A Brief History of Hardingham

Hardingham is not mentioned in the Domesday Book, but Flockthorpe is.   There was an outflyer to the village called “Mantatestone” which today is known as Manson Green and another “Swathing” which is now called Low Street.   Between 1066 and 1210 there were two Lordships, the family of De Camois seized the Manor of Flockthorpe, the second was the Manor of Gurneys & Swathing.

In 1210 Flockthorpe became Hardingham. ” Ham ” is common Saxon name for a small village or settlement.

The Lords of the Manor stayed in the Wodehouse/Kimberley family until 1985 when the previous Lord Kimberley sold it to William Shaughnessey of the U.S.A.

The village acreage is 2418 acres.

The moat, called the Roundabout at Gresham Farm, is estimated to date from 1066-1539 and considered the site of a residence for Sir Thomas Gresham.   Looking at a map of Hardingham it can be noted that the Gresham moat is almost exactly the centre of the village and not the Church.   The church is the oldest building in the village now.

First mention of St George’s Church can be found in papers dated between 1154 and 1157 when Stephen granted the Prior of Wymondham a windmill in Flockthorpe and tithes were paid to the church (See separate sheet for more information on Church)

The Old Hall on the opposite side of the road to the church is considered late 16th century and the village must have originally been round this area, moving at the time of the great plague to High Common.

Now the village has hamlets at ” Low Street “, ” Danemoor”, ” Manson Green “, Nordelph Corner ” and “Hackford Road” as well as High Common, where there is a Village Hall on the Playing Field, which was given to the village by the Edwards family after the first world war.

In 1881 there were 522 people in Hardingham, today it is about 200

There used to be 12 farms in the village. Today there are only three farms, Hall farm 1768 acres farmed by the Edwards family, Manson Green farm 500 acres farmed by the Daniels family and part of Station farm 150 acres farmed by Kimberley Farms

There were only 44 acres of woodland in the village, but since 1970 another 64 acres have been planted in small spinneys.

In the past Hardingham had three pubs all now closed, as has the school, the village shop, the railway station, the Smithy, and the Chapel. Hardingham used to have its own Parson, Policeman, Roadman and Postman. All have gone, but still Hardingham retains a rural community spirit, with clubs and societies meeting regularly in the Memorial Hall and the annual fete at the end of June.

Hardingham is a small parish made up of the hamlets of Dane Moor, Low Street, Manson Green and High Common.   Once the township of Flockthorpe included the village of Hardingham.   The daughter of the feudal lord, Sir John de Breus who lived at the Old Hall married Ralph de Camois in 1285.   The village was at that time probably situated by the church and could have been abandoned during the Black Death in 1350 when many contaminated corpses were buried in the churchyard.   However, other factors such as battles with invading Danes may have contributed to the decline of the population.   The de Camois family may be considered founders and benefactors of the parish church as the manor was given to Stephen de Camois by Henry I in the 12th Century.   First mention of St George’s church can be found in papers dated between 1154 and 1157 when Stephen granted the Prior of Wymondham a windmill in Flockthorpe and tithes were paid to the church.   The connection with the de Camois family continued for about 250 years.   Other notable family benefactors have been the Earls of Arundel (15th Century), the Earls of Kimberley and, in the 20th and 21st Century the Edwards family of Hardingham Hall.   The tower is the oldest remaining part of the church building, the upper part being added in the 14th Century.   The nave and the window in the West Tower are 13th Century and there is considerable other window tracery which can be dated over various periods.   Chequerboard and flint stonework can be seen on the east end of the church.   A Sedilia, a double arched piscina and an aumbry, all probably medieval, are in the wall on the south side of the east end of the church.

The font is medieval but its oak cover was presented in 1934 as a reminder of the Rev. Stephen Walley.   Coloured glass windows have been presented since the early part of the 20th Century by various members of the Edwards family.   The one on the West wall commemorates Major William Edwards VC and was completed in 1912.

Considerable repairs and renovations have been made to the inside and outside of the church, but it may be possible still to see near a recess (covered by a memorial tablet on the west wall) a medieval table tomb.   An old double heart stone nearby may be the burial place of the hearts of two crusaders who died in the Holy Lane (two crosses in low relief).   Also in evidence were the remains of a sundial on the south west buttress (7’ up), these have perhaps been obliterated by the latest renovations to the tower (1984).   A porch on the right of the door is a base for a Holy water stoup.   A niche in the flint works is a possible position of a statue of the patron saint, St. George.   A Bell made by John Brand was placed in the tower in 1649.

A mound of earth to the south is know as St. George’s mount, so call by the Rev. Walker Whitier, who annually entertained the community on St. George’s day, April 23rd, when a group of young people danced around a tree reciting verses.

Around this tree of trees we go in pageant, guise and glee,

Which drank with joy our mystic streams

All Hail!   The Holem Tree (Holm oak)

Here rose the tree in days of yor, thus will the Bard recount

And there the ancient bounds are traced

Here stood St. George’s mount…….


Over 50 species of wild flowers were recorded on a day in July 1984


New porch gates, made by local cabinetmaker Peter Halstead and paid for by fundraising and donations were added in 2000 to celebrate the Millennium.

In 2004 some of the pews were re arranged behind the font to create an area for socialising after services, especially Christmas and Harvest Festival.   In 2011 an extension was added housing a kitchenette and a toilet.   Whilst the building work was being carried out two complete tiles and several pieces were found, now believed to be medieval.A Brief

4 Responses to A Brief History of Hardingham

  1. Jim Ferris says:

    Is there access locally to information which would state the year that Swathings Cottage, 66 Low Street, was built?
    Bit of a long shot I know.

  2. Ann Lightman says:

    I’m trying to find more about Lucy Whitmell, nee Foster, 1869 – 7.05.1917, buried in Lawnswood Cemetery, Leeds – daughter of Sir William Foster 1825-1911 of Hardingham Grove, Low Street. She wrote a WW1 poem “Christ in Flanders” published with initials only in the Spectator on 11.09.1915. It achieved great fame at the time, being used in sermons by at least two leading clergy – Archbishop of York and the Bishop of London. As far as I am aware this was her only poem / published work and I would dearly like to track down a photograph.

    • Josephine Rose says:

      Hello, I have just seen your message on a brief history of Hardingham, as the current owner of Hardingham Grove we have two photographs which we believe to show Sir William and family one of which may show the lady you are researching, by all means contact us on 01953 850114, kind regards Josephine and Eddie Rose.

  3. Janice Wareham says:

    Hi I just wondered if anyone has history on the Bush family of Hardingham 1800’s I have done quite aa bit of research on my family tree and would love to know more please.
    Henry Bush born 1853 shows on 1861 Census Denmark Green Hardingham 1871 Census Hingham Rd Hardingham
    John Bush born 1846 shows 1851 Census Kimberley Rd Hardinham
    John Bush born abt 1819/1821 found Hardingham Grave 1853 at Bird in Hand Hardingham he was a Farmer
    Jon Bush born 1795- 1841 Census Harford Bounds Hardingham 1851 Census Hackford Rd Hardingham
    1861 Census High Common Hardingham
    Thomas Bush born 1766- 1851 Census March Hall Moor Hingham Norfolk

    Is this your family does anyone have more information on this family
    My email address is [email protected]

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