In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Great Walsingham like this:
WALSINGHAM, a small town, a sub-district, and a district, in Norfolk. The town stands on the river Stiff-key, and on the Eastern Counties railway, 5 miles N by E of Fakenham; is in the parish of New Walsingham; was formerly famous for an Augustinian priory, founded in 1061 by Faverches; had also a grey friary founded in 1346 by the Clares, and a lepers' hospital; drew to its shrines, for a long period, many distinguished pilgrims, one of the last of whom was Henry VIII. in the second year of his reign; gives the title of Baron to the family De Grey; is a seat of petty-sessions and county courts; and has a post-office‡ under Fakenham, a r. ...
station, a police station formerly a bridewell, a parish church, Independent and Wesleyan chapels, an endowed grammar-school with £110 a year, a national school, eight alms houses, charities £180, and three annual fairs. The priory was preceded by a chantry, built in imitation of the Sancta Casa at Nazareth; contained a highly venerated image of the Virgin, which Henry VIII. eventually caused to be burnt at Chelsea; was devastated at the Reformation; and is now represented mainly by the W entrance-gateway, by a window-arch 60 feet high, and by part of the cloisters. The parish church is later English and cruciform; has a tower with slender spire; and has been partially restored. See Walsingham (Little).The sub-district contains 19 parishes. Acres, 28,251. Pop., 6,492. Houses, 1,437. -The district includes also Fakenham and Wells sub-districts, and comprises 87,342 acres. Poor rates in 1863, £13,438. Pop. in 1851, 21,883; in 1861, 21,118. Houses, 4,724. Marriages in 1863, 134; births, 601,- of which 74 were illegitimate; deaths, 440,-of which 134 were at ages under 5 years, and 26 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,447; births, 6,728; deaths, 4,402. The places of worship, in 1851, were 48 of the Church of England, with 10,705 sittings; 9 of Independents, with 993 s.; 4 of Baptists, with 754 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 160 s.; 14 of wesleyans, with 1,948 s.; 22 of Primitive Methodists, with 2,489 s.; and 6 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 712 s. The schools were 30 public day-schools, with 2,070 scholars; 58 private day-schools, with 1,205 s.; 52 Sunday schools, with 2,873 s.; and 7 evening schools for adults, with 97 s. The workhouse stands on the boundary with Great Snoring, about a mile S of Walsingham.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Great Walsingham has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of North Norfolk. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Great Walsingham and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Great Walsingham in North Norfolk | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 12th December 2013
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