There are those living [this is written by Commander Stagg in the 1930s] who remember the sale of the effects of the last of the male Johnsons, and saw at least one of the books mentioned by the 1748 visitor [referring to Blomefield- or his reporter] (as well as a piece of Church plate) included in the Sale. Personal effects had been mixed up with Churchwardens' wards.
In 1811 the Easter accounts of the church-wardens show that a high rate was levied and a large sum raised for a thorough repair of the church. There were no bazaars or appeals in those far-off days, but the parishioners set to work to mulct themselves to repair their own church in a delightfully independent spirit. A rate of 18/- in the £1 yielded the sum of £461.1.6, of which sum William Purdy paid £285.15.0 and Elizabeth Johnson paid £114.15.0 (together £400) and all the other ratepayers paid between them £60.11.6.
The iron (which included two old bells) and planks sold, realised £70.13.4, so that the sum available was £531.14.10. The total cost of repairs was £537.16.7, leaving the churchwardens to find £6.1.9.
The nature of the repairs effected is not given in detail but from the amount of wood used it would seem that the roof must have had serious attention. The iron and planks that were disposed of would have probably been invaluable today. Presumably it was in this major restoration that ‘Hell’ was filled in.
This century might well be called ‘the Purdy and Johnson century’, for those two families controlled Salthouse’s economic life throughout almost the whole period.* Their railed-in tombs in the churchyard are memorials of their leadership of village life for a hundred years. The Purdys as we have shown came from Kelling, where they had been living through most of the eighteenth century, but the Johnsons entered Salthouse in 1796 from an unknown district.
The Baptismal Registers of the early 1800s show the beginnings of some of the families still residing in the village [in the 1930s]:
Charlotte, the dau of Peter Grout and Christiana his wife (late Ottey), born 30 March 1811.
Susannah, dau of Wm Hardingham and Sarah his wife (late Duffield), born 14 July 1812.
(The Duffields were at Kelling before this date)
Thomas, son of John Hearne and Sarah his wife (late Adams), born 7 November 1812.
Marianne, the dau of Francis Ives and Sarah his wife (late Jackson), born 7 October 1816.
THE WRECK OF THE RABY CASTLE
In 1837 there was a wreck on Salthouse beach, and this account was published in the Norfolk Chronicle of 24 February that year:
During a severe gale from the NNW, accompanied by heavy snow squalls, the Raby Castle of 60 tons burden went ashore at Salthouse, and became a total wreck. She was bound from London to Stockton with a valuable cargo. The crew and passengers were saved. When she broke up the beach was strewed with spirits, wine, oranges, nuts, teas, toys, hampers, boxes &c. The scene beggared description. The most outrageous and beastly conduct was exhibited. Here might be observed a group broaching a spirit cask, and letting it run into their oilskin hats, shoes, &c. There another stood filling their pockets and handkerchiefs. Plunder, wholesale plunder, appeared to be the order of the day, in spite of contingents of coastguard men. Many who were charged to watch the property became themselves intoxicated. Many were conveyed from the beach literally dead drunk, and it is with disgust we add that many women were in the same state. The cargo of the Raby Castle was worth £5,000: about £800 was recovered. The vessel was sold by auction for £41.
We know the names of some of the villagers who may have indulged in the above-mentioned ‘glorious drunk’, for we have a complete list of the inhabitants for that year, and a valuation of their dwellings. These particulars have been taken from a ‘Valuation of the Messuages, Lands, and other Hereditaments liable to Poor-rates in the Parish of Salthouse’, which is a document in the church safe referring to a survey made by Edward Houghton in 1838.