DERSINGHAM HISTORY
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Dersingham Folk
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Site by Mike Strange
Dersingham Timeline
This chronological summary of Dersingham's history is significantly derived from "The Dersingham Chronicle" compiled by Mr A (Bert) Haslam in 1993. Full acknowledgement is given and further details can be found in the booklet.
500000 to 40001 BC A Palaeolithic flint object (possibly a hand axe) was found by a local schoolboy on a road somewhere in Dersingham. For a time this find was in the Dersingham School Museum, although its present whereabouts are unknown. (NHER 1564)  
1086 Dersingham then Dersincham meaning a homestead of the family or followers of a man called Deorsige.  
1091 Peter de Valognes, Sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire, Lord of Orford was granted 20 manors including Dersingham.  
1154 There was a small lordship called Snaring Hall off Shernborne Road.  
1166 Robert de Valognes was granted the Prior of Binham, the Rectory of Dersingham with 80 acres of land with the tithe of all his Manor there.  
1216 The family of Brokedish were lords of Brook Hall or Old Hall.  
1229 First known documentary evidence that a church existed before our present buliding.  
1247 Richard le Butler had custody of lands here belonging to Stephen de Brokedish (Brook Hall)  
1264 Sir Thomas de Gelham who held Gelham Manor under Valognes, was granted permission to build a Chantry chapel in Dersingham churchyard and to have his own chaplain.  
1272 John de Gelham was Knighted  
1306 Robert de Eggefeld appointed Vicar of Dersingham  
1316 John de Gelham was made Lord of the Manor.  
1320 The main parts of the St Nicholas were built adding to the Norman nave and and Chancel.  
1338 Fishing protection granted to Martin and Adam Scott to fish in the port of Dersyngham.  
1350 William de Gelham died in the reign of Edward III and seems to have been the last of that family. The estate was divided amongst family.  
1370 Many improvement changes made to the Church and this continued into the 15th century.  
1497 Thomas Zarley, probably the priest attached to the Chantry, by his will, wished to be buried in the chapel and left bequests for the benefit of St Nicholas. These bequests were confiscated by Henry VIII and the chapel of St Mary which stood SE of the church fell into ruin.  
1516 Owner of Brook Hall, Sir William Capel, Lord Mayor of London died 8th November.  
1524 Thirty two principal people in the village were listed for tax purposes.  
1541 Sir Giles Capel conveyed Brook Hall to John Pell.  
1542 The Advowson of the vicarage was transferred to Sir Thomas Paston  
1544 John Pell bought lands in Dersingham including Brook Hall, settled in Norfolk shipping English wool to the Lowlands.  
1546 The advowsen of the vicarage was tranferred to Robert Read, Gent  
1553 John Pell builds a fine new house  behind the church by the present Health Centre. Moated house in the pastures abandoned.  
1557 The Rectory was granted to the See of Norwich and was farmed by Thomas Rede.  
1560 John Pell (Benefactor) who lived at Dersingham Hall became Mayor of Lynn.  
1561 Silver Chalice donated to the church with the inscription, "The Tovenshyp of Dasyngham"  
1565 Records indicate a strong maritime interest in Dersingham, "There is pertayning to Dersingham one shippe caryeng coirne Northwarde and recayeng cols, as is afforesayd, whereofthe owners are John Bery and William Nevet"; also "one shippe called the William of the burden of xxx tonne"; " There are 3 maryners, 2 ffyshermen".   
1571 John Pell with Thomas Grave were chosen to represent Lynn in Parliament.  
1575 Advowson of the vicarage was transferred to Jeffrey Cobb.  
1597 The Wardens reported "William Simpson for victuallinge in service tyme upon Sundays and holidays."  
1600 Six sons on John Pell cared for and increased the manors at Dersingham, shipping wool from King's Lynn and their own port at Wolferton.  
1601 The Pells had six ships named after John Pells six sons.  
1606 The Wardens reported the Vicar, Henry Mayster, for preaching only once a quarter.  
1606 Edgars was reported for "suffering them drunke and disorderly in his house"; either the 'Coach and Horses' or the 'Dun Cow'  
1607 A flood is reported. The Creek leading to the sea is clearly shown on an old map by Saxton.  
1608 Henry Beckham licensed "to teach grammar in Diocese".  
1630 A bell bearing the inscription "Joh Draper made by me in 1630" was probably raised and secured in the Tower. Church Wardens in trouble because their, "great bell is rikody".  
1636 Brass shield and brass inscription (Pell family) placed in west end of the north aisle.  
1638 Silver plate bearing the name Katherine Pell was donated.  
1641 Rev Noke buried in the chancel, the first of three past vicars of Dersingham at rest inside the church.  
1650 Tidal water began to recede from the village.  
1653 The oldest register dated 1653 told "conteyneth a true and pfect Register of all Publications, Births ... and Burialls ... within the parish of Dersingham". In the same year the vicar Henry Scrimger died and the church was without a permanent incumbent until William Houghton began to preach in August 1659.  
1655 Reported that a certain Mr Stephens "sypplyeth the cure" whilst the church had no vicar.  
1656 Vicarage noted, "as a small studded clay-house standing in the churchyard". Mr John Pell had it pulled down "because he objected to this ruin outside his front gate". This was possibly what is now the entrance to the Church Hall grounds.  
1658/59 There were ten marriages taken by various priests prior to the arrival of a new vicar in 1659.  
1660 Godfrey Dorr, who lived at Dersingham Hall, wrote at the time of the Restoration of the Monarch in Britain that he did not think there was anything belonging to the church that was worth removing to another church as many things of value were lost during the Commonwealth period.  
1667 Dersingham, Mill Road post mill built  
1671 West Hall Manor House built.  
1671 Tithe Barn built by the West Gate and it is still in use.  
1671 The Great Flood occured during the night of 12th September. John Chamberlaine desired that the 29th Psalm, verse 3 should be sung on this date every year.  
1678 Assessment of Dersingham households determines that 73 are graded to pay Hearth Tax  
1690 Poll tax introduced to halp pay for the French and Irish wars raised £21 from 173 villagers.  
1721 Sir Robert Walpole, Norfolk squire inherited Pell Dersingham manors. The Pell name was now extinct in Norfolk  
1726 Vicarage had fallen into disrepair, vicar Thomas Gill secured a faculty from the Bishop exonorating him or his successors from the cost of rebuilding the vicarage.  
1732 Elizabeth Pell bequeathed money to purchase land; produce from it to be given to the poor in bread and coals.  
1735 Another flood at Dersingham on 16th February.  
c1745 Communicants for the Sacrament were between 15 and 30. There were about 66 houses in the parish, about 30 were pulled down possibly because of the small-pox epidemic.  
1779 Dersingham Inclosure Act - The vicarage tithes were commuted for land; 160 acres and 457 acres enclosed in a ring fence for the use of the parish.  
1798 The little spire on the tower was demolished.  
1801 Dersingham's population now 457; 211 males and 246 females.  
1803 Dersingham Heath was the haunt of the Great Bustard; a flock of eleven were seen near Sandringham.  
1807 30 Dersingham men were liable to be enlisted for service in the Napoleonic wars.  
1808 Windmill on the site of the present Hill House Sugar Lane blown down in a gale.  
1811 Turnpike Road extended from Kings Lynn to The Dun Cow. There was not a toll house here as the Act of 1811 stated that no Tollgate should be erected or any toll collected on the road from Babingley Lane to The Dun Cow.  
1829 St Nicholas had the lead stripped off the whole roof and was replaced with slates and a cost of £445; the sale of lead remaining fetched £175.  
1841 Dersingham's population was 676  
1845 John Bellamy and the Marques of Cholmondley are lords of the manors of West Hall, Pakenham, Gelham, Shouldham Priory and Brook Hall  
1845 William White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk 1845 published - Dersingham  
1850 New Connexion Chapel, Dersingham, between the Feathers Hotel and the Coach and Horses pub, now a house in Manor Road, Wesleyan Methodist founded 1850 closed before 1913.  
1854 The parish contained 165 houses and 812 souls  
1857 Annual Inclosure Act including Dersingham  
1862 Dersingham Station opened for first service on Kings Lynn to Hunstanton railway.  
1870 Population 822 (John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales)  
1875 Land gifted by the Prince of Wales for a school on the corner of Dodd's Hill for Religious and Secular Education under the management and control of the Vicar and Churchwardens of the Parish of Dersingham.  
1877 Vicarage built  
1878 Bethel Primitive Methodist Chapel, Chapel Road, opened; it closed in 1962  
1881 Population 1014  
1883 Kelly's Directory for Cambridgeshire, Norfolk & Suffolk, 1883, p.292. published - Dersingham  
1891 Population 1186.  Census surname list - Dersingham  
1891 Chapel [now Wesleyan Methodist Church], Dersingham, Post Office Road, opened and continues [2017]  
1891 The school was enlarged at a cost of £240  
1893 Forester's Hall erected on the site in Manor Road given by the Prince of Wales. Opened by H.R.H. the Duke of York, December 11th, 1893  
1901 Population 1316  
1902 Church tower chime clock erected for the coronation of Edward VII. Officially started by the Prince of Wales 22nd December  
1904 School enlarged to hold 326 children  
1907 Dersingham, Mill Road post mill demolished.  
1911 Church Hall built on land given by King George V  
1911 "Pageant of the Crown" performed by over 100 village children in the vicarage gardens. The theme emphasised the fact that the power behind the Crown is Christian religion.  
1912 Working Men's Club opened on land given by George V.  It is opposite Supermarket  
1916 September Zeppelin drops bombs on village.  Badly damages cottage in Doddshill.  Resident dies from her injuries.  
1917 Vicar reported "church now getting back to good shape following carelessness and neglect that reduced to a cold barn-like structure".  
1919 The King signified his intention of presenting land in Dersingham adjacent to the Church Hall for use as a bowling green for the whole of the village, free from secretarial and sectional control.  
1920 Bowling club members raised £20 for the laying of a new green.  
1920 The War Memorial was dedicated in April.  
1921 2 February 1921 The Duke of York unveiled at the Foresters Hall a War Memorial to the Members of the Court Motteux of the Ancient Order of Foresters who fell in the war.  
1923 Dersingham Cottage Garden, Allotment and Smallholders Co-operative Society Limited (Reg. No. 8,160 R. Norfolk), held at Foresters  Hall, Dersingham, ceased 28th November, 1923. [The London Gazette].  
1925 A memorial chapel altar was erected to the fallen.  
1929 Territorial Hall opened at the bottom of Doddshill at cost of £5000  
1936 King George V offered an acre of land to extend the churchyard, also carrstone to build a wall.  
1938 H.M. gave land and money for a new school building, St George's  
1940 Newly built St. George's School taken over by the military. Newfoundland troops billeted in the village at Dersingham Hall and Territorial Hall.  
1946-51 Second Geodetic Levelling, England & Wales - Dersingham Flush Bracket OSBM G1257, 2 Manor Road, levelled with a height of 29.2900 feet [8.9276 metres] above mean sea level  - refer for more here http://www.geograph.org.uk/search.php?i=70582341&page=1  
1947 St. George's School opens  
1951 Population 1732  
1953 East Coast floods.  Water reaches Dersingham Station.  
1961 Population 2026  
1968 Duke of Edinburgh opened the new sports pavilion.  
1969 May. Dersingham Station closes after final train journey from Kings Lynn to Hunstanton  
1971 Population 2597  
1975 The headmaster reported that 170 children in the 7-11 age group now attended Junior Scool.  
1976 Old vicarage building sold and a new one built in its grounds.  
1977 Tithe barn renovated for use as a store by Norfolk County Council  
1981 The Albert Victor pub closed for good on 26 October 1981.  
1984 Buried treasure of a silver cup and 129 coins found on Old Hall site by a digger driver  
1985 First new doctor's surgery opened.  
1990 A149 Dersingham by-pass road built.  
1991 St Celia's Roman Catholic Church, Dersingham, Mountbatten Road, opened 1991  
1991 Church tower and clock restored.  
1993 The Dun Cow pub ceased trading in September. Budgen supermarket was later built; this was taken over by the Coopertive Food chain in 2016.  
2009 In February the Carole Brown Health Centre was open by HM Queen Elizabeth.  
2009 The War Memorial was restored by public subscription and funding from the Dersingham and King's Lynn Borough Council. It was rededicated on May 9 2009.