Carbrooke Fete 2011

Carbrooke Fete 2011

Carbrooke village located in the Wayland Hundred of Norfolk. The name and layout probably Saxon, or perhaps even Roman, as both Roman and Saxon remains have been found in the area, as well as flint axes and arrow heads from previous times.

The first census carried out in Britain - the Domesday Survey of 1085, to establish who owned which and how much land, Carbrooke is mentioned as Cherebroc.

The Church of St Peter and Paul.

 Carbrooke Church 1991

At the centre of the village and set on a high point, it was founded in 1193 by Maud Countess of Clare, and gifted to the Knights Hospitallers. The building was built over an earlier Church, and represents the place Carbrooke had, in the Mediaeval world of Knights and Crusades.

It wasn’t until after the dissolution of the monasteries (including the Commanderie of the Knights of St John in Carbrooke) by 1540, that another attempt at discovering the population of Britain took place. It became a legal requirement of the Church from 1538 to keep records of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, but this depended on the will and/or ability of the local vicar, as to how well they were kept, and how much information they contained, nowadays records are kept to a format.

Some of the vicars must have had trouble with the local dialect, as, looking through the registers, I have noticed, in early 1800’s John Farrow also entered as John Farrer, Robert Quadling/Quadlin, John Mowles/Moules, as well as other obvious spelling mistakes.

Carbrooke Church registers are now  in Norfolk Records Office (80 items)  where they can be studied by the public, previously  they were kept in the Parish Chest in the Church, which is still there, but not in the best of conditions! Those still in use are kept in the church.

Carbrooke Parish Chest 2011

 Again, by 1800, the government had no idea of the British population. The Industrial revolution had begun, and people were moving from the countryside to the towns and cities, to improve (or so they hoped), their standard of living. The French revolution had also recently taken place, the ruling classes were fearful of revolution breaking out, and wanted to know the location of dense populations, Britain was also at war with France and the government need to know how many men would be available to fight it required.

Between 1816 and 1819 John Wynnell (a soldier) and his wife Elizabeth baptised two children in Carbrooke church. He doesn’t appear to be local, and moved on after 1819.

In 1801 a census was commissioned, not very detailed, and only a head count. Between 1801 and 1831 census’ were taken but not kept, although some local census can still be found, the first complete census was carried out on 6th June 1841, and every 10 years  since, (except 1941, due to the war). An enumerator had to visit every home, and list the inhabitants, as many were illiterate, obviously he had to believe what he was told, - as today!  As time has gone on and the population better educated, we are expected to complete the forms ourselves, the information required becoming more detailed.

A school was established in Carbrooke in 1836 by landowner Richard Dewing, the first mistress being Miss Young. In 1846 it became a Church School for all local children, the government introduced educational reform, and from 1870 all children were required to attend school by law.

The population generally began moving away from church attendance, or were attending Non-Conformist churches, (in Carbrooke the Methodist Church), which appealed to agricultural as well as industrial communities. Carbrooke Methodist Chapel was founded in 1870 in Mill Lane. Prior to this '1 and 2 Chapel Cottages' on Broadmoor Road were built in1860 as a Primitive Methodist Chapel. The Chapel built in Mill Lane closed in 1988 and is now a private house. There was also an Independant Chapel in Broadmoor Road founded in 1833.

In 1837 the government introduced civil registration, whereby it became a legal requirement to inform the local registrar of any birth, marriage or death.

Carbrooke Population:

(1821 = 771)  (1831 = 789) (1841 = 807)   (1851 =796)  (1881 = 612) (1894 = 534)  (1901 = 573)   (2001 =1176)  (2007 = 1310)

Francis Whites History, Gazeteer and Directory of Norfolk, describes Carbrooke in 1854.

Containing 178 houses and 796 inhabitants. The principal landowners were Sir W.R. Clayton, Richard Dewing Esq. and Mr John Wace. Lady of the Manor (of Carbrooke) was Mrs Mary Grigson of Saham Toney. Vicar Rev William Wells. A school was built in 1836 by Richard Dewing who also chiefly supported it.

Working through the census' is incredibly interesting, but at times difficult, as with age and accidents some of the entries are difficult, if not impossible to read, even so it is possible to follow a family as it grows and then separates to produce further households within a community. The birth, marriage and burial records can be studied to further enhance the details. Old maps give us further clues to the history of Carbrooke, some road names have changed, and many of the houses particularly poor cottages, had no name. In a close knit community, people would know where each other lived. There was no official postal service until 1837 and as the majority of the poor were unable to read or write it was not really necessary for them to have an address.

Local Road and Place Names and Changes

Broadmoor Road, Chapel Lane (now Mill Lane) which extended across Broadmoor to Wood Farm, Fen Road (now Shipdham Road, - beyond Manor Farm approx.), Tun Moor, Manor House Lane (now Shidham Road between Church Street and Manor Farm approx.), Church Street, Bridge Street, Drury Lane, Caudle Green (now Caudle Springs), Summer Lane, Caston Road, Ovington Road/Boundary, Meadow Lane,  Willow Corner, Cuckoo Lane, Muttons Corner, Kippen Ash.

The Norwich Road (B1108) was called the Turn Pike Road, as it was a Toll Road (with Toll Cottage) at the Attleborough/Norwich Road junction,still referred to by people in the village as Muttons Corner after the family who were living in the Toll Cottage in 1901.

Carbrooke has a very typical English and well mixed housing stock. The wide variety of buildings represent the people of Carbrooke who have followed the customs of the times in building their houses, we have plenty of farm houses, and farm cottages representing the chief occupation of agriculture. The oldest building in the village no doubt Manor Farm, built mid 1600’s. The Manor of Carbrooke was mentioned in Domesday, so the present building probably replaced previous buildings.


Cottages in clay lump, for example, the Thatched Cottage opposite the Church, sadly this is the only thatched house left in Carbrooke, but in the past almost all buildings would have been thatched, as tiles were expensive.

Parish records record John Mowles and Thomas Leveridge as thatchers during the 1820’s and1830’s.  

Brick and stone built cottages, social housing built in 1930’s and 1950s, (Mill Lane, Drury Lane and opposite the school), retirement bungalows of 1960’s, Muriel Close 1990’s all typical of their period.



Individual housing built over the years typically reflects the building styles in the country at the time, Dormer bungalows on Shipdham Road 1960/70, the brick built houses of the 1980s, and the modern houses built in ‘old Style’ of the 1990’s. Over the years houses have been built and later demolished, in some places being replaced by a new building. For example the farm cottages opposite Oak Farm on Shipdham Road replace 2 older cottages that were demolished in early 2000’s, Pear tree bungalow replaces a former Pear Tree Cottage. Today we expect to live in larger houses with more personal space, and so extensions have been added, or cottages have been combined to create a larger house, this can perhaps be revealed by the number of chimneys a row of cottages may have, for example Pendle Cottage/West Cottage have 4 chimneys between them, with blocked up doorways just visible, and probably at one time were 4 cottages. Families in the past were generally bigger, and it is unbelievable nowadays, as to how perhaps a family of 6 or 8 people would fit in a cottage with only one downstairs and one upstairs room, this was common and possibly even desirable, as farm labourers were extremely poor in country areas, especially during the agricultural depression of the 1880’s, and to have a roof over your head was something to be grateful for.

Agriculture and Industry

The main occupation was Agriculture, with the majority of inhabitants, agricultural labourers. (Local surnames include Page, Platfoot, Ainger, and Newson). There were a fair few farmers, for example Minns, Alpe, and Wace, and many of the smaller farmers were able to combine this with other occupations, no doubt through necessity!

William (a labourer) and his wife Sarah Barker obviously had high hopes for their son when they baptised him in 1826 –Wealthy Barker!

Agriculture during the 1870’s and 1880’s in Britain was in decline, and so was the population of Carbrooke, with the introduction of mechanisation, and the import of cheap crops from America, and increasingly meat from Australia and Argentina. Many labourers left the countryside, looking for better conditions in towns, cities and even abroad. Whether they found them is debatable with the overcrowding and disease in the slums of the cities, but staying behind they risked starvation, eviction or the workhouse at Rockland All Saints, which was absolutely feared and many did prefer to starve than enter the workhouse.

Carbrooke was a self-sufficient village, boasting Pubs, Post Office, with occupations recorded, Wheelwrights (George Catton and Joshua Buck 1820’s and 30’s), Iron founder, Constable, Shopkeeper, Butcher (Robert Dennis 1825), Baker, Blacksmith - where the Carbrooke Garage stands next to the Village Hall (Thomas Hipkins 1828), Shoemaker Edward Sayer 1820/30s, Thatcher, Tailor and Beer dealer –unusual combination!- John Harvey 1832, Bricklayer, Plasterer, Carpenter – Robert Murrell 1820/30s, Miller – John Land 1825, John Rumble 1835 and even a Mariner – William Morgan in 1836! Another unusual combination in 1901 was Publican and crab dealer! In the early 1900’s there was even a hairdresser and fried fish shop!

Gravel has been extracted from the gravel pits between Summer Lane and Mill Lane for many years originally by  The Minns family a Carbrooke farming family, but now owned by Frimstone Ltd. and ‘4 Leaf Enterprises’.

Carbrooke Pubs: