county norwich west north east coast acres chalk nearly lynn
NORFOLK, an eastern maritime county of England, is bounded N. and E. by the North Sea, S.E. and S. by Suffolk, S.W. by Cambridge, and W. by Lincoln. It is of an irregular oval form, its greatest length east and west being 67 miles, and its greatest breadth about 42 miles. The area is 1,356,173 acres, or 2119 square miles.
Coast-line. - Nearly two-thirds of the boundary of the county is formed by tidal water. There are few bays or inlets, and on the northern coast no river mouths. For the most part the coast-line is flat and low, and has been greatly encroached on by the sea, several villages having been engulfed since the time of William the Conqueror. From the mouth of the Yare to Happisburgh the shore is low and sandy and is skirted by sandbanks. Thence for 20 miles it is formed of cliffs consisting of clay and masses of embedded rocks, the average height being about 50 feet, although in some cases an altitude of 200 feet is reached. These cliffs are succeeded by a low shingly or sandy coast stretching as far as St Edmund's Point. The shores of the Wash are formed of mudbanks, which are left dry at low water. West of Lynn a considerable extent of land has within recent years been reclaimed from the sea, and farther south an old Roman embankment stretches into Lincolnshire. At various points off the coast there are submarine forests, especially in Brancaster Bay and in the neighbourhood of Cromer and Happisburgh. Fossilized remains of large mammals are sometimes dragged up by the nets of fishermen, and mammoth tusks measuring from 6 to 9 feet have been found at Knole Sand off Happisburgh.
Surface and Geology. - The surface is principally an undulating plain with rising grounds skirting the river valleys and low chalk downs in the north and north-west. On the west along the Cambridgeshire border there is a stretch of fen land extending from Welney and Hilgay fen to the Wash. The watershed is nearly in the centre of the county. The principal rivers are the Yare, in the east, with its tributaries, the Bure, the Wensum, and the Waveney ; and the Ouse, in the west, with its tributaries, the Little Ouse, the Wissey, and the Nar. The Yare and its tributaries frequently expand near the sea into broads or meres, covered for the most part by sedges and bulrushes, which afford shelter for a great variety of water-fowl, including the water-hen, wild duck, heron, bittern, kingfisher, mallard, snipe, and teal. The Yare is navigable for small vessels as far as Norwich, the Waveney to Beccles, and the Bure to Aylsham. The Ouse is tidal to Denver, and its tributaries are all to some extent navigable.
Nearly the whole of Norfolk is occupied by chalk, but on account of drift deposits it forms a comparatively small proportion of its surface. It exists in three forms : chalk marl, which forms part of Hunstanton cliff; lower or hard chalk, much used in west Norfolk for the construction of cottages ; and upper chalk, or chalk with flint, which constitutes the bulk of the formation. The other members of the Cretaceous system in Norfolk are gault and lower greensand, which crop out beneath the chalk to the west of the county, and are succeeded by the Kimmeridge clay of oolitic age, which stretches along the coast of the Wash from Hunstanton to King's Lynn, and south nearly to Downham. The Tertiary formation is represented by bands of sand, clay, and shingle in the neighbourhood of Norwich, which contain a fine series of fossils. The drift deposits include the lower glacial beds in the north-east, stretching south to the Yare and Wensum, the middle glacial beds in the neighbourhood of Yarmouth, and the upper glacial beds, consisting of boulder clay, occupying the centre, south, and south-west of the county. A considerable extent of surface is covered by valley gravels. In west Norfolk they occupy sometimes the old beds of rivers which flowed nearly at right angles to those of the present day. In these gravels many flint implements have been found. The fen beds in the south-west were at one time nearly all under water, but this has been carried off by a system of drainage first begun in the reign of Charles I.
The county is not rich in minerals. It is supposed that beds of coal may probably exist at a depth of 1500 feet. Lime and chalk for building are plentiful. Potter's clay and good brick earth are obtained. In the fen district there is still a supply of peat. Marl is found in the valley of the Bure, and sand suitable for the manufacture of glass in the neighbourhood of Snettisham.
Climate and Agriculture. - On account of the exposed position of the coast to east and north-east winds, the climate, especially in winter and early spring, is much colder than in the adjacent counties. The air is, however, generally dry, and unhealthy fogs are not common, except in the marshy districts. Norfolk contains a greater variety of soil than any other county in England. In the north and west the soil is generally chalky ; towards the southeast it is a light sand, assuming occasionally the form of blowing sand, but elsewhere capable of cultivation and of average fertility. In the centre and east the prevailing soil is loam of a very varying quality, chiefly light and workable, but sometimes composed of stiff chalky boulder clay. Alluvial clays and loams occur on the borders of Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire, and stretch along the river valleys. The marsh lands along the coast are so subject to inundation as to make cultivation difficult ; they afford, however, capital pasturage for stock.
Notwithstanding the natural defects of soil, farming is in a very advanced condition, and, by means of draining, subsoil ploughing, skilful rotation, and the liberal use of ranging from seven to twenty-one years ; in other parts 202,060, rotation grasses 166,891, permanent pasture only 32,307 acres. As much attention is paid to the graz135,116 acres in 1883 - while mangolds occupied 46,442 acres, and vetches 11,868 acres, but potatoes only 5269 acres.
The number of horses in 1883 was 62,613, of which 44,232 were used solely for agricultural purposes. Cattle in the same year numbered 117,497, of which 29,040 were cows and heifers in milk or in calf. Large numbers of lean cattle, principally Irish shorthorns, are brought into the county mainly for winter grazing. The old Norfolk polled stock has been recently revived and is now recognized as a distinct breed. Good pasture lands are found in many districts of the county, especially along the riverbeds and in the neighbourhood of the fens. Sheep in 1883 numbered 559,146, and pigs 111,349.
According to the latest return the total number of proprietors in the county was 26,648, possessing 1,234,884 acres, yielding an annual rental of £2,403,795. The estimated extent of common or waste lands possessed by no owner was 12,870 acres. Of the owners 16,552, or about 60 per cent., possessed less than one acre. Eleven proprietors possessed upwards of 10,000 acres - viz., earl of Leicester, 43,025; Marquis Townshend, 18,130; marquis of Cholmondeley, 16,995 ; Rev. H. Lombe, 13,832 ; Lord Hastings, 12,738 ; earl of Orford, 12,341; Lord Walsingham, 11,983; Lord Suffield, 11,829; Sir Thomas Hare, 11,033 ; earl of Kimberley, 10,801 ; Anthony Hamoml, 10,039.
Manufactures. - At an early period Norfolk was one of the principal seats of the cloth trade in England, worsted deriving its name from having been first manufactured at Worstead. The weaving of silk and wool is still carried on at Norwich and also shawl weaving, although the staple trade of the town is now boots and shoes. Silk is also manufactured at Yarmouth, Wymondham, and North Walsham. Flour-mills are numerous all over the county. and there are agricultural implement works at Norwich, Lynn, Thetford, East Harling, North Walsham, Walsingham, and East Derelfam. Lime-burning, brick -making, tanning, malting, and brewing are carried on in various districts. The extensive mustard and starch works of Colman & Co. are at Norwich. One of the chief hindrances to the commercial progress of the county is the dangerous nature of the seacoast, and its unsuitability for the formation of harbours. A large trade is carried on, however, at Yarmouth, which is the outlet for the produce of a very extensive district. The other principal port is Lynn, and there is a small trade at Burnham, Cromer, and Wells. The exports are chiefly agricultural produce, fish, and manufactured goods, and the imports timber, oil-cake, and provisions. Yarmouth possesses one of the most important herring-fisheries in England.
Railways. - The county is intersected in all directions by lines of the Great Eastern Railway, and more recently by the Eastern and Midland Railway.
Administration and Population. - Norfolk comprises 33 hundreds, the city of Norwich (87,842), the municipal borough of King's Lynn (18,539), the principal part (37,151) of Great Yarmouth (46,159), and the principal part (3228) of Thetford (4032), both of which extend into Suffolk. There are also seven urban sanitary districts - Diss (3846), Downham Market (2633), .East Dereham (5640), North Walsham (3234), Swaffham (3643), Thetford (4032), and Wells (2645). The county has one court of quarter-sessions and is divided into twenty-five petty and special sessional divisions.
The city of Norwich and the boroughs of King's Lynn and Great Yarmouth have their own police. One parish, a part of a parish, and a part of an ecclesiastical district are in the diocese of Ely, a part of a parish in the diocese of Lincoln, and the rest of the county in the diocese of Norwich. The county contains 736 parishes, with parts of nine others. For parliamentary purposes it is divided into North Norfolk, South Norfolk, and West Norfolk, each division returning two members ; and two members are also returned for the parliamentary boroughs of Norwich city in the southern division and of King's Lynn in the western division. The population in 1801 was 273,371, which in 1821 had increased to 344,365, in 1851 to 442,714, in 1871 had decreased to 438,656, and in 1881 had risen again to 444,749, of whom 215,266 were males and 229,433 females. The number of inhabited houses in 1881 was 100,372, and the average number of persons to the acre 0.33.
History and Antiguitics. - At the Roman conquest Norfolk was inhabited by the Cenomanni, a tribe of the Iceni. The numerous groups of pits on the heaths and along the coast, such as " Grimes Graves" near 1Veeting and the "shrieking pits" on Aylmerton heath, appear to have been ancient villages. The whole of the district was brought to own allegiance to the Romans during the campaign of Aulus Plautius ; but on account of the indignities offered to their queen, Boadicea, the Iceni revolted, and, joining with the Trinobantes, seized Camulochtnum (Colchester), an important Roman colony, massacring every Roman on whom they could lay hands. The Romans had their revenge shortly afterwards in a battle (62 n.c.) in which the power of the Britons was finally completely crushed. The name of the tribe was retained in the Incchilde Way, an old British road passing westward from the Norfolk coast, which was utilized by the Romans. The county was traversed by four other Roman roads, and was the seat of five principal Roman stations Brannodunum (Brancaster), Garianonum (Caistor, near Yarmouth), Fmk Icenorum (Caistor, St Edmund), Sitomagus (Thetford), and Ad- Tuam, (Tasburgh). Coins and other remains have been found at all these places. In the Teutonic settlement Norfolk was occupied by the Angles, and in 870 the kingdom of East Anglia fell in turn before the Danes (see vol. viii. p. 284). New ravages were committed by the Danes from time to time ; and hi 1004 Sweyn brought his fleet up the river to Norwich, which he plundered and burned. After the Norman Conquest Ralph de Waher or Guader was created earl of Norfolk, but on his rebellion in 1057 the estates and title were conferred on Roger Bigod. Subsequently the title was in disuse, but it was at length revived and bestowed on Thomas Plantagenet, fifth son of Edward I. During a vacancy in the earldom John le Littester, a dyer, rose in rebellion and joined the commons under Wat Tyler. After the suppression of the rebellion the earldom with the title duke of Norfolk was bestowed on the Mowbray family, who held it till the latter part of the 15th century, when it passed by marriage to the Howards. The duke of Norfolk still exercises a peculiar and permanent jurisdiction, and appoints two coroners for his liberties.
There are few or no traces of Saxon architecture in the county, unless the towers of Dunham-Magna and Newton-by-Castleacre be assigned to this period. The round towers which are specially characteristic of the district are probably Norman. Although there are several fine specimens of Norman architecture in the county in addition to Norwich cathedral, and a few good examples of Early English, the majority of the churches are Decorated or Perpendicular, or a mixture of both styles. The most notable features of the churches are the flint and stone panels, the fine rood-loft screens, and the numerous brasses. Norfolk possessed an unusually large number of monastic foundations, but of these the remains are few and comparatively unimportant. The cathedral-church of Norwich was originally connected with a very richly-endowed Benedictine monastery. A foundation of nearly equal importance was that of Augustinian canons at Walsingliam, where there are remains of the church, the refectory, and a Perpendicular gateway. The other principal remains are those at Bacton, Beeston, Binham, Castleacre, Thetford, and Wymondham. Of the old Norman keeps there are entrenchments and remains of the building at Castleacre, while Castle Rising is still a magnificent ruin, and Norwich Castle has been restored. Among the more interesting old mansions are the halls of Hunstanton, Oxborough, Blickling, Heydon, and Barningham. The larger mansions, such as Sandringham, Holkham, Rainhain, Cossey, Gunton, Houghton, and Shadwell, are, however, of comparatively modern date. Among the eminent persons connected with Norfolk are Sir Edward Coke, Lord Cranworth, John Skelton, the earl of Surrey, Sir Thomas Browne, Sir Thomas Gresham, Roger L'Estrange, Horace Walpole, Tom Paine, Theodore Hooke, Mrs Opie, Porson, Harriet Martineau, Bnlwer Lytton, Elizabeth Fry, Fowell Buxton, Sir Francis Palgrave, Sir Cloudesley Shovell, Lord Nelson.