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Archdeaconry of Norfolk, Deanery of Cranwich 

(Courtesy Mr Keith Mansey)

Hockwold St. Peter

Bishops have a duty to arrange visitations to parishes, but in the seventeenth century few were as conscientious as Bishop Redman. The visitation to St. Peter's in Hockwold, like all the others, had to cover certain points and St. Peter's failed the first two. In Elizabethan times, there was a concern that, in rural communities especially, people were marrying within the forbidden degrees of relationship. The limitations were rather more severe then, and it was decided that each church should contain a table explaining this in detail. In this extract 'want' means 'have not got' so the board was missing from Hockwold's church. Also missing was a decent surplice for the rector, an item which should have been supplied by the churchwardens on behalf of the people.

 The physical condition of the church was also investigated. Although there are a couple of things needing doing, on the whole St. Peter's was in better shape than many other churches.

 The visitation also had to look at the qualifications and character of the priest, and the religious health of the parishioners. Fortunately, the Rector, Mr Styles, must have been properly qualified, and must have carried out the necessary number of services in an adequate fashion. Any problems with the clergy were carefully reported. In Cranwich, for example, it was noted that there were only four sermons in a year. Incidentally, the mention of Mr. Styles is further evidence that the entry refers to Hockwold, which had a rector, rather than to Wilton which then had a vicar. It is also nice to see that none of the parishioners were cited for religious backsliding, or immorality. For examples of these, you will have to read Volume XVIII of the Norfolk Records Society publications.


Thomas Cooper, Edmund Dobbs Churchwardens.

 They want the table of the degrees in marriage and a surplesse. The roofe of the church and the churchyard want reparacions. (Said of the roof) the plomer is working on yt.

 Mr Styles, rector. The chauncell wyndowes want glasinge. (Said) that the said wyndowes wer never glassed but are decayed againe. (To be repaired before 8 December).    

I understand from Mr. Mansey that the repairs have now been completed.  


Wilton, St. James

 The entry for Wilton is possibly the most brief in the whole register. I do not know if this was indifference. I prefer to see it as an affirmation that all was well. There is a complaint that the vicar does not give a monthly sermon. However, the word 'dismissed' refers to the charge, not to the reverend gentleman.

 The Vicar. He preacheth not his monthly sermons. Dismissed.

  Last Update: Friday 4 October, 2019 20:11
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