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The North Norfolk village with the fascinating history  


Commander Frank Stagg R.N
whose researched history of the village was published in the Salthouse book in 2003.

The 16th Century

   and the Church

More excerpts from the book:
(now out of print)


There were important ecclesiastical changes in the reign of Edward VI and in 1546, when he ascended the throne, the Book of Common Prayer came into use. The second Prayer Book was sanctioned in 1552, and ten years later the English Bible, which for two years past had been set up in the churches, was ordered to be read to the people in the public services. In 1547 injunctions were issued that the clergy were to preach at least once a quarter, that images were to be removed from the churches, stained glass windows to be broken up, and the inside walls of the churches to be whitewashed. When Queen Mary came to the throne in 1553, all the statutes of her brother Edward VI were repealed and the Book of Common Prayer declared heretical. In 1554 five thousand clergy and many of the bishops were ejected—but possibly Salthouse was too far removed from the lynx eye of Cardinal Pole, even if Parson Prowet of Salthouse did not conform to his order. When Elizabeth I became Queen in 1558, the legislation respecting the Reformation again came into force.


But what gives this century such a hold on our imagination after the blankness of the previous ones was the beginning of the keeping of parish registers under an order from Vicar-General Thomas Cromwell.

Salthouse registers must all have begun in 1538, and that of marriages still does, but one folio of christenings has been torn off, apparently since they were rebound in 1748, and two pages of burials likewise, so that baptisms now begin in 1546, and burials in 1558. We have not the handwritings of the rectors prior to Robert Hetherington, since up till 1593 they are in the hand of a scribe who was sent round the country to transcribe the presumably bad writing of the earlier priests.




Thanks to these registers* we know at least the names of the parishioners and what christian names were then in fashion. The great families were the Tucks, Parrs and Stanforths. Of course the Heydons must have controlled the bulk of the economic life of the parish since the grazing rights would have been entirely theirs—but who their bailiff was, that went to Sir Christopher’s Christmas banquet at Baconsthorpe, we do not know. The only name that has been immortalised is that of Tuck, who gave his name to the field of Tuck’s Close. Should we be correct in assuming that the Tucks were agriculturalists? The Parrs we know were later on owners of ships or small craft, while the Stanforths call themselves merchants in the 1700s and were also millers.

The Registers that Commander Stagg is referring to were in a nearly perfect state at the time he was writing this history in the 1930s. Since then they have suffered by being buried in the churchyard during the 1939-1945 war and forgotten until the 1950s, when they were dug up and found to be terribly damaged. Now, in 2006, the NRO is restoring them.


Next page

*These old Parish Registers are being restored. See all about them: -click here or here


Val Fiddian 2005