Information, Facts
& Anecdotes

We hope the following items and anecdotes will prove of interest...

If you have any to add please let us know!

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The hill leading out of Itteringham towards Aylsham is called the Sovereigns because a wagon once lost a wheel there and the contents fell on the wayside. However, some sovereigns were never found and so the name remains to this day.
or alternatively...

A less interesting but more probable explanation is that the name is a corruption of the name of an old narrow field called The Severals, which ran down the right hand side of the road towards the village. Ivan Thompson remembers the Sovereigns as running from the second field down to Hill Farm. This ties in with a map showing the field name as The Severals at the time of a letter of agreement showing the the field to be owned by Mary Churchman. Before the Act of Enclosure it was part of the roadside heath lands leading to the Common.

The field next to it was called Poverty because of it's poor soil structure!

The council houses on Church Road and Wolterton Road were built in 1951. Originally it was intended that all the houses would be built along the length of Church Road and none along Wolterton Road.

Mr Hall was the man who had the forge. I've been and blew the bellows for him once, pumped the bellows for him cause we lived opposite (13 Church Row) and if he was in a good mind he'd let you in to see the fire and the horses being shod and you had to keep out of the way.
Ruth Harrison

2 acres of land, mostly a gravel pit was purchased in 1699, with £8 given to the poor by Lady Potts and £12 subscribed by the parish.
Whites 1845

The land is next to the Broom Hill and is rented out. However, the Parish Council is still responsible for distributing the proceeds to designated residents of the Parish.

Robin Farm once formed part of the Mannington Estate which was called Mannington Mere Farm. Lord Robert Walpole rented some of the land to Edward (Ted) Prior who asked Lord Walpole to name the farm house. Lord Walpole replied that he had a new born son whose name is Robin, so Robin Farm it became. The track leading up to the house was known as Prior's Loke.

One winter's night two woodmen became trapped because of the snow and were forced to shelter at the keeper's cottage in Mossymere Wood. The gamekeeper's wife washed the sheets before making up the beds and as a result the poor woodmen caught pneumonia and both died.

White House Farm is situated on the outskirts of the parish, being part of the Wolterton Estate. It is said that General Ironside once resided there. Fields leading up to the White House are called Esther's, which is a Jewish name. The Babylonian form is Hadassah, which means myrtle. On land close to this area (opposite to the Common) are the footings of St. Nicholas' Church, long forgotten and known to very few people. There are also stories of an ancient monastery on the marshlands.

The Broom Hill is so called because broom was grown there. A summer house is on the summit, this was used by the lady of the manor for restful afternoons.

Maundy Money was distributed to the poor in times of great hardship.

It is rumoured that an old pub known as The Artichoke was once in the Big Yard. There used to be a beerhouse on the Wolterton Road that was once run by Robert Lee the village ratcatcher. For years locals have been known to call the Walpole Arms by the name Artichoke.

Itteringham village stocks are preserved in Norwich Castle Museum dungeons.

My most vivid memory of Itteringham is the severe winter of 1947. At one point the village was cut off by heavy snow drifts and I recall grandfather taking me up to the road by the church to see several men, including my father, digging out the snow and throwing it over the banks. The snow was as high as mountains but then I was just three years of age!

Later, we went down to the bridge and I witnessed chains on car wheels.
Stephen Peart

Douglas Charles Barrett
son of William and May Barrett (née Wilch)

I was born on 29 TH June 1923 the forth child to William Barrett and May Wilch at 95 The Street, Itteringham, Norfolk. This house was owned by Lord Walpole.

My father worked for Dick Stevens as steam engine operator travelling the county threshing corn. Whilst during the off season he travelled the county maintaining and repairing steam engines and equipment. Father was a renowned and skilful poacher as one needed to be in those days to keep a large family fed. He would always been seen ferreting the hedges on return from church on Sundays. We as children would remark at school that our rabbits had wishbones much to the astonishment of other children. One anecdote was that Father was cycling home from a days work in the field when he noticed to cock pheasants fighting. He assembled his three-piece .22 rifle whilst still cycling and shot one of them. On jumping off his cycle to retrieve it he noticed the other bird admiring the kill so he shot that too. Placed them in his specially designed coat and was back on his bike in seconds. The penalties for poaching were considerably severe and the gamekeepers of Blickling and Holkham spent many fruitless hours chasing him.

My mother helped run the Walpole Arms for her father.

Their first child was Curtis who unfortunately dies aged 2½.

Phylis and Daphne both of whom have since died.

I grew up with Francis Titchley, Tubby Hall and Freddy Mills spending much of my time on Archie Wrights farm.

I went to school opposite our house in the village.

On my last visit to the Walpole Arms there was a school photograph 1930 on the wall which shows me sitting cross legged wearing a scarf.

In my early days I served ice cream from a stall in Aylsham market and had a paper round on Sundays.

On leaving school I bought a paper round off a lad called Norton who was leaving the area.

We moved to 4 Middleton's lane just on the outskirts of Norwich in a privately rented house near the airfield.

I then worked for the Omnibus Company garage as a centre lathe turner. I think my sisters Gwen and Doreen were born here.

The family then moved 2 Yaxley lane, Aylsham where two more siblings Betty and David were born.

Before the war broke out I worked with father on the field and was labouring. During this time Oulton Street was demolished to make was for an airfield runway. My grandparents the Wilch's owned the pub in 1912.

In 1943 I then took up a job in Saffron Walden at Acro engineering as a centre lathe turner making parts for tanks and Bren gun carriers.

I lodged in the Kings Arms public house with Ken Ducker who was released to join the Army being posted to the Far East.

I was eventually able to get released from a reserved occupation and joined the Royal Navy.

I completed my training at HMS Ganges and was drafted to HMS Malaya a First World War Battleship.

Whilst moored in Loch Striven in Scotland the ship was used as a target for the practise of Barnes Wallis bouncing bomb. This at the time was carried by a Mosquito fighter bomber. Many years later footage of this event was released to the public and actually shows the bomb hitting the ship. At the time the ships company had been sent to the far side of the ship but as I was repairing the Captains extractor fan in his cabin I was able to actually see the plane approaching, dropping the bomb and the impact of it.

During the Normandy invasion HMS Malaya was having new 14 barrels fitted in preparation of bombardment. We sailed for the French coast and during October began bombarding St Malo harbour and the surrounding area.

In 2014 I received the Legion de Honour from the French for this action. After this action HMS Malaya was decommissioned and I was drafted to HMS Troubridge a T class destroyer. This ship was adopted by Walthamstow and the crew were entertained at The Assembly Rooms where I met my future wife Dorothy Lillian Tate. The ship was then sent to the Far East as part of the British Pacific Fleet as Task Force 57. I became friends with another Norfolk man Lofty Diamond who was the LTO and I trained as a Torepedoman and depth charger.

The ship returned to the UK in 1946 and remained in service until 1953. Those old enough to remember the Navy Lark radio series will recall the ships name was a derivative of HMS Troubridge the Troutbridge.

On being demobbed I worked for a screw making company in Forest Road, Walthamstow, a paint company in Silvertown Way, Canning Town and then the London Electrical Wire works again in Leyton.

I was married in 1950 and we moved to rented accommodation at 45 Apsley Road, Walthamstow.

I attended night school at Walthamstow College studying to be an Electrician qualifying with City and Guilds.

In 1954 I bought a bungalow in Forth Avenue, Shotgate in Essex. During this time I was commuting to work by motorcycle. In 1956 my son Kevin was born and I went to work at the Mobil Oil refinery in Coryton on the Thames Estuary. I added a sidecar to the bike for family transport. My first car was an Austin Seven purchased for £10 and resold later for £15 when upgrading to a Ford Poplar.

In 1959 my daughter Lynn was born.

In 1961 we moved to our current address a 3 bedroom semi-detached house in Kenwood Road, Corringham.

I retired from Mobil in 1983 the year following the marriage of my daughter Lynn. We have three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Douglas Barrett - February 2018

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 01263 713658 or

Copyright © Jonathan Neville 2004
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