A History of Norfolk, published in 1781, speaks of Feltwell as a populous and extensive village, and says that it is inhabited by about 1000 souls who are chiefly employed in husbandry and embanking. In the year 1821 there were 247 houses in Feltwell with a population of 1,153 people, made up of 560 males and 593 females. In 1854 there were 1675 people in the parish with 375 houses to dwell in. In 1891 the population was 1,557, and in 1911 it was 1,347.
Among the parochial charities belonging to Feltwell is the Atmeare Charity. Edmund Atmeare, an old shepherd, bequeathed the sum of £60 in the year 1579 to be expended in lands and the rent thereof to be paid to the parishes of Foulden, Feltwell, Northwold, Weeting, Brandon, in rotation, "to purchase black or grey freeze for cloathing the poor inhabitants." £60 in those days represented a large sum of money.
In his history of Methwold, Mr. Gedge says: "Our British Forefathers set up a Settlement Stone on the banks of the streamlet and marked their place with a Stone, a Sacred Settlement Stone." The Stone is now at Cross Hill, Methwold. According to some notes made by Mr. Phillips, a former Rector, the Settlement Stone for Feltwell lies buried at the Cross Roads.
Between Feltwell and Methwold is the Tennis Plantation. Tennis is a corruption of the Latin word Tenus, which means "as far as" or "up to." In old maps the boundary between the two parishes is marked as "The Tenus." On the Popplylot Road is Scuty Piece, so called from its shape being that of a shield, the Latin for which is Scutum.
In 1876 some bone ornaments, once forming part of a necklace of the British Period, were found in Feltwell Fens. About the same time a Roman Urn filled with silver coins was ploughed up on land in the occupation of Mr. Thomas Mitchell. They were coins of the Roman Emperors Hadrian, Antonius, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Vespasian.
Francis Mundeford, of Feltwell, was the first Steward of the City of Norwich, and held office A.D. 1521 to 1536. To fill this post a "discreet" lawyer was appointed whose duty was to sit as Chief Judge in the Sheriff's Court and to be one of the Counsel for the City. The Sheriff's Court tried actions relating to debt and trespass. The Office was abolished in I835. Francis Mundeford was son of Osbert Mundeford, of Feltwell, and died, according to Rye's Norfolk Families, before 1538. There is a brass in St. Mary's Church to his first wife, Margaret, daughter of Thomas Thoresby, of King's Lynn, who died A.D. 1520.
Robert Clough, of Feltwell, was High Sheriff of Norfolk in 1724.
Catherine Marsh, author of "Memorials of Captain Hedley Vicars" and many other books, spent the latter part of her life at Feltwell Rectory with Mrs. O'Rorke, her niece, and died there in 19I2. Her books were mostly evangelical and had a great sale in their day. She was the- daughter of the Rev. William Marsh, D.D., and Mary Chowne Marsh, a saintly character, who died in 1833. Miss Marsh was at one time connected with Florence Nightingale of Crimea fame.
In past days a Fair was held at Feltwell on November 20th and 21st of each year. The fair used at one time to be held near St. Mary's Church in the fork of the roads where the War Memorial now stands.
Bombazine Weaving- and Crape-making at one time flourished at Feltwell; the works were at the Factory near the Elm Tree.
In the possession of the writer of these notes is a bronze seal-ring on which is engraved the Sacred Monogram I.H.S. It is 15th Century work and was dug up in Feltwell Fens.
In his book on the Brecklands, W. G. Clarke says that Galleting, i.e., insertion of pellets in the mortar joints, may be seen at Swaffham, Narborough, Beechamwell, Gooderstone, Northwold, Methwold, and Feltwell. Red-brick, tile and flint-chips are used at Gooderstone; cinders at Northwold; red-brick, cinders, quartzite pebbles, flint-flakes and carrstone pellets at Feltwell. Galleting is done partly to prevent the pointing from weathering and partly to add to the beauty of the building.
On the Hythe Road, between St Nicholas Churchyard and the Glebe Farmhouse, is an old building jutting on to the road and now rapidly disappearing; it is said to have been used as an observation post during the civil wars of Cromwell's time. On the opposite side of the road, facing the farmhouse, is the old village Pound. Dyche's Dictionary of 1759 describe a Pound as "a place where horses, cows, hogs, etc., are put that get into another man's ground and eat up the grass, corn, etc., and must stay there till satisfaction be made to the distrainer.
A little further along the Hythe Road is Haythill Drove leading to the Poppylot Road, and further on still is Little Owlsham Drove leading into the Fens. Before the Fens were drained Great and Little Owls-holme were two small islands not far from the edge of the Highlands. The termination "holme" signifies a small island, a green plot of ground surrounded by water. There were several of these islands at Methwold, notably St. Olaves-holme, now known as Slevesholm or Sleusham, on which stood a Religious House with a Prior and monks. At the Dissolution of the Monastries in Henry VIII's reign, Slevesholm passed into the possession of Osbert Mundeford, of Feltwell. There was also at Methwold St. Katherines-holme, known later as Katsholme.
In 1813 an Act was passed for the enclosure of certain lands at Feltwell.
Feltwell has two famous trees, the Oak and the Elm, each standing in the centre of the roadway. The Oak Tree, which stands at the Eastern approach to the village, is accredited with great age and even said to be mentioned in Domesday Book, but no mention is made of it in Munford's Analysis of the Domesday Book of Norfolk. The following note on the Oak Tree is found in an old Scrap Book: "Village records state Charles and Oliver Cromwell rested under its branches at alternate periods."
Feltwell Anchor, formerly extra-parochial, is now a parish with an area of 103 acres and a population of 66 people. Both Redmere and Feltwell Anchor form part of the ecclesiastical parish of St. John, Little Ouse.
Some 70 years ago two boys, named Everett and Willingham, ascended the tower of St. Nicholas Church in search of starlings' eggs and to reach some of the nests one of them hung head-downwards over the tower while the other held him by the legs. After emptying the nests the boy, as he hung in that precarious position, called to his mate to hold on to him and not let go. "Do, you won't get any of them eggs."
Back to Written Records