St Andrew, Buxton
|Buxton shown within Norfolk|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
Buxton is a village in Norfolk, located between Norwich and Aylsham. The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1085. Buxton is adjacent to the village of Lamas. The two villages are separated by the River Bure at Buxton Mill but are otherwise indistinguishable. Together they form the civil parish of Buxton with Lamas.
Buxton's main claim to fame is as the home village and burial place of Anna Sewell, author of Black Beauty. These claims are a little exaggerated. She is in fact is buried at the former Quaker Meeting-House in the village of Lamas, just over the river, and is more properly associated with the village of Old Catton, now a suburb of Norwich.
The Sewell family, and their predecessors, the Wrights dwelt at Dudwick Park, a mansion in a private park on one side of the village. This was bought by John Wright (1728-1798), a wealthy Quaker Banker. His endowments founded the present school, as well as the Red House, an institution for young offenders which stood where the Rowan House complex now stands. These were erected by his grandson and heir, the second John Wright (1794-1871). He married a member of the Harford family, also Quakers, but died without issue, the property passing in 1856 to his sister's eldest son, Phillip Sewell, another Quaker banker. Phillip Sewell, the brother of Anna Sewell, was a major local benefactor, and enlarged the local school, a fact still recorded on a memorial plaque on the old buildings. The Sewells, like many Quaker landlords, were philanthropists, and gave the village a Reading Room, as well as supporting a school and reformatory. Their last gift to the community was the Village Hall, built 1927 and since extended. The Sewell connection ended in 1937, when P. E. Sewell, a Ceylon Tea-planter, died, leaving Dudwick Park to Percy Briscoe, a friend from Ceylon. The house was entirely rebuilt in the early part of the twentieth century, and, externally, no trace remains of the house which Anna Sewell would have known.
The builder Thomas Cubitt was born here in 1788, and Benjamin Griffin, an Eighteenth Century playwright was the son of a former vicar. Roads in the newer estates in Buxton record the association of the Stracey and Sewell families with Buxton.
The Rev. William Stracey, Vicar, rebuilt the church, lowering the tower and using the flints left over to build Tower House, a pleasing Victorian cottage. His vicarage, a large house later called Levishaw Manor was pulled down to make way for a housing estate, but bridges and some of the associated buildings survive. His personal prayer-book is in the village archives. The Modern vicarage, dating from the 1950s, is a large, red-brick structure. The church, dedicated to St. Andrew, is largely the product of William Stracey's rebuilding, although some medieval stonework survives. A previous incumbent was ejected for nonconformity in 1662, and was probably a Presbyterian, since he is not mentioned as among the Congregationalists in the list to be found in R. Tudur Jones's History of Congregationalism.
Although the Parish Church is the only place of worship in Buxton today, at one time the village possessed a Methodist preaching-room, and an important Baptist Chapel. The latter was located on the outskirts of the village, and was demolished in 1931. The schoolroom (now a house) and the stables (largely rebuilt) survive. The arrangement, located in a detached portion of the village, is similar to that at nearby Worstead, where the Baptist Chapel is also located in its own burial ground.
The parish built its own House of Industry in the Eighteenth Century, in order to house and provide work for the poor of the village. In the 1830s, this became a Workhouse, covered by the provisions of the New Poor Law, attached to the Aylsham Union. The foundations of some of the buildings survive in a wood on the Buxton-Horstead Road (map dated 1906, Norfolk Record Office). The village had two schools, the one founded by the second John Wright in 1833 (the endowment of 1798 was left by the first John Wright), next to the church, and a 'National' (Anglican) school, located in Back Lane, close to the modern vicarage. This is another legacy of the work of improvement done during the incumbency of the Rev. W. Stracey, in 1855. These schools were united into a single school in 1882, although the two buildings were kept open, with the National school building initially housing the Infants' department. On the transfer of the infants' department to the buildings next to the church in 1922, the National School was used for technical instruction, functions later transferred to the old station, although this, too, is now a private house.
A mixture of historic 17th- and 18th-century houses with new housing estates, Buxton shows some signs of having been a more important centre in its earlier years. Today, it serves mainly as a dormitory for the city of Norwich.
Buxton watermill, in the lower end of town, is recorded in Doomsday in 1085. William Pepper, a merchant living in Buxton, last rebuilt it as a mill in 1754. The building was constructed of white painted brick and weatherboard with a pantile roof and has been a prominent landmark in the village for many years. The mill was reconstructed after a devastating fire in 1991 and is now 9 luxury apartments. An excellent history can be found at Norfolk Mills l. You can also stay in the apartments, details can be found at buxtonmill.co.uk.
The former Great Eastern Railway passed through and had a railway station called Buxton Lamas prior to closure of the line. The Bure Valley Railway, operating from Wroxham to Aylsham, now has a halt called Buxton.
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