The Boundary Cross in Thurton
This is the Boundary Cross (TG347006) sited at the conjunction of the boundaries of four parishes Thurton, Chedgrave, Carlton St Peter and Langley. The cross was said to have a curse on it, in which it was said that if it were ever removed from its original site near Langley Abbey, then Langley Hall would be gutted by fire.
The story goes on to say that the prophecy was almost fulfilled in 1801, when a certain Lady Beauchamp moved the cross into the park at Langley Hall. Whether a result of the curse or not, a single turret of the Hall actually did catch fire at that time, but luckily the blaze was quickly extinguished.
The medieval structure has a limestone shaft and base a red brick plinth. The circular red brick plinth is surmounted by hexagonal base on which are carved the parish names of Thurton, Chedgrave, Carleton St Peter and Langley. The square cross shaft has four figures on tall shaft pedestals under crocketted canopies. Shaft capital shows symbols of the four evangelists. The cross top is sadly missing.(The Boundary Cross is a Scheduled Ancient Monument County No. 151 ).
Actually, Sir Thomas Beauchamp Proctor, whose family had owned the Langley estate for centuries, moved the cross into the park after a predecessor of the present Abbey Farm was destroyed by the 1801 fire. The cross was then re-positioned and used to mark the meeting-place of the four parishes of Langley, Thurton, Chedgrave and Carleton St. Peter at the corner of a wood known locally as The Thicks.
The abbey at Langley was founded for the Premonstratensian Order in 1198 and the influence of the Abbey lasted for nearly 400 years. It flourished and prospered owning more than sixty-two Norfolk parishes but fell into rack and ruin before being dissolved in 1536. Its scant remains are now embedded in a farmhouse close to the river Yare.
Perhaps the Boundary Cross has more to it than we can possibly know!
Join us down Memory Lane
The Family History information passed onto us in recent weeks has been great:-
Thurton village is eight miles south east of Norwich on the A146 Norwich to Lowestoft road. The village has been growing slowly over the years but recently has been expanding much faster. The church, St Ethelbert's, is an ancient, thatched-roof church with a fine Norman arched door. The registers date from 1560. There is some very fine stained glass in the windows, which were restored in 1988. Some of this is reputed to have come from Rouen Cathedral at the time of the French Revolution and to have been donated by the Beauchamp family who lived at Langley Hall.
The Beauchamp family owned many of the properties in the village. The public elementary school, as it was known then, was erected in 1868 mainly at the cost of Sir T. W. B. Proctor-Beauchamp and enlarged in 1895 for 100 children. The Fuel Allotments are let and the money, originally, was used to buy fuel for the widows of the village. As there is now insufficient money to buy fuel, money is given to the retired folk of the village instead.
Mrs Todd moved to the village as a girl of seven in 1904 when her parents took over the George and Dragon public house. This is a very old building over 400 years old and has some very old oak beams, but has changed much over the years. There was a farm with the public house and the landlord had to be a farmer as well. She lived at the George and Dragon for 54 years altogether and remembered very different times from those of today. The pubs were open from 6 am to 10 pm. In those days workers locally at the forge would go to the pub for a drink before going to work at 7 am. Rent day at the pub was an event. Near to Michaelmas Day the tenants of properties of the Langley estate living in Thurton and Carleton would come to the pub to pay their rents and the estate clerk and secretary would be there all day and had to be supplied with refreshments and heating if the weather was cold.
When Mrs Todd was a small girl the road through the village was not made up as it is today and the traffic consisted of only horses and carts and wagonettes, which carried people to Norwich. Drovers drove herds of cattle and sheep from Norwich market to Haddiscoe marshes. Sometimes these would be bedded down for the night at the George and Dragon. The drovers would find refreshment at the pub but slept with the cattle. Their collie dogs were of great help in controlling the herds and preventing them from going onto other people's property.
Mr Ellis owned the Forge and Carpenters Shop opposite the George and Dragon Public House. This was quite a large concern and there were three forges with three blacksmiths at work all day shoeing horses and making implements and parts for agricultural machinery. The carpenter's shop made wagons and tumbrels, they also made wheels and gates for the local farms. The wagons were painted and were displayed at the annual Royal Norfolk Show where the firm had a stand. Mr White was the wheelwright and carpenter and he also made coffins. The Forge and Carpenters Shop were a major source of employment as approximately 20 men worked here. The business later passed to Mr John Keeler and then to Mr Arnall Capps and to his two sons Peter and John. Peter Capps ran the garage, filling station and agricultural engineers for many years until his retirement and John Capps ran the foundry producing cast iron, brass and architectural ironwork. John Capp�s son Ian Capps and his wife Emma now run Thurton Foundries on the site.
We have now established that the lady in the photograph is Ethel Kate Sayer born 1879 at Thurton. Her parents were William and Emma Sayer who were market gardeners living at the Garden House which is now in the midst of The Meadows, Vale Road. Thanks to Sandra Whitmore for this and the following information:
"Some time ago now, I sent in the photograph of Ethel Kate Sayer born 1879 at Garden House, The Meadow, Thurton who was a daughter of William and Emma Sayer nee Frost. They were market gardeners and they used to sell their produce at Norwich Market which they would take on the Horse and cart. They had 14 children and my Grandmother Ethel Kate was the third child to be born to them. My Grandmother became engaged to someone who lived at Vale Farm, Thurton but as my Grandmother's parents were not as well off as the Garrard Family at Vale Farm, the marriage was frowned upon. My Grandmother was sent to London to look after her eldest brother Albert Sayer and his wife Molly who was expecting another baby. Tragically both mother and baby died during the birth. Whilst living in London with her brother my Grandmother met Albert Henry Scott and they eventually married in London. They lived in Camden and my Grandfather needed to look for work so they moved to Birmingham and he worked on the first Norton Motorbike.. They had three Children, William Henry Scott born 1912; Ethel Mary Scott born December 1913 and Ivy Lillian Scott born August 1916. They all lived together in Reginald Road and due to circumstances my Grandmother was never able to return to Norfolk to see her family. They later moved to Glebe Farm, Birmingham after my mother, Ethel Mary married my father Colin Smith and they had a son on 6th June 1944 ... D-Day. Sadly he died the same day. They decided to move and lived in a very large house named The Crest, in Mere Green, Sutton Coldfield. I was born 29th July 1947 and was an only child. My Grandmother lived with us and she told me so many stories about her childhood, her parents, the place where she lived and all about her sisters and brothers. She was very sad not to have been back to Thurton. She told me about the canary who hung in the cage in the kitchen widow at home. She said she used to go to Market with her Father in the horse and trap and they loved being at the market and often came home with more then they sold. She said they were very happy times. I know my Grandmother would have loved to have returned to Thurton but she never had the chance as my Grandfather died very young and she had to look after her children and work but she never forgot about her Thurton family or her childhood home! So that is why I visited Thurton and the surrounding villages to see for myself what the area was like. I fell in love with the county and the villages and also was so lucky to have met many of her family and some she never knew. I am writing a book about my Grandmother and her family and hope your readers will soon be reading about her. I will leave it at that for now but will write with more information about the book I am working on very soon. I hope your readers will like reading what I have written? I will in due course send more photographs of other Sayer family members." Sarah Whitmore
Dear Sir/Madam, As promised, some more details re; the Sayer Family from Thurton as follows,
Richard Sayer married Margaret Gibson, no dates. 5x great Grandparents. They had twin daughters, both born and baptised at Hempnall on the 25th of September 1775. They were, Mary Ann and Lucy ?
Mary Ann was 19 when she had her first child, named William, born 1874. 4x great grandfather She married William Sayer a Weaver and they had four Children.1.William baptised privately, August 21st 1794. Twin of Hannah. William married Susan?. 2. Hannah born and baptised 1794. 3.Frances born October the 25th 1796. 4.Mathias Sayer born 1797 at Hempnall 3x time great parent. Mathias married Elizabeth Stimpson 20th October 1819 at Brook. He was a labourer, Woodman. Elizabeth was born at, Langley in 1795 and died 1863 aged 68 years. Buried St Pater and Paul. On the 15th of MAY 1863. Mathias died 29th April 1876. Buried Bergh Apton. They both lived at, Holly Hill, Bergh Apton. After Elizabeth died, Mathias married Hannah Money a widower in 1868. He was 70 and Hannah was 58. They married at Bergh Apton.
Children of Mathias and Elizabeth Sayer. 1, Mary ,born 1820 at Brook. 2. William 1821 at brook, my 2x great grandfather. Married Mary Anne Edge 10th February 1845 at St, Ethelbert`s Church, Thurton. 3. Anne , born 1823 at Bussey`s Bridge. 4.Philip born, 1824 at Bussey`s Bridge, a labourer married Maria smith. 10th February 1853 at ST Ethelbert`s church, Thurton. 5.John, born 1826, Bussey`s Bridge, married Hannah BROWN 1843 at Brook. 6.Eliza, born1827, Bussey`s Bridge. 7.Sarah, born1831, Bussey`s Bridge. Died 1874. Married George Brown 13TH March, 1855. 8.Harriet, born 1832. 9. Susan, born 1833 married William Able, 1857. 10.Charlotte, born 1835,married Samuel Baker 1859 at Loddon. 11.Edward, born1839. Loddon. ( Edward was adopted)....
My2 x Great Grandparents. William SAYER, born 1821 married, Mary Anne Edge 10th February 1845 at St Ethelbert`s Church, Thurton William died 1881 aged 59yrs. At Bergh Apton. William married the Daughter of, John Edge at St Ethelbert`s Church, Thurton.1845. They had the following family. 1.Mary Ann, born 1846 Bergh Apton. 2.Emily born, born 1846, twin of Mary Ann. Emily died 1846 and was buried 30th January 1846 at St Ethelbert`s Church, Thurton. 3.William ,born 1852 my Great Grandfather, who married Emma Frost from Bergh Apton. They were Market Gardeners at the Meadow, Thurton. William died 1919 at Garden House, the meadow. 4.John, born 1856 married HANNAH Lawrence, who was born at Kirkstead. I child know of, Elzia, who died aged one year and is buried at St Ethelbert`s Church.
William Sayer, born 1852 was my Great Grandfather who married Emma Frost of Bergh Apton, at Claxton Baptist Chapel on the 24th September 1872. Emma died 1940 aged 85 years at the clock house, Kirstead. They had lived at Garden House, the meadow Thurton.. Children of William and Emma. As follows; 1.Albert George Sayer, Born 1874 at Bergh Apton. Married first wife molly in London, and Molly died in childbirth. Albert later married Lillian Bence and they had quite a few children.Albert was a Groom before joining the Royal Marines ad then he became a railway policeman. 2.Louisa born 1876 at Bergh Apton. 3.John Frederick born 1877 Thurton, who married Jessie Louisa Cumby at St Ethelbert`s Church, Thurton. They had about five children and the youngest one is still alive and living at Saxon House, Loddon. Her name is MAY Alexander who married Cecil Alexander and they were a lovely couple! I am still in touch with MAY! 4, Ethel Kate, born 24th November 1879, Thurton. my Grandmother... who was sent to London by her parents to help her BROTHER, Albert when his wife died in childbirth. My Nan never returned to Norfolk, reasons unknown, but she never forgot her Family and would tell me many stories about them all! Nan married Albert Henry Scott from London and they had three children. William, born 1911 in Birmingham. Ethel Mary, my Mother, born 25th December 1913 in Birmingham. Died 1st July 1985 aged 72 years. My Mother married Colin Smith from Barnsley, Yorkshire in October 1939 in Birmingham. They had one son who was born 6th June, 1944 and who died the same day! Then I was born 29th July 1947 and my name is Sandra. 5.Eliza born 1881 who died 1881 and is buried at St Ethelbet`s church. 6, Edith MARY, born 1882 Thurton. Married twice, Her first Husband died and she married ? Woolnough. She had three sons. Edith was buried at Framlington Piggott. 7.William , born 1882 at Thurton, married Emma Potts and had one son, William who lives at Fakenham. 8.George Ernest, born 1886 was in the railway police but on retirement, was the landlord of The Judses Ferry, Mildenhall. 9.Bertie, born, 1887 married Rose Carver and they lived at Trunch. 10.Jane, known as Ginny, born 1889, married an insurance agent and went to live in Ipswitch. They had two Daughters. 11.Horace Edward,( ted) born 1891, died 1956 ..Had one son Ronald.... 12.Kate Lillian born 11th October 1897.. died 3rd of JANUARY 1906, buried at St Ethelbert`s Church. 13.Herbert Sidney, born29th June 1898.. Died 26th February, 1906 and is buried with his sister at St Ethelbert`s Church.. they both died from Diptheria.... 14. Lily May, born 1901, married Charles or, Walter Ellis.... They had three sons and Lilly May, died 1946... and is buried at Yelverton Church... I hope you can understand what I have out down?..I am sorry there is so much, but thought your readers may find it interesting, and if they are researching the same family, it may well, help them! Yours Sincerely, Sandra. M. Whitmore
Thanks also go to Susan Tibbetts (Susan please get in touch again too) for telling us that her great grandmother Christiana Blake was born at Langley in 1867 but her parents Charles and Sarah Blake moved into one of the cottages in The Street looking up towards St Ethelbert's Church. Christiana Blake was married at Thurton. It is thought Christiana attended Thurton School and according to a family story she was a monitor there. We wonder if a search of Thurton Primary School records could confirm this for Susan please. Can anyone help? Let us know.
Thank you to Brian Mayes, who sent in the following letter: Hello My 4x great grandparents William Riches, a drillman, and his wife Sarah (nee Gooch) lived in Thurton from about 1805 until their deaths in 1858 and 1828. They each have a gravestone in the churchyard which I photographed many years ago. Nearby I noticed the the gravestone of Samuel Riches "brother of William Riches". It was in very poor condition and the age and date of death were unreadable, although I could read that he was of "Willow Walk, Junction Road, Kentish Town, London". I was wondering whether the churchyard monumental inscriptions have ever been copied and if so whether the above Samuel is included amongst them with an age and date of death. Many thanks Brian Mayes Epsom, Surrey
We have also solved the "Stumps Cross" mystery. Old maps of Thurton dated 1884 and 1951 (post war provisional edition of O.S.) show Stump's Cross as being towards Loddon on the south side of what is now the A146 just opposite The Thurton Lodges. The roadway passing there is now known as Nursery Road. We wonder when the name of Stumps Cross went out of use? Does anyone know if it is mentioned anywhere later than 1951? Let us know please.
And finally .... We think Mr Gooch was the name of The Baking Powder Man and lived (and probably carried on his business) in one of The Cottages in Cookes Road. Can anyone confirm this please?
Now here's a new mystery to puzzle over .... ever heard of St Catherine's Cross in relation to Thurton or Ashby St Mary? And .... or.... Stone Cross ... Boundary/Langley Cross situated at the conjunction of the four parish boundaries of Thurton, Chedgrave, Langley and Carleton? Are these separate crosses at separate locations or are they all one and the same thing? Email us....
If you have a story about Thurton to tell email us and we'll post it here.
I have a story to share regarding the village of Thurton. My Greatgrand-father William Gardiner and his wife Edith lived in High House Thurton in the 1920s and maybe into the 1930s,he being a cabinet maker and coach builder by trade.He worked for the Langley Estate on moving to Thurton as a coach builder. They moved to Norfolk from The Swindon area where he was employed by the Great Western Railway finishing the railway carriages. I do not know the exact year that they came to the area, but I do know that my grandfather was born in the Swindon District in 1899,this from the 1901 census.
My father and his brothers and sisters would stay with them at High House on many an occasion, being from large families they tended to get "farmed" out. My father would be put on the bus in Kenninghall by his parents and shown to the connecting bus by the conductor at Norwich Bus Station [ I don't think they would get the same service today]and then met on their arrival. The bus did once drop my Aunt off quite some distance away from the regular stop, very daunting for a young girl in the twilight many miles from home.
Her lasting memory is of riding on a pony and trap, the pony being called Gypsy and my great-grandfather saying Giddy-up-a ding dong.
After Thurton I believe they moved to Sprowston.
Is there still a Langley Estate? I would love to know, maybe they have records of past employees, I would love to know.
Thank you for allowing me to share this on your page,"
Alan Gardiner, Wymondham.
Further to my contact earlier I have managed to obtain a photograph of my Great grandfather who lived at High House Thurton.
The photograph was taken not at Thurton but on Kenninghall Fen about 1933/4. William and Edith being the older members on the photo with my Grandfther to the left and my father seated in front of Edith.
I doubt that there is anyone still alive who has any memories of them or their the children they brought Swindon in the earlier 1900s, at a guess about 1915."