Forncett History Group

Austhorpe House

Written by Mike Merrick and John Webster on .

Austhorpe historyOur local residential care home, Austhorpe House, is celebrating its diamond jubilee this year, and the Forncett History Group is marking the occasion by publishing a detailed and fascinating history of the house based on research done recently. Copies of the well-illustrated publication will be available, price £4, at the Austhorpe Fete on the 9th June, and also by personal order to John Webster, email or Tel: 01953-788114. Cheques payable to ‘Forncett History Group’.

The 1939 Register of Forncett parish

Written by Administrator on .

The Forncett History Group is currently trying to put together a picture of what Forncett was like just before the very considerable changes that occurred after WW2. Who was living in Forncett? Where were they living and what were their occupations? 

On the 29th September 1939 a register of the civilian population of England and Wales was taken. This record – the 1939 Register - was to produce Identity Cards and to facilitate the issuing of ration books in January 1940. The 1939 Register is not a census, it includes less detailed information, but it does include names and exact dates of birth. Members of the Forncett History Group have made an accurate transcription of the 1939 Register for the parish1. Individuals’ records remain closed for 100 years from their date of birth, or until proof of death is produced, and consequently around 20% of the entries are redacted.

The original images of the Register are copyright of The National Archives  and were transcribed with their full permission.

The “raw” transcription has been annotated to facilitate searches and the database can be searched by surname or by address. The Register lists a total of 205 dwellings in the parish but many of these had no specific name. Using a variety of sources we have identified the addresses and locations of as many of the houses as possible and in our database these have links to Google maps. The link will open the standard view of Google maps but you can then switch to the satellite view and street view to give more details.

A copy of the annotated database can be downloaded here

If you were living in Forncett in 1939 or had family who were you may be able to help us by identifying some of the homes listed in the Register. If you can identify any of the “unknown” homes (ones with no identified Google map location) please contact Mike Merrick by phone (01953 788887) or email and we will update the Register accordingly.

To request a copy of the unannotated transcription please email Mike Merrick

Puzzle for the FHG

Written by John Webster on .

At the latest meeting of the Forncett History Group an item noted on Ebay generated a great deal of discussion. The postcard – acquired in the end by another party unknown to us – showed a young man with a pony and cart/trap.


Click pic to enlarge

Closer analysis of the image showed the name ‘J. HUMPHREYS’ to be on the side of the trap. The Chairman then explained how Dennis Ludkin had been quite challenged by this and set about comparing older larger scale maps to see if a similar range of buildings to that on the photo could be found. Dennis had pinpointed a small group near Chestnut Farm as being comparable. Discussion then turned on the shape of the buildings and established that the building in the foreground might well be separate from the main range, which would correspond with the representation on one of the maps (see detail of map of 1906). One would have to bear in mind that the angle and direction of the photo would mean that Chestnut Cottage was obscured by the other buildings.

Thanks to the detective work of Dennis L. and useful discussion at the FHG it would seem that the location has been reasonably established. We still do not know for certain who the young man is and why he was photographed at this place. James (‘Jimmy’) HUMPHREYS was the baker at Forncett End at Harley House. With evidence from copied documents referred to by the Chairman it was shown that J.H. had fallen on hard times and by 1924 was declared bankrupt. It was pointed out that his fate reflected the social problems of the times. His assets included various fixtures and fittings and ‘pony, cart and harness’, valued at £25.

Visit to Devlin & Plummer Stained Glass

Written by Richard Ball on .

On Wednesday 15th June the Forncett History Group visited the Stained Glass Works of Devlin and Plummer in Great Moulton who recently restored two windows in St Edmund's Church, Forncett End.

The group was shown round by Terry Devlin who explained the numerous processes in detail while we interrupted the work of the various people then engaged in the workshop - and very friendly and patient they all were.

A very interesting visit indeed. Many thanks to Terry and his co-workers for their time and to John Webster for organising it. 

Photos by Richard Ball

Click pic for slide show

Forncett War Memorials - an update

Written by Jackie Scully on .

I now have information regarding Edwin Charles Gostling and have details of his memorial.

I have been given a photograph of Ernest Pymer and now know why George Henry Thomson is buried in Forncett churchyard. My correspondent was unable to supply a photograph of George Thomson. Maybe a Scottish descendant knows of him? His father was William B. Thomson, his mother Elizabeth H. Thomson and they lived in Dalry, Kircudbright.

My thanks go to relatives of these men who took the trouble to contact me and for supplying me with information.

I am still seeking photographs of WW1 victim Walter Ernest Brooks, and Thomas Edward Green and Roy Arthur Tann from WW11.

Many thanks for help already given and that to come. .

Jackie Scully
April 2012

Great Hospital Visit - 25 January 2012

Written by Super User on .

Great Hospital_25_01_12_(17)_(Medium) (1)Forncett History Group members were invited to take part in a guided tour of the Great Hospital in Norwich. This was a wonderful opportunity to explore this building, that has such a long history and is rarely open to the public.

The hospital was first founded by Bishop Walter de Suffield in 1249 for the housing of elderly, poor priests, the sick and infirm and for the education of 7 boys in Latin. No women were allowed, except for nurses who had to be over 50 years of age. By the end of the 14th Century the building had been taken over and its remit changed to purely the care of priests; the poor were no longer considered. During this period much new building took place.

Norwich Walk - Weavers and Shoemakers

Written by Jan Rutter on .

Colegate, Cloth Merchan'ts HouseOn Thursday 13th October a group of about a dozen Forncett HIistory Group members and friends met at the Erpingham Gate of Norwich Cathedral for a guided tour around the area, where weavers and textile workers of the past had plied their trade.

Our excellent guide for the event was Rod Spokes, who delivered a very interesting and informative talk and commentary, skilfully guiding us around many ‘nooks and crannies’ in the streets and courtyards around the Colegate area. One particularly surprising place was ‘Whip and Nag Court’, a quaint, council restored courtyard such as would have been seen in many areas around central Norwich.