Copyright © 2017
All Rights reserved
Site by Mike Strange
Description of Dersingham written by Samuel Kerrich
Vicar 1729- 1768
The parish of Dersingham consists of heath, warren, pretty large corn field lying on a long and easy descent to the town, light and sandy with some enclosures of richer land lying about the village. The houses are pretty near together except one farm house called Lyng House about 2 miles and a half from the rest toward Great Bircham part of which is enclosed and improved I think by marl about 40 years ago and once since and thought incapable of a third improvement at least for a great many years and the countrymen say wearing out. This is the only improvement I can learn has been made.
Below ye village toward the coast lyes a pretty large common, between which and the coast are several large marshes gained from the sea, Many of them I suppose about the time that the borough of Castle Rising fell into decay by means of the sea retiring from it which seems inclined to return again. The sea of late years pressing this coast with much more strength while it retires from the opposite coast in Lincolnshire and having caused inundations to the great damage of ye land and sometimes loss of cattle in spite of a very strong bank raised and kept up at a great expense by the late James Hoste Esq. which has been frequently broken through and once cost him in this parish and ye adjoining one of Wolferton having in one point where the sea pressed with most violence built a strong brick work.
The most considerable owners Lord Orford, Theodorus Hoste Esq. the male heir of the family of Hoste, Richard Hammond Esq. and R.G. a minor.
The inhabitants at this time are farmers and labourers (except Wm. Grigson Esq.) who lately sold his estate here to the said R.H. and purposes to remove from hence at Michelmas next.
Including Lyng House there are 66 houses in this parish. An old man in the parish some years ago assured me that in his memory there had been above 30 houses more which had been taken down or suffered to fall, the lands thereto belonging having been purchased by the families above named.
No papists in the parish, no dissenters of any denomination no Quakers. None totally absent themselves from church, 3 or 4 too often, one of them it is said was born of parents that were Quakers. He has not been here long and his children are publicly baptised, himself attending.
There had been no vicarage house many years, discharged long ago from all dilapidations I dwell in a house of Lord Orford's very near the church in which my predecessor resided many years. I am very seldom absent from the parish perhaps once in 3 or 4 years and then for 3 weeks or a month as I can get my Cure supplied; when I take care of some affairs I have at a distance and give myself the pleasure of conversing a little with old friends.
Public service is performed morning and afternoon alternately at this church and my adjoining parish of Wolferton and a sermon preached in both churches. Prayers are read here on the Wednesday and Friday during Lent and every day in Passion Week. When I entered upon this Cure there were no prayers on the Saint's days but by beginning with the state Holy Days and proceeding by degrees to the others I sometimes obtain a small congregation.
The children are catechised during Lent and instructed in the meaning of the questions and answers and more at large in the course of the sermons. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is administered 4 times a year. The number of communicants sometimes about 15, sometimes about 30.