THIS fine and Important county is terminated on the north and north-east by the German ocean, on the south and south-east by Suffulk, on the west by the Lincolnshire washes, and by part of that county and Cambridgeshire. It is almost entirely insulated by the sea, and by the rivers which form its internal boundary. Its figure is very compact - presenting an almost unbroken convexity to the ocean, and a curve somewhat indented to the land ; thus nearly forming an oval, of which the diameter from north to south is 45 miles, that from east to west about 70, and its circumference about 170 miles.
NAME and ANCIENT HISTORY. - This county derives its name from the Saxons, it forming the northern district of East Anglia, and having been the residence of the "Northern folk." In the time of the Romans it formed a part of that warlike kingdom of the ancient Britons the Iceni. The Romans found in the aboriginal inhabitants of this county a race of heroes, who spurned at the idea of captivity; and who, with the illustrious Queen Boadicea at their head, defeated the proud invaders, and made a horrible carnage of their troops : the unfortunate sequel, with the subjugation of the ill-fated Britons, and the abandonment by them of their ancient province to their conquerors, is too well known to need narrating. The contiguity of Norfolk to Denmark laid its coast open to the barbarous incursions of the Danes; and Sweyn, King of Denmark, in consequence of the treacherous massacre of his people by Ethelred II, landed on the coast, and, marching his troops into the interior, burnt the cities of Norwich and Thetford. In the reign of Edward VI, at the æra of the reformation, a dangerous and alarming insurrection broke out in Norfolk, which was conducted by Ket, a tanner, of Norwich; the pretext for this rebellion was the dissolution of the monasteries and the alienation of the church lands: Ket acted as supreme administrator of affairs; and, being seated under a stately oak in the vicinity of Norwich (since called " the oak of reformation"), he issued his decrees with all the authority of a soveieign dictator. John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, afterwards Duke of Northumberland, marched against te rebels with a small army - at the same time offering a pardon to all, excepting the ringleaders: this operated in dispersing the insurgents; and Robert Ket was hung in chains, on the walls of Norwich castle. Christianity was introduced into this part of East Anglia at a very early period. Felix was constituted bishop, and fixed his residence at Dunwich, in Suffolk , the diocese was afterwards divided into two districts, Dunwich, and North Elmham, in Norfolk; the episcopal see was afterwards translated from Elmham to Thetford, and from thence to Norwich, where it now remains. The first bishop of Norwich was Herbert Lusigna, who died in 1119, the present bishop is Dr. Henry Bathurst, who was elevated to the mitre under the administration of Mr.Addington. The bishop is a baron of the realm, and sits in the house of peers - also as titular abbot of St. Bennet's, in Holrne; and is the only abbot at present in England.
SOIL and CLIMATE, PRODUCE and MANUFACTURES. - The face of the county of Norfolk varies less than in most tracts of equal extent in the kingdom : not a single hill of more than moderate height is to be seen, but its surface is in many parts broken into gentle undulations. The soil of the county is known to have a greater variety in it than is found in any other in England, and may be divided into five sorts or qualities: the distinct round Norwich consists of a sandy loam, and also of stiff wet land composed of a mixture of sand and clay; and to the west and north-west of the city a light sandy ground prevails: marsh-land may be considered a fifth district by itself, consisting of ooze, formed by a deposition from the sea; there are large tracts of swampy ground in the vicinity of Loddon, frequently inundated by land-floods, and producing little else but sedge and reeds; several of the western hundreds, from Thetford northwards, are open and bare, consisting of extensive heaths, having a light sandy or gravelly soil. The agricultural PRODUCE of this county comprises all sorts of grain in abundance, and natural grasses; peas, beans, vetches or tares; cole-seed, clovers, and other artificial grasses ;burnet, cocksfoot, chicary, cabbages, mangel-wurzel, turnips, carrots, and potatos - the latter invaluable root has but lately been adopted as a field-course. Among irregular crops may be reckoned mustard; saffron is also grown in many parts; flax is cultivated about Downham, and hemp near Old Buckenham. By the patriotic exertions and laudable example of Mr. Coke, every modern improvement in agriculture is fairly and experimentally laid open to the whole county. The fenny parts yield great quantities of butter, which is commonly sent to London under the name of "Cambridge butter." The sheep are a hardy, active and rather small breed, and much valued for their mutton; and innumerable Scotch and other beasts are fattened for the supply of Smithfield and its own markets. Turkeys are reared here to a larger size than in any other county in England, and form a considerable object of profit to the smaller farmers; they are much esteemed in London, and fetch very great prices - particularly about the festive season of Christmas, at which period immense quantities are forwarded to the metropolis. Rabbits are extremely numerous on the sandy heaths; and game of all kinds abounds throughout the county, especially pheasants, which are bred and preserved to such an extent as to prove a great annoyance to the farmer. The MANUFACTURES of this county, although of a most important and extensive character, are nevertheless confined to a small space: Norwich may he considered the nucleus of the prosperous trade arising from the labours of the loom. The fabrics consist chiefly of crapes, bombasins, and stuffs: the extent and variety of goods produced in that city is better exemplified in its directory than it can be done by detail in this page; we beg therefore to refer the reader to the classification of trades and manufactures in their places. Yarmouth enjoys considerable consequence, in the double capacity of a port and fishing-town; from its herring-fishery especially, and the peculiar and unrivalled method of curing that fish, it has long enjoyed great prosperity and note. Other towns in the county possess their several advantages, but no particular manufactures or trades are prominently exhibited. CLIMATE: - Considering the contiguity of this county to the ocean, and its being much exposed to north & north-easterly winds, the climate is more serene and mild than might be expected. The inhabitants near the coast are sometimes afflicted with ague; with the exception of this disease (which is not so prevalent in the interior of the county), the air of Norfolk is peculiarly salubrious and pleasant: the inhabitants have long been celebrated for their convalescence - an incontrovertible argument in support of the salubrity of its climate, and which tends to refute some misrepresentations that have been given of the state of the atmosphere of Norfolk. The sea coast of Norfolk is formed either by clayey cliffs, continually a prey to the ocean ; or by low sandy shores, covered with loose pebbles, and frequently rising into a kind of natural bank, composed of sand, held together by the roots of the sea reed-grass; behind these sand-hills are in various parts salt marches of considerable extent, occasionally inundated by the tides, which find entrance through the gaps between the hillocks. Hanstanton-cliff, at the mouth of the Wash, is the only rocky eminence on the coast. Various small ports are made, on the north side, by creeks and little bays; but they can only admit small vessels, and are continually filling up with sand. Banks of sand lie off at sea from the Norfolk coast in various parts, which are the dread of the coasting mariners, and occasion frequent shipwrecks; of these the most remarkable are the Yarmouth sands, running parallel to Yarmouth roads - a great resort for shipping, which ride there securely, though the entrance is difficult and hazardous. The roads throughout this county in general are excellent, and the navigation by sea and different rivers almost belts the country round.
There is not a county in England so distinguished for the native industry of its inhabitants, nor is there one superior for the beauty and neatness of the farms. The Norfolk farmer exhibits, both in himself and his farm, characteristic traits of excellence: industrious, economical, yet hospitable - habitually neat in his person - and presenting in his farm every thing that can evince the most sedulous attention, and comprehensive judgment:, with respect to its agriculture. A celebrated topographer, in eulogizing Norfolk, says - "Whether we survey this county with respect in its climate, its population, its trade and commerce, the character of its inhabitants, the diversified beauties of prospect which embellish it, or especially with respect to the improved state of agriculture, it may with propriety be denominated ' THE GLORY OF ENGLAND.' "
RIVERS and CANALS: - The principal rivers which have their source in this county, and others which pass through it, are, the Great Ouse, the Little Ouse, the Nen, the Waveney, the Wensum, the Yare, the Bure, and the Nar. The Great Ouse rises in Huntingdonshire, and after passing Huntingdon, St. Ives, and Ely, enters this county on the south-west, and, running north-east, falls into the German ocean below Lynn Regis. The Little Ouse rises about the middle of the Suffolk border, and, separating the two counties as it flows north-west, becomes navigable from Thetford, and empties itself into the Great Ouse not far from Downham. The Nen, rising in Northamptonshire, passes the towns of Northampton, Thrapstone, Oundle, Peterborough, and Wisbeach, and forms the western boundary of this county; and after communicating by several channels with the Ouse, falls into the sea at the Lincolnshire washes. The Waveney has its source separated from that of the Little Ouse by a causeway only; and, running north-east, forms the rest of the Suffolk boundary; being navigable from Bungay to its junction with the Yare, a little above Yarmouth, where it falls into the North sea. The Yare rises near Shipdham, in the centre of the county; and being joined by the Tase on the south, and the Wensum on the south-east of Norwich, flows on to Yarmouth, near which it receives the streams of the Waveney, Bure and Thyrne. The Bure, joined by the Thyrne and other smaller streams from the north-east, meets the Yare to the north-west of Yarmouth; it is navigable to Aylsham. The-Wensum has its source at West Rudham, in this county; it environs the city of Norwich, and falls into the Yare. The Nar has its source at Nitcham; it is navigable as far as Narborough, and falls into the Greater Ouse; The smaller Streams, flowing through nearly a level country, are slow in their course, and frequently diffuse themselves over the lower tracts in their progress, forming shallow lakes, here called "broads," which are plentifully stored with fish and water-fowl; on some of them are decoys for wild-ducks. CANALS: - The inland navigation of this county at present is upon a small scale. A canal has been formed from Wisbeach, in Cambridgeshire, to Outwell-creek and Salters-load, in Norfolk - extending about six miles. In 1795 an act of parliament was obtained for cutting a navigable canal from the Eaw bank to Lvnn Regis, and in 1895 another act was passed for amending the former one; other canals have been projected at different times, but the want of due patronage has prevented them being carried into excecution.
Norfolk is in the province of Canterbury and diocese of Norwich, and gives name to a circuit. The county is divided into 33 hundreds, namely -
these are subdivided into 660 parishes, containing one city and county town (Norwich), and 32 other market towns. The whole county returns 12 members to parliament, viz. two for the SHIRE, two for the city of NORWICH, and two each for the towns of CASTLE RISING, LYNN REGIS, THETFORD, and YARMOUTH; the present representatives of the shire are Edmund Wodehouse and Thomas William Coke, Esquires. The marine government of the county is vested in a naval officer of high jurisdiction, who is called the Vice-Admiral of Norfolk.
POPULATION. - According to the census of 1821, there were houses inhabited in the county, 62,274; uninhabited, 1,269; and houses building, 525. The number of families then resident in the county was 74,498, comprising 166,892 males, and 177,476 females; total, 344,368: and by a calculation made by order of government, which included persons in the army and navy, for which was added after the ratio of about one to 30 prior to the year 1811, and one to 50 for that year and the census of 1821, to the returns made from the several districts, the population of the county, in round numbers, in the year 1700, was 210,200 - in 1750, 215,100 - in 1801, 282,400 - in 1811, 301,800 - and in 1821, 351,300. The increased population in the 50 years, from the year 1700, was 4,900 - from 1750 to 1801, the increase was 67,300 - from 1801 to 1811, the increase was 19,400 - and from 1811 to 1821, the augmented number of persons was 49,500: the grand total increase in the population of the county, from the year 1700 to the census of 1821, being about 141,100 persons.