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Upwell (St. Peter)

UPWELL (St. Peter), a parish, in the union of Wisbech, partly in the hundred of Wisbech, Isle of Ely, county of Cambridge, and partly in the hundred of Clackclose, W. division of the county of Norfolk, 65 miles (S. E. by S.) from Wisbech; containing, with part of the chapelry of Welney, 4891 inhabitants, of whom 4300 are in Upwell township. The village is intersected by the river Nene, and the houses extend along its banks nearly to Outwell and Welney. The country about Welney, which lies in the cultivated fens of the Great Bedford Level, has been much improved within the last thirty years. A handsome suspension-bridge was erected over the Hundred-Foot river in 1826, at the expense of the Rev. W. G. Townley, the rector, from a design by Capt. Sir Samuel Brown. King John granted a market on Wednesday, and Henry VI. an annual fair; the former has been discontinued, and the latter is now only a pleasure-fair. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £16; net income, £3855; patron, R. G. Townley, Esq. The church, which, with the greater part of the parish, is in Norfolk, is a handsome edifice in the later English style, and has a tower, the upper part octagonal, surmounted by a lofty spire. The Rev. Mr. Townley repewed it chiefly at his own expense, and erected galleries, in 1839, and more recently put up a beautiful east window of stained glass, representing the Descent from the Cross. The reading-desk and pulpit, and other portions of the edifice, are finely carved. In the chancel are several neat monuments, two sepulchral brasses, and a brass plate recording the death of 67 persons here between June 21st and August 13th, 1832, by cholera. At Welney is a chapel of ease. There are places of worship for Baptists and Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists. The poor have £180 per annum, derived from land left by various individuals. In that part of the parish lying in Cambridgeshire are the sites of two religious houses, one of which, at Mirmound, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was founded by Richard I., and at the Dissolution was valued at £10. 7. 7.; the other, a small priory of Gilbertines, also dedicated to the Virgin, was a cell to the house of Sempringham, valued at £13. 6. 1.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.

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