Caistor (St. Edmund's)

CAISTOR (St. Edmund's), a parish, in the union and hundred of Henstead, E. division of Norfolk, 3½ miles (S.) from Norwich; containing 147 inhabitants. This place, though at present inconsiderable, was one of the most flourishing cities of the Britons, and the residence of the kings of the Iceni; it was also the Venta Icenorum of the Romans, and the principal station of that people in the territory of the Iceni, from the ruins of which the present city of Norwich gradually rose. The walls of the ancient city, which was deserted after the departure of the Romans in 446, were in the form of a parallelogram, inclosing an area of about 32 acres, within which foundations of buildings may be traced. The remains consist of a single fosse and vallum, and were surrounded by a strong wall as an additional rampart, built upon the vallum, the inclosed space being capable of containing 6000 men. On the north, east, and south sides, are large mounds raised from the fosse, and the west side has one formed on the margin of the river Taas, as are also the remains of the Water-Gate. Within the area of the camp, at the south-east angle, stands the church, the materials for building which were evidently taken from the ruins of the rampart. The parish comprises about 1045 acres: the river Taas, which once filled the whole valley, is now an inconsiderable stream. The living is a rectory, with that of Merkshall or Mattishall-Heath united, valued in the king's books at £9, and in the patronage of Mrs. H. Dashwood: the tithes have been commuted for £445, and the glebe comprises 58½ acres, with a house. The church is partly in the early style, with a square embattled tower, and has a font exhibiting very curious sculpture.

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

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