The Common

Although the boundary between Itteringham village and Itteringham Common is the River Bure, the hamlet that makes up the Common as it is known, lies about half a mile south east of the main village. The Walpole Arms, Hill Farm and the Mill Cottage are all technically part of the Common with the Mill lying between the two.

The Common was originally an area of communal land where villagers could graze their animals and collect firings and kindling. The local 1818 Enclosure act was completed in 1823 and saw a new straight road made across the last remaining common. The villagers were each allotted small areas of the old common and waste, which then became part of their property on which to grow vegetables or keep a few animals. Several of the cottages on the common date from shortly after 1823 when some of these allotments were sold to a developer, John Randall.

Bure Cottage c.1950 Bure Cottage December 2001
Bure Cottage c.1950
Bure Cottage December 2001

Bure Cottage was originally built in 1792, with a thatched roof. A second cottage was attached a few years later in 1796. As with many similar houses, a catslide extension was added in the late 19th century. There are more flint buildings on the Common than in the village itself.

Medo (Fred Baxter) and Ivan Thompson
Medo (Fred Baxter) and Ivan Thompson sitting in Medo's cart next to the pulk on the Common in the '60s

Pulk Pulk
The pulk and the signpost both in need of repair 8th December 2001

The pulk was a public water collection point for many years and was fed by a fresh water spring. Access to the bucket filling area was on the north (far) side.

It was used until the late 60s when a water main was finally laid through the village.

In the late 1970s Perran Penrose, then living locally but since deceased, made repairs to the ailing pulk wall using a bricklaying pattern rarely found in Norfolk. The pulk is now only occasionally cleared and the water is not used locally; its quality probably reflects the intensive use of agricultural chemicals on surrounding fields

This word is not in the OED but Forby in Vocabulary of East Anglia, II gives:

1. A hole full of mud or a small muddy pond otherwise a pulk-hole
2. A shallow place containing water

Being at the bottom of the hill, the pulk flooded regularly and went green in the summer so we had to throw it out... I reckon it was about 5 foot deep... all the Common used it except for Austin who had their own well. Harry Broughton had a well but it was not working. I used to carry buckets for the old ladies on the common... for a few pence. We were still bucketting out of the pulk when I came out of the army in 1957... there was no mains water, never had a modern toilet or anything like that... you took a bucket and chucked it down the toilet!
Ivan Thompson

The new signpost 18th May 2004

Pulk   Pulk
Area cleaned up by the National Trust 12th June 2004
Interior awaiting drain clearance 12th June 2004

The shop on the Common closed some years back.
Towards the end it was only selling such items as sweets and tobacco.

The old shop
The old shop on the Common c.1990

Sometimes she would throw the sweets at you...
Austin Fowell

My father is from Itteringham, and until I left Norfolk for  university in 1991 we visited my grandmother (the late Edith Broughton - infamous sweet-throwing shopkeeper!) weekly at 86 The  Common. Sadly my grandfather died before my birth and as Dad was the  youngest of his children my knowledge of the extended side of his  family has always been sketchy. To see for the first time pictures of  Broughton lads tearing round the cycle speedway circuit amuses me no  end, and as I zip to work through the traffic on Monday morning I'll  feel more at home in my toe-clips than ever!
Jim Broughton - 3rd March 2006

Long demolished, there were also some cottages known as the Town House(s), which the parish used for poor people before the advent of parish unions that provided for the poor by building the infamous workhouses. The Town House stood near the road in front of what is now Orchard Farm. The overseers accounts of the 1740s regularly show bills for re thatching, glazed windows, bricks for rebuilding and "dawbing the Town house". In 1839 the Town House appeared as plot no. 102 on the tithe map and the records show that the occupants were John Harrison, Thomas and Elizabeth Riscberry, William? Smith, Joshua Ayton and William? Sparrow.

Wesleyan Methodist Chapel Victorian postbox
The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel
December 2001
The Victorian postbox on the wall next to the chapel

If you have any memories, anecdotes or photos please let us know and we may be able to use them to update the site. By all means telephone 07836 675369 or

Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004
Top of Page