In Reffley wood in this parifh, there is a fine fpring of Chalybeat water, which upon being taken into a bafon has a black and dirty colour, but on mixing it with fpirits, becomes quite clear, and is of a pleafant flavour. This is a kind of Vauxhall to the inhabitants of Lynn, who refort here in great numbers during the fummer feafon…… From The Norfolk Tour 1796..
“There is evidence from the 1700’s that the people of King’s Lynn used Reffley as a place where they could walk in agreeable surroundings, enjoying the pleasures of the fresh air as well as the restorative powers of the spring waters. Here in the reign of George 111 (1760-1820) the ‘fashionable people’ of Kings Lynn would come and sit in the shade of the trees and exchange views on the latest sea battles and victories, especially those of Lord Nelson, born just along the coast at Burnham Thorpe. No doubt politics was discussed among the gentlemen, and poetry and literature for ladies. The first part of the 19th century was also the age of the Romantic Poets – Blake, Wordsworth and Lord Byron, Wizard of the North was a favourite, written by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). (A Scottish novelist and poet of the romantic period and best known for his Waverley novels.) For the livelier, younger members of these visiting parties there was often a band playing and dancing. It all presents a very civilised Elysian scene”……from Secret Society by Edwina Kellock in the NORFOLK JOURNAL January 2003.
What is readily apparent, is the ‘writers’ of the time, (the late 18th and early 19th century’s) use of such loquacious language, in their poetically imaginative descriptions (harking back to Arcadian days?…. ) of both scenes and events at Reffley. Also, the extent of the deference shown to the ‘Patron of the Spring’, is something, that is perhaps, quite alien to us today. The actual events would have been somewhat more prosaic than their descriptions would indicate, with perhaps, the exception of the performance of Arne’s Cantata which must have been quite a spectacular theatrical performance for ‘the clearing in the woods’.
Painting of Reffley Spring by W H Oldmeadow 1800. provided with kind permission by Lynn Museum, Norfolk Museums Service - www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk.
A Splendid Fete was on Thursday and Friday se’nnight held at Refley Temple near Lynn, to celebrate the restoration of peace.(1) The first day a party of gentlemen, to the number of 180, sat down to a sumptuous dinner, in a large and commodious booth erected for the purpose. A sheep, a present from Mr. Wm. Smith, of Lynn, was roasted whole, and served up, with this inscription, “A Peace offering to the friends of Refley.” The loyal, patriotic and local toasts drunk, and the many excellent songs sung, greatly contributed to the harmony and festivity which the convivial example, and attentive conduct of the President, Mr. R. Marshall, was so admirably calculated to inspire. An illumination terminated the festival. Among the company were Sir M. Folkes, Bart. T. Bagge, J. Hemington, J. Taylor, L. Self, S. Lane, Esqrs. &c. &c. – The succeeding day was appropriated to the entertainment of the ladies, when Refley was honoured by all the beauty and fashion of the neighbourhood. From the Bury and Norwich Post Wednesday 26th May 1802.
(1) The Peace being celebrated here, was the Peace Treaty between Britain and France signed at Amiens on March 27th 1802, which was welcomed on both sides of the Channel. London and other towns across Britain were illuminated, and within weeks there were fireworks, feasts, congratulatory addresses, sermons and poems celebrating the return of peace after nine long years of European conflict. However neither government really believed it was more than a truce, but both countries were exhausted and in need of a breathing space. Each government had their own agenda for seeking a pause in the conflict. The agreed peace terms were almost wholly favourable to Napoleon, for which the British government met widespread criticism at home. But significantly, the renewal of conflict on May 17th 1803, was orchestrated by Britain from a more favourable position…..From History Today.
The Norfolk Chronicle for Saturday 5th September 1818 reported on a Fete taking place on the previous Thursday.
Reffley Fete,- The fine majestic wood, and mineral spring of Reffley, distant from Lynn about two miles, have long afforded to the inhabitants of that town and its neighbourhood a delightful retreat where, in summers sultry days, amidst its shady recesses, surrounded by sylvan scenery, and greeted by the melody of birds, they can awhile forget their serious cares and unbend the mind by friendly and jocund converse over the social bowl, (the contents of which yield an additional relish by the peculiarly grateful flavour which Reffley’s limpid fountain bestows) whilst the cheerful song, the enlivening mistrelsy, and the sprightly dance, occasionally impart their attractive influence.
Travellers from all parts of the kingdom have long borne ample testimony to the fascinations of this romantic place, and the classic Muse has celebrated, in appropriate strains, its picturesque varieties, where Arcadian scenes present themselves in all the luxuriant and wild sublimity of nature. In a sequestered spot, completely o’er- canopied by the thick-shadowing foliage of trees and bushes, a rural fountain presents itself, in the midst of which arises a handsome obelisk, from whence, by means of an aqueduct, the chalybeate stream is projected. Around this fountain seats are placed, and at a little distance at one side is a public Canopy. On the opposite side, an octagon Temple, (built and supported by subscription, and appropriated to the accommodation of the subscribers and their friends,) stands at the extremity of a small lawn, encompassed by lofty trees, and embowering shrubs, whose wide-spreading and irregular branches are adapted to the purposes of “ shelter and shade too,” affording at once an interesting picture, and an agreeable influence.
On Thursday last the members and friends of Reffley met and dined together in a pavilion erected upon the lawn fronting the temple, to celebrate the return to parliament of Sir Martin Browne Folkes, Bart. The proprietor of the soil and wood of Reffley, and the patron of the spring, and also in compliment to him for erecting a new canopy there, and for other improvements bestowed upon the place, and indulgences granted to its visitants. The entertainment was arranged and conducted in style by Mr Joseph Andrews, and Mr Middleton, who officiated as stewards on the occasion, assisted by a committee.---Many utensils for the feast were obligingly supplied by the Mayor of Lynn from the Town-hall. Sir Martin having been invited to honour the meeting by his presence, and having intimated his intention of accepting the invitation, the “Sons of Reffley” were highly elated with the idea of seeing their much-respected patron amongst them.
About three o’clock, a bugle which had been stationed to announce the entrance of Sir Martin into the wood, gave notice of his approach, when the assembled company advanced in a body to meet him, and preceded by music, conducted him with every mark of respect to the scene of the festivity. Dinner soon after commenced, at which Mr Marshall presided, displaying those convivial talents which he so eminently possesses. A handsome dessert of excellent fruit succeeded, furnished by Sir Martin from his own gardens at Hillington.—After dinner, on the health of Sir Martin being drunk, he returned thanks in a speech replete with good humour, and highly complimentary and gratifying to the friends of the spring---and could any increase have taken place in the esteem which has long been entertained by the inhabitants of Lynn towards their worthy representative Sir Martin, it must have been called forth on this occasion, by his liberality, his polite condescension, and gentlemanly deportment, which banished all restraint, and placed everyone at ease around him.—such was the effect of his cordial and affable address, that not a single individual present, however distant in rank or station from the honourable visitor, but felt himself perfectly relieved of those feelings of embarrassment which are naturally excited in the presence of superiors, but which true gentility knows so happily how to dispel.—the day passed off in harmony and mirth—the toast and song were introduced in jovial succession, whilst Reffley’s shades re-echoed the festive strains. Every countenance beamed with lively satisfaction, and all departed highly delighted with the festivities of the day, and more particularly with the kindness and urbanity of their distinguished guest—Sir Martin, whose good humour contributed so essentially to increase the hilarity of the meeting, and whose favourable wishes, expressed in the most gentlemanly manner, have impressed upon the votaries of Reffley, sentiments of indelible respect and gratitude for their friendly and liberal patron. From the Norfolk Chronicle Saturday 5th September 1818.
A somewhat shorter report was recorded in the book “History of the Borough of Kings Lynn” by Hillen.
To celebrate the return of Sir Martin Browne Folkes (18th June 1818) a grand festival was held at Reffley. A large pavilion was erected near the renowned chalybeate spring, and the entertainment (for which, the mayor, George Hogge, supplied utensils) was successfully carried out by Messrs. Andrews and Middleton. Sir Martin owner of the soil and patron of “the Spring” and the re-elected member, was present at the rustic board, over which the loquacious Mr Marshall presided. Huge njorums of most delectable punch were concocted with magical spring water, and whilst political perplexities were studiously avoided. “the sons of Reffley” enjoyed a “feast of nectar’d sweets.” Can you not hear the harmonious rhythm of Arne’s cantata “for voices and strings” and peering through the interlacing foliage, can you not see “the grand high priest” arrayed in his druidic garb, holding aloft the massive silver goblet, whilst adown the dim aisles of that sylvan retreat floats the captivating refrain of the dedicatory recitative : --
To Reffley’s bright deities swell the glad strain.
Still Reffley’s delights be the theme ;
Whilst Reffley flows on may that pleasure remain,
And ours be the sweets of the stream.
Yet, another, even shorter, report of the occasion appeared in the Bury and Norwich Post for Wednesday 9th September 1818:
Thursday se’nnight, a fete was given at Reffley, Lynn, in the romantic wood which attracts so many visitors by its mineral spring, to celebrate the election of Sir M. B. Folkes, Bart. as Member for the latter place. Sir Martin was himself present, and by polite condescension and truly gentlemanly deportment, excited feelings of estimation which no political interference can erase. An excellent dinner was provided, and a handsome dessert, furnished by the worthy Baronet, gave an additional zest to the social bowl which the company enjoyed till a late hour. from the Globe Thursday 10 September 1818 and Bury and Norwich Post Wednesday 9th September 1818.
This must have been a celebration held on a such a grand scale, that it was related in two books, the first published in 1819 and the second in 1829..
Reffley The fine majestic wood and mineral spring of Reffley, distant from Lynn about two miles, have long afforded to the inhabitants of that town and its neighbourhood , a delightful retreat, where, in summers sultry days, amidst its shady recesses, surrounded by sylvan scenery and greeted by the melody of birds, they can awhile forget their serious cares, and unbend the mind by friendly and jocund converse over the social bowl, (the contents of which yield an additional relish by the peculiarly grateful flavour which reffley’s limpid stream bestows,) whilst the cheerful song, the enlivening minstrelsy, and the sprightly dance, occasionally impart their attractive influence.
Travellers from all parts of the kingdom have long borne ample testimony to the fascinations of this romantic place, and the classic muse has celebrated, in appropriate strains, its picturesque varieties, where Arcadian scenes present themselves in all the luxuriant and wild sublimity of nature. In a sequestered spot, completely over-canopied by the thick shadowy foliage of trees and bushes, a rural fountain presents itself, in the midst of which, rises a handsome obelisk, from whence, by means of an aqueduct, the chalybeate stream is projected: around this fountain seats are placed, and at a little distance on one side, is a public canopy.
On the opposite side, an octogan temple, (built and supported by subscription, and appropriated to the accommodation of the subscribers and their friends,) stands at the extremity of a small lawn, encompassed by the lofty trees and embowering shrubs, whose wide-spreading and irregular branches are adapted to the purposes of “shelter and shade,” affording at once an interesting picture and an agreeable influence. In August, 1818, the members and friends of Reffley met and dined together in a pavilion erected upon the lawn fronting the temple, to celebrate the return to parliament of Sir Martin Brown Folkes, bart. one of the members for the town, the proprietor of the soil and wood of Reffley, and the patron of the spring; and also in compliment to him, for erecting a new canopy there. And for improvements bestowed upon the place, and indulgences granted to its visitants. From Excursions in the County of Norfolk vol II Thomas Kitson Cromwell 1819.pp 42-43.
Reffly. The fine majestic wood and mineral springs of Reffly, distant from Lynn about two miles, have long afforded to the inhabitants of that town and its neighbourhood, a delightful retreat. In a sequestered spot, completely over-canopied by foliage, a rural fountain presents itself; in the midst of which, rises a handsome obelisk; from whence, by means of an aqueduct, the chalybeate stream is projected. Round this fountain seats are placed, and at a little distance on one side, is a public canopy; on the opposite side an octogan temple, (built and supported by supscription, and appropriated to the accommodation of the subscribers and their friends), stands at the extremity of a small,l lawn, encompassed with trees and umbrageous shrubs.
In August 1818, the members and friends of Reffly met and dined together, in a pavilion erected upon the lawn fronting the temple, to celebrate the return to parliament of sir Martin browne Folkes, bart., one of the members for the town, the proprietor of the soil and wood of Reffly, and the patron of the spring, and also in compliment to him, for erecting a new canopy there, and for improvements bestowed upon the place, and indulgences granted to its visitants.
Besides this spring at Reffly, there is another beyond Setchey, on the Downham road: also others in East Winch parish, one of which is much more strongly impregnated than the rest. This spring is strongly impregnated with sulphate of iron. From A General History of the County of Norfolk intended to convey all the information of a Norfolk Tour……vol 1 ed. John Chambers.1829.pp 439-440.
The following item is taken from the series of articles "NORFOLK in the 19th CENTURY: Holiday and Health Resorts," published in the Norfolk News and other papers. The full article, is reproduced in the "MORE" section under the same heading, for its background information.
"Another favourite resort was the Reffley Chalybeate Spring, near Lynn, around the fountain of which seats were placed, while a select “temple” or pavilion was reserved for the use of subscribers. This spring was ferruginous, and was specially frequented by a mirthful society known as “The Sons of Reffley,” who held high festival in 1818, when sir M.B. ffolkes, “owner of the soil and patron of the spring” was returned to Parliament. “A bugler was stationed on the confines of the wood heralded the approach of the patron, who was received by a numerous company, and, proceeded by musicians, was conducted to the scene of the feast. The rustic board was presided over by a Mr. Marshall, who displayed those convivial talents which he so eminently possessed: there were toast-drinking and singing, and the wood resounded with the sounds of mirth and revellry." From Norfolk News March 16th 1901.
The following two items from this period have not so far come to light:
In “The Norfolk Topographers Manual: Being a Catalogue of Books and Engravings……” by Samual Woodward and others 1842, are listed in the section, Histories of Lynn, &c. (page 54):
Reffley Spring, an Epistle in Verse: by John Grisenthwaite 10p.p. Lynn 1804.
Revised Rules of Reffly: broad sheet Lynn 1830.
Another Fete, for which a report exists, was held on Thursday 2nd June 1831, to celebrate the re-opening of Reffley Spring after the completion of extensive repairs and improvements, which included the enlargement of the Temple and its kitchen as well as, the circuit of the ground being increased.
From the Stamford Mercury for Friday 10th June 1831:
“About two miles eastward of Lynn, there is an interesting spot called Riffley Spring : for many it has been a favourite place of resort during the summer season. Situated nearly in the centre of this wood is a fine chalybeate spring : from this exhaustless source the visitants derive a supply of water, the mineral properties of which appear to neutralise the offensive tendencies of ardent spirits. It is often remarked that “there is nothing like Riffley punch,” when it is prepared with the water taken immediately from the spring – The wood is the property of Sir Wm. Folkes, Bart., M.P. for the county. About forty years ago a friendly society obtained permission from Sir William’s ancestor to erect a small building, called “the temple” for their own accommodation and that of occasional visitors. The society, which had been subjected to the fluctuations of time and circumstances, has lately received some valuable additions, - it has been re-organised, and since the last season the temple has been considerably enlarged, and other improvements constructed.
To effect these, a further grant from Sir William was necessary: in the most prompt and courteous manner the Hon. Baronet conceded all, and gave even more than the society solicited. To celebrate the re-opening of the temple, and to testify their gratitude to “the lord of the soil,” the members invited Sir William to dine with them, at Riffley, on Thursday the 2d inst. At five o’clock an excellent dinner was served up : there were present, Sir Wm Folkes, - West, Esq., Edw. Everard, Esq., L., Self, jun. Esq., and 26 other gentlemen and subscribers. Mr. C. Burcham, the treasurer, presided : and Mr. Arrow, the secretary, was the vice-president. The serenity of the weather, - the richness of the scenery, - the warbling of “the feathered songsters of the wood,” – the vocal powers of Mr Smirke, - the urbanity of the principal guest, - the toasts, and the expressed sentiments, - and the uninterrupted harmony and conviviality which prevailed, made the re-opening of Riffley Temple indeed “the feast of reason and the flow of soul.” From the Stamford Mercury 10th June 1831.
This occasion was also reported in the Norfolk Chronicle. Saturday 11th June 1831:
We have frequently had occasion to report the fetes given by the “Sons of Reffley” at their delightful retreat at that rural spot, but although we have often noticed entertainments there on a much larger scale, we never reported one that appeared to give greater pleasure and satisfaction than that given by the members on Thursday, the 2d instant, to Sir Wm. Folkes proprietor of the soil. Many repairs and alterations had become necessary, and Sir Wm. Folkes, with his usual liberality and attention to the comforts and pleasures of the inhabitants of Lynn, granted all and even more than the subscribers requested. The Temple has been enlarged, the kitchen rendered more commodious, and the circuit of the ground increased, the whole being put in excellent and complete order; and on Thursday a dinner was given to celebrate the re-opening, at which were present Sir Wm. Folkes, Bart. M.P. E. West, Esq. E. Everard, Esq. L. Self, jun. Esq. and 20 subscribers. Mr Burcham, the treasurer, presided, and Mr. Arrow (Secretary), sat as vice-president. The day was remarkably propitious, and the feathered choristers vied with the vocal powers of Mr Snirke for the entertainment of the company, who departed highly gratified at the urbanity of the principal guest, and by the excellent cheer provided for them by Mr. Binge of the Freemason’s tavern. From Norfolk Chronicle Saturday 11th June 1831.
The following year, the Huntingdon Bedford & Peterborough Gazette for the 16th June 1832 reported:
“ A short distance from the town of Lynn is a beautiful wood called Rifley, the property of Sir W Folkes, our county member. In the midst of this bocage stands a stately temple, consecrated to Ceres or some other goddess, which was raised in days of yore by the lovers of rural recreation. A party of gentlemen called the subscribers to the temple, resort here for rational amusement during the summer months, and their opening festivity is generally celebrated by a formal consecration of their numbers to the presiding deity. Wednesday last was the day appointed for the anniversary meeting, when a large company assembled on the occasion, who spent the day together most harmoniously, surrounded by the beauties of spring and the songsters of the grove. The water which gushes from a fountain in this place makes the best punch imaginable, and it has consequently been the custom of those who visit Rifley, from time immemorial, never to depart from the original rule in reducing the “component parts of the striking opposites, into the flowing bowl.” The glasses being charged, some loyal and constitutional sentiments, with local toasts, were given, on which several of the party judiciously decanted, the intervals being filled up by the vocal powers of jovial harmony and wit, which rendered the whole entertainment worthy to be called “the feast of reason and the flow of soul.” From Huntingdon Bedford & Peterborough Gazette Saturday 16th June 1832.
In October of the same year (1832), another celebration held at Reffley Spring, was reported in the Norfolk Chronicle:
Lynn, Oct 4.
Saturday last being Michaelmas-day, Edward Everard, Esq. was sworn into the office of Mayor for the ensuing year, but greatly to the disappointment of the numerous professors of the noble science of Gastronomy, the customary public dinner was dispensed with.
A party, however, of the sons of Reffley, celebrated the day in their temple at that rural retreat, where the mutton and turnips, the choice delicacies usually offered at the shrine of the presiding deities of the place, followed by Michaelmas goose, formed an excellent preparative for the copious libations of the far-famed punch of Reffley spring, and the day passed in harmony and good-humoured conviviality. From Norfolk Chronicle Saturday 6th October 1832.
Hillen reported the event as:
THE BARE IMAGINATIONS OF A FEAST
Greatly to the disappointment of numerous professors of gastronomy, the usual civic dinner on Michaelmas day was not given, when Edward Everard was chosen mayor (1822) * To console themselves in their uneasiness, the company repaired to the Temple of Reffley and found the renowned water
More exquisite than when Nectarean juice
Renews the life of joy in happiest hours.
* Should be 1832? From History of the Borough of Kings Lynn Hillen p.566.
A further increase to the grounds surrounding the Temple at Reffley was proposed in 1841:
“…next summer this sequestered spot will possess attractions
not to be surpassed by any of a similar description
in the kingdom”.
Cambridge Independent Press 23rd October 1841
Reffley- A great increase is about to be made to the grounds attached to the Temple at Reffley, a place well known to all persons who have visited Lynn, possessing a spark of conviviality in his composition. At the last meeting of the members of this delightful retreat, it was agreed that the permission of Sir William Folkes the owner of the property, should be asked to the enclosure of an additional portion of the wood, this was accordingly done last week, when that gentleman at once in the most handsome manner, sanctioned the proposed alterations, so that next summer this sequestered spot will possess attractions not to be surpassed by any of a similar description in the kingdom. –from the Cambridge Independent Press Saturday 23rd October 1841.
n.b. Vauxhall Gardens last opened 5th Sept 1839 and went bankrupt Nov. 1840.
1841-Few persons who have visited Lynn, but know that delightful retreat “Reffly Spring,” situated in the midst of an umbrageous wood, where the inhabitants of the town occasionally resort in the summer months, to enjoy the fresh air of the country and the delicious punch, for which the place is so justly celebrated.
The Members of Reffly, a society which has existed for more than half a century, and to whom the temple erected there nominally belongs, have just concluded their season for the present year. At the last meeting the desirableness of increasing the grounds attached to the temple was discussed, and unanimously accorded with, and the Committee appointed to fix upon the most eligible line for the new fence, and to solicit the permission of Sir W. Folkes, the owner of the property, tp make the addition.
They accordingly proceeded on Thursday to execute the duties eentrusted to them, and had just got the line stacked out, when Sir William rode up, and at once, in a most cordial and gentlemanly manner, expressed his approval, and granted his sanction to the improvement, so that next year an extensive pleasure ground, containing many magnificent timber trees, will form an additional attraction to that rural spot, and will afford ample share for the games, which have latterly become so highly popular there. From the Norwich Mercury Saturday 23rd October 1841.
Three years later, in April 1844, the Cambridge Independent Press, had some less convivial news from Reffley Spring, to impart:
Robbery- One day last week, the Temple at Reffley spring was broken open, and a silver punch ladle, a pair of candlesticks, and some other articles stolen; a reward of £2. has been offered for the discovery of the thief. From Cambridge Independent Press Saturday 20th April 1844.
This same incident, was also reported in the Norfolk Chronicle, however, in a more jocular fashion:
Sacrilege!- A few nights since, some wicked wight, perhaps a teetotaller, pro salute, broke open the temple of the jolly god at Reffley Spring and with hands profane made off with the punch ladle and glasses!! From Norfolk Chronicle Saturday 27th April 1844.
In June that year,1844, the members again held their annual meeting at Reffley Spring:
The members of Reffley held their annual dinner in their temple on Friday last, and passedc a most agreeable day in one of the most delightful retreats in this neighbourhood. Owing to the absence from home of several of the members, the party was not so numerous as usual, yet there was no lack of the hilarity and complete enjoyment which characterize the social meetings at this charming spot. From Norwich Mercury Saturday 29th June 1844.
Reffley Spring – The subscribers to Reffley spring held their anniversary meeting at the Temple on Friday last, where a large portion of the members sat down to an excellent dinner, presided over by Mr. Cruso, the president C. Burcham, Esq., being in London. The day was remarkably fine, and the festivity and the amusements for which this delightful rural retreat is so justly celebrated, were kept up to a late hour. From Cambridge Independent Press Saturday 29th June 1844.
In 1852, the Norfolk Chronicle reported that 16 members were present, at the rural retreat at Reffley for the annual dinner that year:
The members of this rural retreat celebrated their sixty-third anniversary at the Temple, when sixteen gentlemen sat down to dinner, presided over by Mr. Cruso, the president of the society, A most agreeable evening was spent, and the party did not break up until a late hour. From the Norfolk chronicle Saturday 19th June 1852.
Three years later, it was reported in the Norwich Chronicle, that Reffley Spring was a venue chosen to mark the Fall of Sebastopol (1855):
The Fall of Sebastopol, - This event was celebrated by a party of about fifty gentlemen, under the presidency of Mr. R. Cruso, at Reffley Spring, on Monday evening, when all the loyal and patriotic toasts appropriate for such an occasion were enthusiastically drunk. A great public dinner in the Corn Hall, is suggested as a proper mode of publicly honouring the event. From the Norfolk Chronicle Saturday 22nd September 1855. n,b. Sebastopol was one of the classic sieges of all time. The city of Sebastopol was the home of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which threatened the Mediterranean. The Russian field army withdrew before the allies could encircle the city. The siege was the culminating struggle for the strategic Russian port and was the final episode in the Crimean War. From wikipaedia.
On the last day of March 1860, the Norfolk Chronicle published an obituary of the late Sir William ffolkes, (who had succeeded Sir Martin ffolkes Bart., as the Subscribers/Reffley Society’s patron, although this is not mentioned in the following report), it is interesting to note the esteem in which he was held, and how it describes a society very different from our own today.
The late Sir Wm Ffolkes.- It is with deep regret that we this week record the death of Sir William Browne Ffolkes, Bart., which took place at his seat, Hillington Hall, near Lynn, on Saturday last. Sir William had arrived at the ripe old age of 73 years, and few persons have sunk into the grave more deservedly esteemed and regretted. He was a deputy lieutenant of the county, and senior magistrate of his division, in which capacity he was indefatigable in attending to his duties, having for many years filled the office of chairman of quarter sessions, at Swaffham, and up to the time of his death, taking an active part in the administration of justice. As a landlord he was a liberal encourager of agricultural improvements, and was ever anxious to see his tenants prospering, and filling that station in society to which their capital and intelligence entitled them. The welfare of the labourer was a subject in which he took a deep interest, and the cottages on his estates are models of what he considered the dwellings of his poorer fellow-creatures ought to be. In politics Sir William was a steady and consistent whig,(1) and those opinions he supported in the two parliaments in which he represented his native county. Occupying a prominent position in his district he was ever ready to support those measures which he considered calculated to promote the public good, even up to his death filling the situation of chairman of the Norfolk Estuary Company, and the last time he appeared in public he presided over a meeting to oppose a clause in a bill which the Eau Brink Commissioners sought to levy a toll on the free bridge over the Eau Brink Cut.
Sir William Ffolkes is succeeded by his grandson, William, now in his 12th year. Eldest son of the late Martin Brown Ffolkes, Esq,. who lost his life in so melancholy a manner by lightening in July 1849.(1) The Whig’s opposed the Tory party, they played a central role in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and constitutional government over the Crown. They supported the great aristocratic families and the Hanoverian succession. Later they drew support from emerging industrial interests and wealthy merchants.