Attleburgh, or Attleborough (St. Mary)

ATTLEBURGH, or Attleborough (St. Mary), a market-town and parish, in the union of Wayland, hundred of Shropham, W. division of Norfolk, 15 miles (S. W. by W.) from Norwich, and 94 (N. E. by N.) from London; containing 1959 inhabitants. This place derives its name from Atheling, or Attlinge, a Saxon chieftain, by whom it is supposed to have been originally founded; and from a burgh or fortress, by which it was defended against the frequent incursions of the Danes. It was anciently the capital of Norfolk, and the residence of Offa and Edmund, kings of East Anglia; and was subsequently the seat of the Mortimer family, the site of whose baronial hall is still encompassed by a moat. In the reign of Richard II., Robert de Mortimer founded a collegiate establishment, in the church of the Holy Cross, for a warden and four secular priests; the revenue was estimated at £21. 16. 3., and, with the site, was granted to the Earl of Essex. The town, of which a considerable portion was destroyed by fire in 1559, is at present of very inconsiderable extent, consisting principally of one long street; it lies on the road from Norwich to Thetford, and has a station on the Norwich and Thetford railway, being about midway between those places. The market is chiefly for corn, and is on Thursday; fairs are held on the Thursday before Easter and Whitsuntide, and on the 15th August. The powers of the county debt-court of Attleburgh, established in 1847, extend over the registration-districts of Guiltcross and Wayland. The former town comprised the two parishes of Attleburgh Major and Minor; the first a rectory, valued in the king's books at £19. 8. 9.; and the second a vicarage, valued at £8. 2. 6.: they are now united, and the present parish comprises 5251a. 1r. 25p., of which 3955 acres are arable, and 1244 meadow and pasture. The livings constitute one rectory, in the patronage of the Rev. Sir E. B. Smyth, Bart.: the tithes have been commuted for £1500, and the glebe comprises 17 acres, with a handsome house. The church is a venerable cruciform structure in the decorated English style, with a square embattled tower rising from the centre, and a porch of elegant design; it was repaired and beautified in 1844, at a cost of £1200. There are places of worship for Baptists and Wesleyans. The patron has allotted 24 acres of land to the poor, in small lots, for garden-ground; 57a. 2r. were also assigned to them at the time of the inclosure, and 20 acres for the repairs of the church. A house called the College-house occupies the site of the ancient college. There are two springs in the parish, slightly chalybeate.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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