Hingham, Norfolk

Coordinates: 52°34′45″N 0°58′58″E / 52.57910°N 0.98284°E / 52.57910; 0.98284
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Georgian houses at Market Place
Hingham is located in Norfolk
Location within Norfolk
Area14.98 km2 (5.78 sq mi)
Population2,367 (2011)
• Density158/km2 (410/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTG 022 021
• London99 miles (159 km)[1]
Civil parish
  • Hingham
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townNORWICH
Postcode districtNR9
Dialling code01953
AmbulanceEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
52°34′45″N 0°58′58″E / 52.57910°N 0.98284°E / 52.57910; 0.98284

Hingham is a market town and civil parish in mid-Norfolk, England. The civil parish covers an area of 14.98 km2 (5.78 sq mi) and had a population of 2,078 in 944 households at the time of the 2001 census,[2] increasing to 2,367 at the 2011 census.[3]

Grand architecture surrounds the historic market place and town greens. According to an 18th-century source, a fire destroyed many of the town's buildings, leading the better-off local families to build the handsome Georgian homes for which the town is known. The same source claims that the Hingham gentry were "so fashionable in their dress that the town is called by the neighbours 'Little London'".[4]

Hingham is 13 miles (21 km) west[1] from Norwich, Norfolk's county town. While many Hingham people now work in Norwich, commuting by car or bus, the town has maintained a range of shops and businesses in its historic streets and an industrial estate on Ironside Way. Despite the influence and attractions of Norwich, an active and independent town life continues to thrive and grow in Hingham. A fair visits every year, setting up on the historic Fairlands (an area of several triangular greens). There is a state-run school, providing education for children from the ages of 4–11.

The nearest railway stations are Wymondham and Attleborough, both on the Breckland Line.


The town's name derives from the homestead or village of "Hega's people".[5]

The town, originally spelled "Hengham", is an ancient settlement, as its Saxon name denotes.[6] It was the property of King Athelstan, in 925, and of William the Conqueror in 1066 and 1086 as a well populated parish in the hundred of Forehoe,[7] and retained many privileges coming from its royal ownership, including "the grandeur of ... St Andrew's," a parish church rebuilt in the 1300s.[8][9] Thomas de Morley, 5th Baron Morley is buried in its chancel. In the years that followed, the town was a clear royal domain, for William the Conqueror and many others.

In 1414 the town was exempted from an English toll and in 1610, the town was granted a royal charter by James I.[10] Over the years, from 1154 to 1887, the town's church is recorded as having had 32 rectors.[11][13]

By the 1600s, the town of Hingham was still agricultural. John Speed's maps of the Kingdom of England during the Jacobean period in 1610 and 1611 showed that the town was near Wymondham (also called Wimundham or Windham).[14] This town was, at the time, situated in the countryside with diverse terrain, profuse windmills, well-watered soil, a large degree of inland water traffic, and few urban centres apart from Norwich, where a thriving cloth industry boomed.[15] With Speed's drawing of a castle at the location of Hingham, the town must have been of some stature.

Many Puritans refused to conform to the wishes of the King (Charles I) and his loyal Archbishop (William Laud), so they fled to the Plymouth Bay or Massachusetts Bay colonies, in what has been labelled the "Great Migration".[16] In 1633, migration from England to the Americas began with a number of participants on a ship named the Bonaventure. Robert Peck, the Rector of St Andrew's Church, and his associate Peter Hobart, emigrated to the new colony of Massachusetts with half of his congregation, most likely all of the 133 people on the Diligent, which departed in June 1638 from Ipswich, England.[17][18][19][20][21] Peck had been censured by religious authorities for his Puritan practices, and his daughter had married the son of another well-known Puritan minister named John Rogers.[22][23]

The passengers on the Diligent, working-class people such as shoemakers and millers, a number of ministers, and gentry, were mostly Puritans.[24][25][26][27][28][29] Once there, the passengers founded "New" Hingham, to remind them of "Old" Hingham. Once most of the passengers settled there, the population of the town had doubled.[30] More specifically they were called East Anglians, after the former Kingdom of East Angles in which Hingham resided, as John Speed described it in 1610.[31] Amongst those who had emigrated were Samuel Lincoln, ancestor of President Abraham Lincoln, and Edward Gilman Sr., ancestor of Nicholas Gilman, New Hampshire delegate to the Continental Congress and signer of the U.S. Constitution.[32][33][34] To commemorate the lineage of Lincoln and the sister town in Massachusetts, today the town hall "is named the Lincoln Hall, and ... the bust of Abraham Lincoln takes pride of place in the north aisle of the church" along with memorials to the Gilman family.[8][35][36]

The parishioners who left Hingham had been so prominent in the Hingham community that the town was forced to petition Parliament, saying their town had been devastated by the emigration. They told the House of Commons that "most of the able Inhabitants have forsaken their dwellings and have gone severall ways for their peace and quiett and the town is now left and like in the misery by reason of the meanness of the [remaining] Inhabitants."[37][38] The argument by the remaining residents of Hingham that their town had been devastated was not unfounded. Historians and original documents from the time attest that "physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually" the town was moved from England to New England with the founding of "New" Hingham in 1635, with Peter Hobart and Robert Peck as some the most powerful and well-off individuals in the new town, at the top of the Old Ship Church.[39][40][41][42][43][8]

Town sign in Hingham

In the years the followed, Hingham continued to develop. Apart from the "sentimental attachment" between the Hingham in England and that in the Americas, St Andrew's Church continued to stand, inns were created, and what is today a conservation area was created which "contains many Georgian buildings," although many of the buildings were destroyed in a "disastrous fire in 1688".[8] Even with changing prices and inconsistent weather, the town remained agricultural and had a stayed gentry in place into at least the 1740s.[44]

By the 1800s, Admiral Philip Wodehouse lived in the town. By the 1890s, it was still a "small market town".[45] During World War I, 200 men from the town participated in the forces, 38 of whom perished on the battlefield, others who formed a company, and some who paid for war certificates.[46] In later years, World War I general Edmund Ironside lived in Southernwood, a house created in the 1700s where he died in 1959, an old windmill continued to turn in the town until 1937, later becoming a "4 storey stump", a radio link between the two Hinghams was established in World War II, and the Lincoln Hall was built in 1922, later rebuilt and extended in 1977.[8] Other than that, the town has also maintained its connection with its sister town in the United States; for instance, in September 1985, a number of Hingham residents attended "the 350th birthday celebrations of Hingham, Mass.".[8]

21st century[edit]

In 2000, it was reported that Adrian Semmence, whose family had farmed at Hingham for three generations, was opening a woodland park (to be funded by the sale of 36-square-foot (3.3 m2) plots, mainly to Americans having connections with Hingham) to commemorate the links between this Hingham and Hingham, Massachusetts.[47]

The Caterham F1 team, previously Team Lotus, was based in Hingham, but left Norfolk and relocated to the old Arrows team factory near Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire. It used to be based in nearby Hethel, but following its bankruptcy in 1994 there was not much activity until Lotus was resurrected as an F1 team in 2010.


There is a town council which is the parish council for the civil parish.

For the purposes of local government, the parish falls within the district of South Norfolk. It was previously in the Forehoe and Henstead Rural District.

Hingham is part of the electoral ward called Hingham and Deopham, which returns one councillor to South Norfolk Council, elected every four years. The population of this ward at the 2011 census was 2,908.[48]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Google Maps
  2. ^ "Hingham parish information". South Norfolk Council. 4 January 2006. Archived from the original on 5 September 2008. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  3. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  4. ^ Armstrong, Mostyn John (1781). History and Antiquities of the County of Norfolk. J. Crouse. p. 104. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Key to English Place-names".
  6. ^ Arthur Charles Wodehouse Upcher, History of Hingham, Norfolk, and its church of St. Andrew (East Dereham : A.F. Mason, 1921), 1
  7. ^ Open Domesday Online: Hingham, accessed April 2017
  8. ^ a b c d e f E.C.Apling, "HINGHAM, Norfolk," 2 May 1990. This article was prepared for, and published (in shorter form) in "The Norfolk Village Book", Countryside Books, Newbury and the Norfolk Federation of Women's Institutes, Norwich, 1990.
  9. ^ Upcher, History of Hingham, Norfolk, and its church of St. Andrew, 2-4, 8-11.
  10. ^ Upcher, History of Hingham, Norfolk, and its church of St. Andrew, 5.
  11. ^ Upcher, History of Hingham, Norfolk, and its church of St. Andrew, 33-48.
  12. ^ There are three places in England, all in Norfolk, whose name includes Swanton – Swanton Abbott, Swanton Morley and Swanton Novers. They are several miles apart. It may be impossible to determine at this late date which of them was meant. Both Swanton Morley and Swanton Novers are mentioned in the Domesday Book.
  13. ^ These rectors include but are not limited to John de Bridport (1154), son of John de Bridport (1199), Master Richard of Felmingham (1272), John de Calton (1307), William Winor of Swanton (1313),[12] Remigius de Hethersett (1316), Master John de Ufford (1359), and Master John de Darlington (1375).
  14. ^ John Speed, Britain's Tudor Maps: County by County (London: British Library, reprint, 2016, originally published in 1988), p. 16-19. The first map was drawn in 1610, the second around the same time but based on a 1579 map of the islands by Christopher Saxton.
  15. ^ Speed, Britain's Tudor Maps: County by County, p. 70-71.
  16. ^ Carolyn St. John Elliott Battles and James Bruce Battles, A Puritan Family's Journey: From Hingham to Hingham and onto Sanbornton, New Hampshire: The Ancestors of Marion Gilmon Elliott (Carolyn St. John Elliott Battles, 2013), 29.
  17. ^ Battles and Battles, A Puritan Family's Journey, 29-30.
  18. ^ James Elton Bell and Frances Jean Bell, Sir Robert Bell and His Early Virginia Colony Descendants (Tucson, AZ: Wheatmark, 2008) 6.
  19. ^ History of the town of Hingham, Massachusetts, Vol. II, Part 2 (Hingham, MA, 1893), 2-3, 36.
  20. ^ Ira G. Peck, A Genealogical History of the Descendants of Joseph Peck (Boston: Alfred Mudge & Son, 1868), 13.
  21. ^ "Peck, Robert (PK598R2)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  22. ^ Reynolds, Matthew (2005). Godly Reformers and Their Opponents in Modern England. Boydell Press. p. 135. ISBN 9781843831495.
  23. ^ Upcher, History of Hingham, Norfolk, and its church of St. Andrew, 17-21.
  24. ^ Henry Whittemore, Genealogical Guide to the Early Settlers of America: With a Brief History of those of the First Generation (Baltimore: Clearfield Publishing, 1967), 398.
  25. ^ Ezra S. Stearns, History of Ashburnham, Massachusetts, from the Grant of Dorchester Canada to Present Time (Ashburnham, MA, 1887), 606, 661.
  26. ^ John J. Waters Jr., The Otis Family in Provincial and Revolutionary Massachusetts (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1968), 15.
  27. ^ Mary Gant Bell, Dixon Family History (Mary Gant Bell, 2007), 309.
  28. ^ Peck, A Genealogical History of the Descendants of Joseph Peck, 14.
  29. ^ Battles and Battles, A Puritan Family's Journey, 29.
  30. ^ Battles and Battles, A Puritan Family's Journey, 30
  31. ^ Speed, Britain's Tudor Maps: County by County, p. 21. Speed called the Kingdom "East Angle" but this is a variation of the name East Angles.
  32. ^ The Church Heraldry of Norfolk: A Description of All Coats of Arms on Brasses, Monuments, Slabs, Hatchments &c., and now to be found in the county, Rev. Edmund Farrar, 1887.
  33. ^ Searches into the History of the Gillman or Gilman Family, Alexander Gillman, London, 1895
  34. ^ Morris, Jan. (1999). Lincoln: A Foreigner's Quest. London: Viking Press. ISBN 0-670-88128-7; (2000). New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-85515-1.
  35. ^ Several centuries later, the Gilmans of Hingham supplied two mayors of Norwich. The Gilman family came from nearby Caston in Norfolk to Hingham in the 16th century. Samuel Lincoln's mother Bridget was the sister of Edward Gilman Sr., who emigrated to America. Memorials to the Gilman family, ancestors of those who went to America, are still visible in St Andrew's Church in Hingham, which also has a bust of Abraham Lincoln on the wall.
  36. ^ Upcher, History of Hingham, Norfolk, and its church of St. Andrew, 25-32.
  37. ^ Waters Jr., The Otis Family in Provincial and Revolutionary Massachusetts, 11-14.
  38. ^ Roger Thompson, Mobility and Migration: East Anglian Founders of New England, 1639-1640 (Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 1994), 23, 108, 141, 200, 206, 221, 261-262.
  39. ^ Waters Jr., The Otis Family in Provincial and Revolutionary Massachusetts, 11-14, 17-18.
  40. ^ Peck, A Genealogical History of the Descendants of Joseph Peck, 25-26.
  41. ^ The Diary of William Bentley Vol. III Jan. 1803-December 1810 (Salem, MA: The Essex Institute, 1911), 282.
  42. ^ John Winthrop, Winthrop's Journal: "History of New England" 1630-1649 (ed. James Kendall Hosmer, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1908), 229-232, 245, 289, 321, 330.
  43. ^ Thompson, Mobility and Migration, 189.
  44. ^ Upcher, History of Hingham, Norfolk, and its church of St. Andrew, 22-24.
  45. ^ UK Genealogy Archives, "Hingham, Norfolk," 2017.
  46. ^ Upcher, History of Hingham, Norfolk, and its church of St. Andrew, 49-51.
  47. ^ Family Tree Magazine, September 2000.
  48. ^ "Hingham and Deopham ward population 2011". Retrieved 8 September 2015.

External links[edit]