by that distinguished surgeon. He was the first man who made an electrical machine in Norwich. To different societies he sent original contributions, and presented articles of value, particularly the splendid anatomical preparations of the late Mr. Stevenson, veterinary surgeon, Castle Meadow, which were given to a museum in London. He took great interest in witnessing surgical operations, and could dissect an eye very beautifully. He was an adept at music and drawing, and was one of the original members of the Hall Concert.” Mr. Bennett served the office of Sheriff in 1826, and by virtue of seniority was “Father of the Common Council.” He was the oldest surviving “brother” of the intellectual and benevolent confraternity, the College of United Friars, and was for many years a member of the Castle Corporation.

January 25th 1845

The NORFOLK CHRONICLE published the results of an inquiry into the state of the manufactures of Norwich, and in its comments stated: “Norwich has lost its former prominence as a manufacturing city, partly in consequence of the high price of coals compared with the North and West, and partly from improvements in machinery being tardily introduced. We regret that while 8,000 persons are employed in or connected with our factories and mills, a large number are constantly without work, and this is likely to be the state of things for some time to come.”

January 26th 1845

On this date occurred the highest tide ever recorded at Yarmouth. The depth of water on the bar was 19 ft. 6 in. A severe gale prevailed, and several vessels were in distress. The Phœnix yawl, which went out to the assistance of a brig stranded on the north end of the Scroby Sand, was lost, and seven of her crew drowned.

February 19th 1845

Died at his residence, Northrepps Hall, Cromer, Sir T. Fowell Buxton, Bart. He was in his 59th year.

February 23rd 1845

Died at St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich, Mr. Thomas Stannard, engraver, aged 55.

February 24th 1845

The Hon. W. B. Baring, M.P., who had accepted the office of Paymaster to the Forces, was re-elected without opposition member for the borough of Thetford.

February 28th 1845

Mr. Samuel Lover, author of “Rory O’More” and other Irish tales, gave, at the Assembly Rooms, Norwich, his “Irish Evening, illustrative of the national characteristics, legends, superstitions, mirth, and melody of his country, entitled, ‘Paddy by Land and Sea.’” The entertainment was repeated on the 29th.

February 28th 1845

At an inquest held at Costessey, by Mr. Pilgrim, one of the County Coroners, upon the exhumed body of a woman named Jane Mary Lovett, who was alleged to have died in childbirth, in consequence of improper treatment by a medical man named Gaches, a verdict of manslaughter was returned. Mr. Gaches contrived to escape from the custody of Inspector Barrett, concealed himself in the park, and ultimately absconded from the neighbourhood. He was re-arrested on March 29th, in a railway carriage at Shoreditch, and at his trial at the Norfolk Assizes on April 8th the jury, by direction of Mr. Justice Patteson, returned a verdict of not guilty.

March 5th 1845

Died at his residence in the Upper Close, Norwich, Dr. Warner Wright, aged 70. He was founder of the Norwich Dispensary, and in 1804 was chosen a physician of the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, a position which he resigned in 1840. For many years he was visiting physician to the Norfolk County Lunatic Asylum, and to the Norwich Bethel, and was placed upon the commission of the peace for the city in 1836.

March 12th 1845

John Tawell, indicted at Aylesbury Assizes for the murder of Sarah Hart, at Salt Hill, by poisoning her, came of a respectable Norfolk family. “Augustus Metcalfe, who served the office of Mayor of Norwich in 1716, was the maternal grandfather of Tawell’s father. Thomas Tawell, uncle of John Tawell’s father, served the office of Sheriff of Norwich in 1723, and died during his shrievalty. Tawell’s father was a shopkeeper, and had resided in several places in the neighbourhood of Norwich.” The convict, who was a Quaker, was executed on March 28th.

March 15th 1845

“The frost has now continued, with few intermissions, for eighteen weeks, a longer period than has been remembered for the last thirty years.”

March 19th 1845

A meeting of the principal inhabitants was held at the Guildhall, Norwich, under the presidency of the Mayor (Sir William Foster), “to determine on the steps to be taken for arresting the progress of the epidemic diseases so extensively prevailing, and for mitigating the sufferings of the afflicted poor.” It was stated that between 1,500 and 1,600 persons had been attacked by small-pox, measles, scarlet fever, and typhus. The attention of the authorities was directed to the insanitary condition of the city, and a fund was started for cleansing and disinfecting the houses of the poor.

March 26th 1845

Sir James Graham’s Bill for the amendment of the Law of Settlement was considered at a public meeting held at the Guildhall, Norwich. Disapproval of the measure was expressed. The Court of Guardians and other public bodies passed resolutions in opposition to the Bill, which was received unfavourably in other parts of the county.

March 29th 1845

“A salmon trout, measuring 23 inches in length and weighing 5 lbs., has been taken while fishing for pike in the river Wensum, near Hellesdon.”

April 1st 1845

Died at Winfarthing, aged 80, Mr. Philip G. Browne. “He was author of ‘The History of Norwich,’ &c., &c., and was parish clerk of Winfarthing for upwards of fifty years.”

April 7th 1845

At Norwich Assizes, before Mr. Baron Parke, George William Wilson, formerly cashier of the Norwich Court of Guardians, was charged with embezzling various sums, amounting to £1,245, the property of that body. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty. A further charge of stealing a book belonging to the Guardians was deferred to the Summer Assizes, on which occasion no evidence was offered, and the prisoner was discharged.

April 7th 1845

At the Norfolk Assizes, before Mr. Justice Patteson, Robert Richard Royal, James Barnard Hall, and James Mapes were indicted for the murder of Harriet Candler, at Yarmouth, on November 18th, 1844. The principal witness was a man named Samuel Yarham, who had turned Queen’s evidence. The jury acquitted the prisoners. (_See_ March 27th, 1846.)

April 8th 1845

Bawdeswell church was consecrated by the Bishop of Norwich. The church became dilapidated in 1740, but a portion of the ruined building was fitted with pews and used until 1843, when it was found necessary to rebuild the church, at the cost of £1,400. Mr. J. Brown, of Norwich, was the architect, Mr. William Gillham, of Rainham, contractor, and Mr. Francis Cushing, of North Walsham, sub-contractor.

April 14th 1845

The east wall of the chancel of St. Julian’s church, Norwich, fell with a tremendous crash, which greatly alarmed the neighbourhood. The church was re-opened on January 18th, 1846.

April 19th 1845

The foundation-stone of the new church of St. John, King’s Lynn, was laid by the Bishop of Norwich. The building was consecrated by his lordship on September 24th, 1846.

April 21st 1845

Died at his official residence, Woolwich, Colonel Sir George C. Hoste, C.B. He was the third son of the Rev. Dixon Hoste, rector of Tittleshall, and was gazetted lieutenant in the Royal Engineers on December 20th, 1802. He was attached to the expedition to the Mediterranean commanded by General Sir J. Craig, and was present at the battle of Maida, and distinguished himself on other occasions in Sicily, Egypt, and Calabria. He was employed in the two attacks on Antwerp in 1813, and gained the rank of brevet-major for the skill and gallantry which he displayed in leading the Guards at the storming of Bergen-op-Zoom. At the battle of Waterloo he was attached to the corps led by the Prince of Orange, and was subsequently upon the personal staff of the Duke of Wellington. For his services during this campaign he received the distinction of C.B.

April 26th 1845

At a meeting of the Norfolk and Norwich Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, held at the Shirehall, Norwich, Mr. J. J. Gurney called attention to a new form of life-preserver made and presented to the society by a reporter of the NORFOLK CHRONICLE. “It consists of a linen jacket covered with oblong pieces of cork. The head is put through a circle, and the jacket falls down at the back and the front of the person wearing it, leaving the arms perfectly free, being suspended from the shoulders and strapped round the body. There is a semi-circular thick cork collar in front and coming under the chin, so that the jacket is not only calculated to keep any person afloat in the water, but also to keep his head at a sufficient elevation. It was agreed that the jacket should become the property of the society.”

May 2nd 1845

An appalling loss of life was occasioned at Yarmouth by the fall of the Suspension Bridge, which had been the subject of so much litigation between Mr. Cory and the Yarmouth and Norwich Railway Company. A clown named Nelson, belonging to Cooke’s Equestrian Circus, had announced that he would perform the feat of sailing in a tub drawn by four geese from the old Draw Bridge to the Suspension Bridge. Thousands of persons assembled to witness the spectacle, and upon the bridge itself there were between 400 and 500. The bridge, which was the chief means of transit from the railway terminus to the town, and had been widened to admit of increased traffic by a footpath constructed on either side, was suspended from two piers. Just as the clown was entering the Bure, at ten minutes to six o’clock, there was a rush to the south side of the bridge, the suspension rods snapped, the chains gave way, and “the bridge fell on that side like the leaf of a table let down,” pouring the crowd upon it into the water. A terrible scene ensued. As many as possible were rescued and conveyed to the Vauxhall Gardens, but notwithstanding the efforts made by watermen in boats and upon the river banks, there was fearful loss of life. An inquest was opened at the Church Hall on the 3rd, when Mr. Cooke, the proprietor of the circus, intimated that he would at once withdraw his company from the town. The inquiry was adjourned from time to time, and at the last sitting Mr. James Walker, C.E., who had been sent down to examine into the cause of the disaster, reported: (1) the immediate cause of the accident was a defect in the welding of the bar which first gave way; (2) that the quality of the iron and the workmanship were defective, and the accident would not have happened had the work been properly examined at the time of construction; (3) the widening of the bridge appeared to have been made without sufficient reference to its original strength and the weight which it had to support; and (4) that in the original construction of the bridge the casualty of a great load all on one side did not appear to have been contemplated. The jury returned a verdict in accordance with Mr. Walker’s conclusions. The number of dead bodies recovered was 77; some, however, were supposed to have been carried away by the current. Nearly all the sufferers were children or very young persons, but it was related as “a very extraordinary circumstance” that “Mr. Thomas Bowles, aged 84, who was on board the Royal George when she sank, and who is probably the only living survivor, should have been on the Suspension Bridge during the late accident. He was precipitated into the water, but was once more miraculously saved.”

May 3rd 1845

The Norfolk Yeomanry Cavalry assembled at East Dereham in stronger force than on any previous occasion, for eight days’ permanent duty.

May 3rd 1845

The last troop of the 4th Dragoons marched from Norwich Barracks, and were, on the same day, replaced by the 7th Hussars.

May 5th 1845

Died at West Somerton, aged 74, “Mr. William Hales, father of nine children, whose united heights amount to 57 ft. 6 in., including the Norfolk giant and giantess.”

May 7th 1845

The experiment was made at Norwich Theatre of still further reducing the prices of admission to 2s. 6d. for dress boxes, and to 1s. 6d. for the upper circle.

May 8th 1845

Mr. Walter Morgan, aged 23, of the firm of Messrs. Morgan, of the King Street Brewery, Norwich, met with his death by falling into a vat of beer.

May 10th 1845

“A handbill has been published in Norwich showing that out of 1,664 persons who have had small-pox, 1,536 had not been vaccinated, and only 128 were vaccinated. Out of 506 who had escaped the disease altogether, only 84 had not been vaccinated, and 422 vaccinated. Of 141 who had died from small-pox, only four had been vaccinated, one a man 93 years old; the other three were suffering from teething or were otherwise ill when vaccinated.”

May 24th 1845

“The Hanworth Hall estate, comprising a mansion, cottages, and 1,465 acres of land, has been disposed of by private contract to Mr. William Howe Windham, of Felbrigg Park, for £65,000.”

May 26th 1845

A series of lectures on phonography was commenced at the Assembly Rooms, Norwich, by Mr. Joseph Pitman and Mr. Reid. “Mr. Reid appears to have mastered the system so far as to be able to follow a speaker, but no reporter has yet adopted it.”

June 2nd 1845

Mr. Macready, accompanied by Mr. Ryder, “a highly respectable actor,” commenced a three nights’ engagement at Norwich Theatre. He appeared in the characters of Hamlet, Richelieu, and Macbeth.

July 21st 1845

Miss Fitzwilliam appeared at Norwich Theatre in the Assize week performances. She took the leading parts in “The Belle of the Hotel,” “My Little Adopted,” “Foreign Airs and Native Graces,” &c. At the conclusion of the season, on the 26th, Mr. George Smith announced to the audience that he had resigned the management of the circuit. “He had been,” he said, “thirty-one years a member of the Norwich Company. He had witnessed the drama in its high and palmy state; he had seen its gradual decline. Many had been the causes assigned for this decay—the increase of Dissent and fanaticism on the one hand, errors of management on the other, and the reduction of prices.”

July 29th 1845

A prize-fight took place on Mousehold Heath, Norwich, between Jim Woods and Ben Clarke, “the Norfolk Slasher,” for £5 a side. Woods was the favourite, at 5 to 2, and obtained “first blood,” but in the second round Clarke struck him a severe blow on the temple and felled him. In the third round Clarke put in another blow, and as his opponent was falling, struck him behind the ear and laid him senseless. Clarke was declared the winner, after a contest which lasted only five minutes.

July 29th 1845

The Norfolk Railway was opened. The directors ran a special train from Trowse to Cambridge, by which about 200 guests, including the Dean and Mayor of Norwich, were conveyed. A special train from London brought a like contingent to Cambridge, where luncheon was served, under the presidency of the chairman of the Eastern Counties Railway, Mr. Henry Bosanquet. One of the first projects for a long line was the proposal to construct a railway between London and Norwich, _via_ Thetford, with a continuation to Yarmouth. A prospectus was printed and partially circulated in 1825, but the scheme was abandoned. In 1835 the prospectus of the Eastern Counties (or Grand Eastern Counties) Railway appeared. The requisite notices were published in November of that year, application was made in the ensuing session of Parliament for a Bill, and the first Act for the construction of the works received the Royal assent on July 4th, 1836. Up to 1840 this line was opened only as far as Warley Lane, between Brentwood and Warley Common. In 1843 it was completed as far as Colchester, but as the original capital was more than expended in carrying the line that distance, all hope of proceeding to Norwich was abandoned. In 1839 two Acts connected with the Northern and Western Company were passed, and received the Royal assent on July 19th. The first was for the purpose of extending the time for the purchase of land as far as Bishop’s Stortford, and the second was chiefly to confirm an agreement with the Eastern Counties Company as to the terms, &c., for passing over their line. In 1840 another Act was passed, receiving the Royal assent on June 4th, for reducing the joint stock capital to £700,000, giving the company power to raise £240,000 on debentures so soon as one moiety of the capital should be paid off, and abandoning that portion of the line between Bishop’s Stortford and Cambridge. In 1840 the idea of railway communication between Norwich and the Metropolis was revived, and it was resolved to form a company, to be styled the Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridge Railway Company. It was afterwards known as the East Anglian Railway Company. It received the support of the landowners’ committee in Norfolk, and the expense was estimated as follows: From Bishop’s Stortford to Cambridge, 22 miles, £572,000; from Cambridge to Norwich, 63 miles, £1,126,695; from Norwich to Yarmouth, 18 miles, £291,512. After the opening of the Yarmouth and Norwich line according to the plan of Mr. Stephenson, the project for the East Anglian Railway was dropped for a time, and was revived by the promoters of the Norwich and Brandon Railway, the prospectus of which was published in 1843. The capital to be raised was stated to be £380,000, in 19,000 shares of £20 each. In the Session of 1844 an Act was applied for and received the Royal assent in the month of June. The line in connection with that from Yarmouth and with that from Ely to Brandon resulted, and it was known as the Norfolk Railway. Messrs. Grissell and Peto were the contractors, and Messrs. Stephenson and Bidder the engineers in chief. The works were commenced at Wymondham on May 17th, 1844, and finished on July 1st, 1845. The first through train to London started from Trowse on the morning of July 30th. At that date the swing bridge at Trowse had not been completed. Of the travelling it was said it “cannot be rendered more comfortable than it is upon the Norfolk Railway.”

August 12th 1845

The foundation-stone of the Leicester monument was laid in Holkham Park by Lord Coborne, in the presence of a large gathering of the nobility and gentry and of the tenant-farmers of Norfolk.

August 15th 1845

Died at his residence in Golden Ball Street, Norwich, aged 78, Mr. John Angell, who served the office of Sheriff in 1825 and of Mayor in 1830.

August 16th 1845

“Within the last few days no less than 500 coach horses have been sent for sale at Aldridge’s Repository, owing to the further opening of the Northern and Eastern Railway from Bishop’s Stortford by way of Ely and Thetford to Norwich, and the consequent discontinuation of coaches.”

September 6th 1845

The Brundall estate, consisting of a mansion and 143 acres of land, the property of the Rev. L. B. Foster, was sold by Mr. Spelman, of Norwich, for £12,500, to Mr. T. G. Tuck.

September 6th 1845

The Newmarket mail coach was overturned at Cringleford Gate, and of the six outside passengers, all of whom were more or less cut and bruised, a lady had her arm broken and a gentleman sustained a fractured collar-bone and dislocated arm.

September 10th 1845

The museum at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital was opened, under the presidency of the Lord Bishop of Norwich.

September 11th 1845

A cricket match commenced at Swaffham, between the Marylebone Club and the Norfolk Club, and concluded on the 12th. “Fuller Pilch, the hope of Norfolk, was beautifully caught for seven runs. A great damper was thrown on their spirits by this untoward event, and the rest of the side did little to retrieve the misfortune.” Marylebone, 162; Norfolk, 42-83.

September 16th 1845

Died at Yarmouth, aged 69, Mr. Richard Sutton. “He was very eccentric, and had such a love for mathematics that though extremely poor he had often been known to sell his dinner in order to procure some old book on mathematics.”

September 16th 1845

The Norfolk and Norwich Triennial Musical Festival commenced. The principal vocalists were Madame Grisi, Madame Caradori Allan, Miss Dolby, Miss Poole, Sig. Mario, Sig. F. Lablache, Mr. Hobbs, Mr. Hawkins, Mr. Machin, Mr. Bradbury, and Herr Standigl. Mr. T. Cooke was leader of the band, Mr. Benedict conductor, and Mr. Turle organist. The programme included selections from the “Stabat Mater,” “The Seasons,” “Il Don Giovanni,” Purcell’s “Jubilate,” Mozart’s “Requiem,” “Calvary,” “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “The Messiah.” On the 19th a ball took place at St. Andrew’s Hall. The gross receipts amounted to £5,432 9s. 6d., and expenses to £4,180 10s. 9d. The Sheriffs of London (Mr. Hunter and Mr. Sidney) attended the Festival, and were, on the 19th, entertained at dinner at the Royal Hotel.

September 27th 1845

“The Yarmouth and Norwich Railway Company has reduced the charge for the use of the telegraph and dispatching a messenger to any part of Norwich from 4s. 6d. to 2s. 6d.”

October 7th 1845

A meeting of the Wesleyan Methodists of the Norwich circuit was held at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, for the purpose of raising a consolidated fund to redeem the chapel debts, amounting to £6,900. It was proposed to create a capital to be raised in 6,900 shares of £1 each, the payments to be made at intervals of three months during the ensuing five years.

October 13th 1845

Died “that excellent and philanthropic lady,” Mrs. Fry, who for many years “devoted her time and her purse to ameliorate the miseries of the inmates of our various prisons.”

October 14th 1845

Lord Suffield was installed Grand-Master of Freemasons in the province of Norfolk.

November 1st 1845

“Mr. Charles Fisher, who for the last two or three seasons has been a general favourite on the Norwich circuit, has accepted an engagement at the Prince’s Theatre, London.”

November 1st 1845

“The North Walsham Theatre, which eighteen years ago cost Mr. D. Fisher £1,800, has lately been sold for about £400, and is to be converted into a school, to be conducted on the National system.” The school was opened on May 25th, 1846.

November 4th 1845

A prize-fight took place near Harford Bridges, between Ben Clarke and Smith. After a contest lasting twenty minutes, the former was declared the winner.

November 6th 1845

Large numbers of birds were attracted by Happisburgh light during stormy weather on this date. Forty-five dozen larks, eight and a half dozen starlings, and many other birds, were taken.

November 7th 1845

Trowse Swing Bridge, erected from a design by Mr. Bidder, was swung across the river for the first time. It underwent Government inspection on December 9th, and the first trains ran over it on December 15th.

November 7th 1845

Sir Lawrence Jones, Bart., of Cranmer Hall, was murdered by robbers at Macri, in Turkey. He was in his 29th year. On July 8th, 1846, his remains were interred in the family vault at Sculthorpe.

November 10th 1845

Mr. John Betts was elected Mayor of Norwich, and Mr. Jeremiah Colman appointed Sheriff.

November 16th 1845

Died, aged 72, Gregory Robinson, of the Bull’s Head Inn, Ber Street, Norwich. “The deceased in early life entered the Navy, and was with Lord Howe on June 1st, 1794, and in several other engagements. He was one of the crew of the St. George when that vessel was wrecked on the coast of Jutland, on December 24th, 1811.”

December 3rd 1845

A public meeting was held at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, to consider the propriety of memorialising the Government to open the ports of Great Britain and Ireland for the admission of foreign grain free of duty, in consequence of the apprehended scarcity of food. The Mayor presided, and Mr. Tillett moved that a petition be presented to Parliament for the immediate repeal of the Corn Laws. A similar petition was adopted by the Norwich Town Council on the 9th.

December 12th 1845

In the Arches Court, Sir H. Jenner Fust gave judgment in the suit Kitson _v._ the Rev. Arthur Loftus, vicar of Fincham St. Martin and rector of Fincham St. Michael. The case came before the Court by letters of request from the Bishop of Norwich, and the articles, in substance, charged Mr. Loftus with gross immorality. Sentence of deprivation was passed.

December 12th 1845

A “remarkable and unprecedented” occurrence took place at the meet, on Mulbarton Common, of the Norfolk Subscription Pack of Staghounds. A bailiff, on behalf of the Rev. J. H. Steward, of Carlton House, served notices upon all who were suspected of being about to commit a trespass. “The eccentricity of such a proceeding created much amusement, and the consequence was a change of position was ordered.”

December 22nd 1845

The van of a menagerie travelling through Potter Heigham overturned into a ditch, and the bars of the tiger’s cage giving way, “the animal escaped, after biting off the head of an eagle.” The neighbouring farmers, armed with guns, and the labourers with pitchforks, went in pursuit of the beast. An unsuccessful endeavour was made to entangle him in a sheep-net. “A large hamper containing a piece of flesh was then placed in his way. Upon his jumping in to seize the food the lid was drawn down and soon secured, the animal uttering the most hideous yells.”

December 24th 1845

A serious accident occurred on the Norfolk Railway near Thetford. The up-train from Norwich was proceeding at a rapid rate when the engine left the line and fell down the embankment. The engine-driver, named Pickering, was killed instantly, and the stoker, Richard Eager, had both legs broken, and died shortly after his removal from the scene of the accident. None of the passengers were seriously hurt. The accident was supposed to be due to the excessive speed at which the train was travelling—fifty-five miles an hour.

December 26th 1845

Norwich Theatre was opened, under the management of Mr. Abington, M.A., lessee of Southampton Theatre. The circuit also included the Cambridge, Bury St. Edmund’s, Ipswich, Colchester, and Yarmouth Theatres. The old company had been dispersed, and regret was expressed that the new company was not likely to maintain the reputation of the Norwich stage.

December 31st 1845

The customary peals were rung at St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich. “In the centre of the circle stood the celebrated pitcher, capable of holding seventeen quarts, which was moulded by John Dearsley in the year 1749. This the churchwardens (Mr. W. Butcher and Mr. Robert Fitch) liberally filled with punch.”