Cringleford and the 1861 census.

The 1861 census returns give a precise picture of the village in April of that year. Cringleford was then a small village of thirty-eight households with a total population of 207, living essentially on either side of the turnpike road from Norwich to London. There were houses on the turnpike, the Loke, along what is now Colney Lane (then known as Newfound Lane), along Keswick Road and what is now Cantley Lane (originally the Ketteringham Road).
It was a surprisingly mixed community. At the top of the social scale were Mrs. Anne Patteson and her unmarried daughter, Elizabeth, living in Cringleford House on her shares in a brewery. They had six servants, including a coachman. James Bateman, a town councilor and merchant in wool, silk, yard and cotton, probably lived in Hill Grove. Alfred Massey, a widower of 45, described himself as a ‘landed proprietor’ and lived with an elderly man-servant in The Grove on Newfound Lane. Frederick Girdlestone, a ‘gentleman’, lived at Ford End with a husband and wife as gardener and servant. The perpetual curate of Cringleford, Edward Priest lived by the church with his wife and teenage son and daughter, neither of whom had an occupation. The Rev William Davie, the curate of Intwood and Keswick, and already a widower at the age of 38, lived with his four young children at Cringleford Hall. They were looked after by Elizabeth Martin (23 years old), the cook and dairymaid, Maria Martin (20) the laundry maid, and Mary Hastings (20), a house maid,
Then there were the farmers who owned land and employed men to work it. Robert Primrose (32) owned the 210 acres of Newfound Farm and employed six men and one boy. William Tyler (65) described himself as ‘copyhold farmer’, employing one labourer and one boy. John Reynolds (34) farmed the 78 acres of Pond Farm with one labourer and one boy. On the opposite side of the turnpike, Abraham Cannell and his son Abraham farmed Corporation Farm, 100 acres, and employed three labourers and two boys. George George (62) and his sister Hannah (58) worked 400 acres with 16 men and 6 boys. They also employed a house servant, a dairy servant and a team man, presumably to look after the horses.
The miller, too, was an important man in the village. Horatio Candler’s family had arrived in Cringleford in 1775, and he lived in the Mill House with his wife and ten children whose ages ranged from 19 to 1. They employed a cook maid, a house maid and a nurse maid.
The census begins at the mill and moves along Newmarket Road (then London Road), up and back down Colney Lane and then continues along Newmarket Road. The houses are not individually identified, but the position of the big houses and farms is known. So there is a rough identification of the location of the other households.
Between the toll-house and Ford End were five houses. In them lived a coachman, John Raynes, with his wife and three young children; Edward Edwards, a tailor, his wife and two young children; Samuel King aged 23, a miller journey man who presumably worked for Horatio Candler in the mill, with his young wife who also worked as a milliner and dressmaker; William Buck who, at the age of 22 described himself as an ‘engineer’, with a slightly older wife; and a blacksmith journeyman, Isaac Adcock, aged 60 and living with a 20 year-old daughter who is described as a house servant. A wheelwright journeyman lodged with them.
Next to the ‘Parsonage’ lived John Cracknell, a wheelwright and master smith with his wife and two children. An 18-year-old apprentice wheelwright also lived in the house. On his other side lived Robert Page, aged 28, a policeman. His wife worked as a dressmaker and they had three young children. This group of workmen was well placed to serve not only the farms, but also casual traffic along the main road.
There was a small cluster of houses at the bottom of Colney Lane. The head of one house was Lucy Guffin a 66-year-old unmarried laundress: she was living with her son-in-law, a blacksmith journeyman, his wife, who also worked as a laundress, and their two young children. It looks as though they were even able to afford a servant. A widowed charwoman, Louisa Bassett, lived in one house with her three young children. John Cunningham, an agricultural labourer lived with his wife and two grownup sons who were unmarried and worked as a gardener and a groom. His daughter, 19 years old and unmarried, helped at home and the 13-year-old son was a scholar. Hannah Cunningham, presumably John’s mother, described as a ‘pauper’, was ‘boarding’ with them.
Seven houses are listed between The Grove, on Colney Lane, and the schoolmaster’s house on Keswick Road. Three were the farmers who owned their land and employed men and boys. Then there was another miller journeyman, Davy Adcock, aged 34 and living with his wife and four children. Sarah Nath, a widow at the age of 37, was supporting herself and her two young children by working as a laundress. William Nichols was a farm bailiff. His unmarried daughter, aged 20 was earning money as a dressmaker and the 14-year-old son was already working as a carpenter. There was also a one-year-old baby. Listed as ‘by the turnpike’ was John Dugdale, a coachman, aged 38, with his wife and three children.
Beyond the school another seven houses are listed. These households sound rather more humble. Mary Bartlett, a widow and 76 years old was a pauper, living with her daughter, aged 55 and her son-in-law, aged 33, who was supporting them by working as a groom. Charles Darnes, a widower, and his son (19) both worked as agricultural labourers. Two younger sons also lived there and Charles’ mother-in-law ran the house.  Robert Woolner, an agricultural labourer and his wife, Elizabeth, had four children. James Moore was a carter and he and his wife had three children. Simon Sayer and Edward Palmer were both agricultural labourers. Harriet Horstead, a widow lived with her two sons who were agricultural labourers and an unmarried daughter aged 18 who worked as a servant. The next two entries are George George, a substantial farmer and William Davie, the curate of Intwood and Keswick who lived at Cringleford Hall.  This suggests that the houses were along Keswick Road or Cantley Lane and the farm was Meadow Farm. One final house is listed, that of John Shaw who was a groom and gardener. With them was living John’s uncle, aged 65, a widower and farm labourer.
These bare details conceal a wide range of human stories, but one has to use one’s imagination to bring them to life. They immediately suggest a vibrant, socially mixed community and, in many ways, a self-sufficient one. No shopkeepers are listed: presumably the shops in Eaton were near enough.
What is immediately striking is the number of young people in the village. Over half of the population was under the age of thirty and a significant number were under the age of 20. Even among the heads of the 38 households 14 were aged under 40 and 7 were even under the age of 30. Moreover they were not Cringleford born and bred. Only five of the heads of households and only 52 of the total population of 207 had been born in Cringleford. Significantly, of those 52, 41 were children. The inhabitants of Cringleford had come predominantly from Norfolk, several from Norwich and Eaton Hamlet, but also from all over the county. It looks very much as though the village offered good opportunities for work. 31 servants were employed in the village, the farms employed labourers and the village’s position on the main road between London and Norwich was ideal for independent workmen. It was also a nice place to live. It all sounds remarkably modern. People were coming to Cringleford to work and to live, to settle and to raise their children.

Pat Wagstaff