Little Snoring's Past

Little Snoring St Andrews Pencil

Little Snoring Information & History

Little Snoring is a village and a civil parish in the English county of Norfolk.

The village is 4.7 miles (7.6 km) east-north-east of the town of Fakenham, 19.8 miles (31.9 km) west-south-west of Cromer and 118 miles (190 km) north-north-east of London. The nearest railway station is at Sheringham for the Bittern Line which runs between Sheringham, Cromer and Norwich. The nearest airport is Norwich International Airport.

The village is situated on the north west side of the A148 King’s Lynn to Cromer road.  The parish had, in the 2001 census, a population of 603. For the purposes of local government, the parish falls within the district of North Norfolk.

Little Snoring has an entry in the Domesday Book of 1085. In the great book Little Snoring is recorded by the names EsnaringaSnaringa and Snarlinga. It was the king's land with the main landholders being William de Warenne and Peter de Valognes and his main tenant is said to be Ralph.

The church of Little Snoring St Andrew is one of 124 existing round-tower churches in Norfolk. The church and its separate tower are Grade I listed buildings

As well as a church, the village has an airfield, formerly RAF Little Snoring, part of which is still active as a private airfield, whilst the other part now belongs to a potato-producing company called BM. Other amenities in the village include a school, post office and a pub, the Green Man.

Within the parish of Little Snoring, at a place called Queensgate, was situated a house of the Order of St Lazarus. It is mentioned in the will of Alexander, Rector of Snoring Parva, in 1380. Nothing further about the house is known, however it is believed that it may have been located at Church Farm which dates back to this period and is surrounded by a moat.

Little Snoring Parish & Church

(From "An Essay Towards A Topographical History Of The County Of Norfolk". Volume Vii. By The Late Rev. Charles Parkin, A. M. Rector Of Oxburgh, In The County Of Norfolk") Download HERE 27MB

The parish of Little Snoring is situated near the northern extremity of the Hundred of Gallow, upon the road from Wells to Fakenham, about 3 ¼ miles north-east of the latter town, and is in the Rural Deanery of Burnham, Archdeaconry of Lynn, and Diocese of Norwich.

It has an area of 1,524 acres, mostly belonging to the Scott-Chad family and Lord Hastings, the latter being lord of the Manor. There was a population of 271 in 1821, living in 45 houses, 287 in 1831, 240 in 1841, 250 in 1871, 276 in 1881, and in 1891 there were 260 inhabitants.

Besides the Parish Church, the village possesses a Primitive Methodist Chapel, erected in 1860, and a School, built in 1865 by the Lord of the Manor. The latter is now used as a Board School for the united districts of Little Snoring, Kettlestone, and Alethorpe, formed in 1895.

The Poor have the benefit of the Fuel Allotment, awarded in 1806, consisting of 17 acres. There are also 8a. 3r. 5p. of land let in acre allotments at £2 per acre, and two cottages, derived from bequests of J. Chappell and others.

In the Return for Gilbert’s Act, re Norfolk Charities in 1786 is the following "7 acres of land vested in Thos. Cooper, producing £3 11s. a year, for the benefit of the Poor, but the particulars are not known. Terriers mention two cottages, inhabited by the Poor."

In 1380 there was a house for lepers in this parish at a place called "Quene Gate." This was the birthplace of John Pearson, the celebrated Bishop of Chester.

At the Survey the King’s Manor of Fakenham extended into this township. In Barsham and in "Snaringa" there were three freemen, who held three acres of land, always one plough, this was valued and measured in Fakenham Manor.

This was afterwards held by the de Haviles, by petit serjeanty, and in 1335 by Thomas de Mileham and Beatrix his wife, and afterwards by Nicholas Attechirch.

Earl Warren had also two socmen here belonging to his Manor of North Barsham. The principal lordship here at the Survey was held by Ralph, of Peter de Yaloines.

In the Confessor’s time it was held by a freeman named Manna. It consisted of one carucate of land, always 24 bordars, always one servus, then one plough in the demesne, afterwards and now two, always one plough amongst the tenants. Four acres of meadow, then one mill, always six cows, and now 60 hogs, then 80 sheep, and six socmen with 40 acres, and two bordars and one plough, and five acres of meadow, then valued at 40s., now the same, and it was half a leuca long, and three furlongs broad and paid 12d. to the Gelt. 

"Walcote" and "Bole's" Manor

Bloomfield says, Ralph, who held this lordship under the Lord Valoines, was probably the ancestor of the family of the de Snaring of this town. In 1167 Philip de Snaring held three parts of a fee of the Lord Valoines, and Geoffrey de Snaring half a fee.

Geoffrey de Snaring married Basilia, and had a son, Richard. by deed, sans date, Maud de Snaring gave her mill and pond of "Wykeney," to the monks of Acre, after the death of Richard, her brother.

Sir Philip de Snaring had several daughters Matilda or Mabilia married a member of the Bole family, who in her widowhood granted lands to Reginald de Burgo. Agnes, wife of Philip de Styvekeys. Beatrix, wife of Henry de Playford, and Basilia married to a le Strange of Litcham. During the reign of Henry III., Matilda and Basilia held here, and in Stiberde, a Knight’s fee of Robert, Lord Fitz.Walter.

In 1278 John, son of Ralph le Strange, held lands here, in 1286 Adam Bole granted by fine, part of this Manor to Richard Bole for life. He also had the advowson of this Church conveyed to him, by fine, the previous year by John le Strange, Henry de Warham and Richard le Rus, and on this Bole and le Strange had an alternate presentation of this Church.

In 1289 John le Strange and Clementia, his wife, bought of John de Stoneham and Roger de Neketon, several Messuages and lands, with the homage, services, &c., of several persons, and had the moiety of the Manor of "Naring Parva", and Ralph, his brother, had this Manor settled on him, by fine, in 1305.

In 1287 the jury presented that the bridge called "Wodebrig" in the way between Naring Parva and Crysford was broken, and that John le Strange, lord of "Naring Parva," ought to repair it, and the Sheriff was ordered to see it done.

In 1316 William Bole and Joan, his wife, had a moiety of this Manor, nine years later Sir William Bole was lord, and in 1347 John Bole and Agnes, his wife, held it.

In 1317 Ralph, son of John le Strange, conveyed, by fine, to Alexander de Walcote and Maud, his wife, a moiety of this Manor, with the advowson except four messuages, 53 acres of land, six of wood, three of heath, 12 of wood, and 12s. rent, part of the said moiety, held for life, by Clementia, widow of John le Strange, settled on Alexander and Maud, in tail, remainder to Elizabeth Mariot and Margaret, daughters of Alexander.

In 1340 Alexander conveyed the said premises to Walter de Walcote and Margaret his wife, and died lord of this town, and Gunton in 1356.

In 1334 this township was assessed for tenths, etc., at £3 12s., 16s. deducted, circa 1449.

In 1383 Robert de Berney and Margaret, his wife, daughter of Sir William de Walcote, by Joan, daughter of Walter Clopton, conveyed, by fine, to Margaret, widow of John Elys, senior, of Yarmouth, the third part of the Manor of Snoring Parva, called "Walcotes," with the third part of the advowson.

Five years later Sir Symon de Felbrigg, Kt., Robert Hereward, and Margaret Elys, were querents, and John Dorward and Catherine, his wife, another daughter of Sir William Walcote were deforciants in a fine, who passed to Margaret Elys, their third part. Elizabeth, another daughter of Walcote’s was married to Edmund de Wilton.

In 1428 Catherine, widow of John Cokerell, of Albergh Wykes, Suffolk, died seized of the Manor called "Walcotes" and "Boles" here, which she left to her grandchild, Catherine Cokerell, who died a minor, four years later. In 1451 George Heath, of Mildenhall, released to Humphrey, Duke of Bucks, all his rights in the above Manor, but in 1503 it belonged to the family of Conyers, for Christopher Conyers and Alice, his wife, sold it to the Heydons, and Sir Christopher Heydon was lord in 1569.

About 30 years later Sir William Heydon sold it to Sir George Kingsmith, who was lord in 1603.

The lete fee to the Lord of the Hundred was 20d. The Manor afterwards passed to the families of Gwynn, Helcotte, and Astley, Sir Edmund Astley being lord in 1807, it still remains in this family, Lord Hastings being the present lord of the Manor.

The Parish Church

The Church, dedicated to St Andrew, is a singular building of flint, in various styles of architecture, consisting of Transitional Norman chancel, nave, with Norman windows and doorways, south porch, and a round tower, which stands five feet south-west of the Church. Its east side is flat in the lower part, and has a round-headed recessed arch, with plain Norman imposts, which has evidently been the tower arch of a previous Church.

The windows in this tower are small and have trefoil heads. There is one bell which bears this inscription "Pack and Chapman of London, Fecit 1770." There were three bells in 6 Ed VI., but a faculty was granted on 30th June 1772, for the sale of two of the bells.

The south porch is decorated with vacant niche above the entrance, and blocked up windows. The doorway, which is unique, is very curious. It is Transitional Norman, having a stilted horse-shoe arch, consisting of a small round and a hollow filled with flowers under this a sharp pointed one, ornamented with bold zigzag. Under this again, the round arch of the doorway, with shafts in the jambs, having sculptured Early English capitals and the square Norman abacus.

Over this door, on the inside, are the Royal Arms of Charles II., dated 1686, with the Motto "Dieu Et Mon Droit."

Most of the windows have plain glass, and are in various styles. The chancel has two at the east end lancet shaped with "long and short" work in their jambs, the nave has two Norman windows near the west end, the west one is of the Decorated style, but the others are all late and modernised.

Little Snoring Church Blocked Norman DoorThere is a blocked up Norman doorway on the north side of the chancel. The chancel arch is plain and of the Transitional Norman style. In the south wall "long and short" work has been introduced at intervals to strengthen the flint work.

The Church was thoroughly restored in 1881, at which time seating accommodation of the open-bench order was erected for 180 persons.

The font is a good specimen of Late Norman workmanship. The bowl is round and enriched with sculptured foliage, which is supported by circular shafts.

Externally the roofs of the Church are of tile, and there is a cross on the gable over the east window. In the Churchyard is a slab, upon which is this Coat of Arms. On a bend sinister three fleurs-de-lis, Seel, "M.S. John Seel, who died May 12th, 1761, aged 61, Mary Seel, his wife, died 1759, aged 58, Sarah daughter of - - - , their son, by Sarah, his wife, died April 6th, 1767, aged one year".

The Registers which date back to 1559, are in fair preservation.

The Communion plate consists of a Flagon of recent date, given by the present Rector, and a Chalice and Paten, both of which are ancient.

There was at one time a Guild in the Church of the Holy Trinity, and a light of St Mary. Richard, son of Lawrence of Althorp, Rector of Thursford, by his will, proved 15th January, 1374, left to the High Altar of Snoring Parva, 2s., and 3s. 4d. to the repair of the Church, also 2s. to the High Altar of Snoring Magna, and 13s. 4d. to the repair of that Church, and numerous other legacies to Churches in this neighbourhood.

In 1525 Robert Smith, Rector, gave, by will, the house he lived in, to the repair and maintenance of this Church, on the conditions that the Church wardens kept yearly exequies on the 3rd Sunday in Lent and on the Monday after, a commemoration, with mass for his soul, and for his parents, and benefactors (see Reg. Grundesburgh, Norw. fol 84). About this time a Chapel of St Anthony is mentioned here.

The living was anciently a Rectory, valued at 16 marks, and in the reign of Edward I., Robert Bole and John le Strange were patrons, and presented alternately. The Rector then had a manse and 50 acres of land.

Roger de Valoines, son of Peter, founder of Binham Priory, gave two parts of his tithe to that Priory, and the Rector had the third. The portion of this Priory, in 1428, was taxed at £1 10s. The temporalites of Walsingham Priory here were 12d. per annum, and those of Castleacre 7s.

In the King’s Books the living is valued at £12. The living was united to the Vicarage of East Barsham on 11th November, 1793. There are at the present time 66 acres of glebe, (six with East Barsham and 60 with Little Snoring), and residence at East Barsham, enlarged by the patron Lord Hastings in 1856, they are of the joint gross value of £589 per annum, and have been held since 1882 by the Rev. William Martin, B.A., who is also Rural Dean of Walsingharn.

References to Little Snoring are to be found in the following:

  • Add. MS. B.M. 6,755, fo. 148.
  • Charter relating to, Add. Charters 7,560-89. Cotman’s Architectural Remains, vol. 1 ser. 1. p1.27.
  • Inventory of Church goods, 6 Ed. VI., Pub. Rec. Office, vol. 505, No. 19.
  • Trust deed as to Primitive Methodists at, Close Roll, 1858, Pt. 64, No. 5.
  • Act for inclosing lands in, 46 Geo. III. cap. xxiv.
  • Rye’s "Index to Norfolk Topography".
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SEE ALSO: Little Snoring St. Andrew's Church

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Find your ancestors in Norfolk Parish Registers and Records for Norfolk Ancestors and Genealogy for Norfolk The Family Trees of Norfolk Church Records of Gt & Lt Snoring Norfolk Great Snoring Memorial Inscriptions


The Snoring Villages: a website for those researching their family trees, and for anybody curious about the history and whereabouts of these two small villages in Norfolk, UK.

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