In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Diss like this:
DISS, a town, a parish, a sub-district, and a hundred, in Norfolk. The town stands on the river Waveney, at the boundary with Suffolk, ½ a mile W of the Eastern Union railway, and 19½ SSW of Norwich. It chiefly occupies an acclivity, encompassed by a large sheet of water; presents an airy and prosperous appearance; and has a head post office, ‡ a railway station with telegraph, two banking offices, two chief inns, a corn exchange, a parish church, six dissenting chapels, and charities £187. ...
The corn exchange was built in 1854; and is handsome and commodious. The church is early English, good and beautiful. A cemetery, with two chapels, was formed in 1869. Markets are held on Fridays; fairs on the 3d Friday of Sept., and 8 Nov.; and there are manufactures of brushes, cocoa-matting, and malt liquors. Ralph De Diceto, dean of St. Paul's in the time of Henry II., Friar Walter, confessor to the Duke of Lancaster, and John Skelton, poet laureate to Henry VIII., were natives. Pop., 3, 164. Houses, 669. -The parish comprises 3, 627 acres. Real property, £14, 134; of which £235 are in canals. Pop., 3, 710. Houses, 785. The property is much subdivided. The manor belonged anciently to the Crown; and was given by Edward I. to the Fitzwalters. Diss Common has a post office under Diss; and Diss-Heywood has a chapel-school, built in 1865. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Norwich. Value, £715.* Patron, the Rev.R. Manning.The sub-district contains 12 parishes; and is in Depwade district. Acres, 17, 412. Pop., 7, 567. Houses, 1, 624. The hundred contains 16 parishes. Acres, 25, 000. Pop., 9, 851. Houses, 2, 129.
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 Diss has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of South Norfolk. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Diss and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Diss in South Norfolk | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 12th December 2013
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