Downham Market  Norfolk


In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Downham Market like this:

DOWNHAM, or Downham-Market, a town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district in Norfolk. The town stands on the side of a hill, at the river Ouse, adjacent to the Lynn and Ely railway, 11 miles S by W of Lynn. It has recently undergone much improvement; contains a spacious ornamental market square; has a head post office, ‡ a banking office, a railway station, two chief inns, a recently-erected commodious court-house, a church, four dissenting chapels, a cemetery with two mortuary chapels, a mechanics' institute, two public schools, a spacious and handsome workhouse, and charities £149; had anciently a Benedictine priory, belonging to Ramsey abbey; and is a seat of petty sessions and county courts, and a polling-place. ...

Markets are held on Saturdays: and fairs on 3 March, 8 May, and 13 Nov. A great trade in butter, for the London market, was long done; but has in good measure been removed to Swaffham. Pop., 2, 458. Houses, 567.—The parish comprises 2, 490 acres. Real property, £13, 651. Pop., 3, 133. Houses, 657. The property is much subdivided. The manor belonged to Ramsey abbey. The land is fenny, and much frequented by wild fowl, but includes much good dairy pasture. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Norwich. Value, £403. Patron, Rev. E. R. Franks.—The sub-district contains the parishes of Downham, Crimplesham, Bexwell, Ryston, Denver, Fordham, Roxham, Hillgay, and Southery, and parts of the parishes of Wimbotsham, Stow-Bardolph, and Upwell,-the last partly in Cambridgeshire. Acres, 28, 686. Pop., 8, 878. Houses, 1,883. The district comprehends also the sub-district of Fincham, containing the parishes of Fincham, Barton-Bendish, Marham, West Dereham, Wereham, Wretton, Stoke-Ferry, Boughton, and Stradsett; and the sub-district of Wiggenhall, containing the parishes of Wiggenhall-St. Mary-the-Virgin, Wiggenhall-St. Mary-Magdalene, Wiggenhall-St. Germans, Wiggenhall-St. Peter, Watlington, Tottenhill, Wormegay, Shouldham, Shouldham-Thorpe, South Runcton, Holme-next-Runcton, Wallington-cum-Thorpland, and parts of Wimbotsham and Stow-Bardolph. Acres, 83, 687. Poor-rates in 1862, 13, 344. Pop. in 1841, 19, 202; in 1861, 20, 264. Houses, 4, 336. Marriages in 1860, 137; births, 657, -of which 70 were illegitimate; deaths, 411, -of which 150 were at ages under 5 years, and 12 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1, 464; births, 7, 207; deaths, 4, 229. The places of worship in 1851 were 34 of the Church of England, with 7, 458 sittings; 6 of Baptists, with 771 s.; 2 of Quakers, with 245 s.; 22 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 3, 109 s.; 22 of Primitive Methodists, with 2, 204 s.; and 4 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 440 s. The schools were 20 public day schools, with 1, 443 scholars; 47 private day schools, with 823 s.; 46 Sunday schools, with 2, 691 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 2 s.

Downham Market through time

Downham Market is now part of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk district. Click here for graphs and data of how Kings Lynn and West Norfolk has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Downham Market itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Downham Market in Kings Lynn and West Norfolk | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 23rd June 2021

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