A workhouse was built on the West side of Chapel Street, a convenient white brick building accommodating 70 paupers for Cawston and adjacent parishes, it was replaced before 1845 by tenements and let by the overseers to the poor parishioners.

Early 1900's Tramps were often seen walking from one workhouse to another, begging money, food and drink, as they went. At the workhouse, they would be given a bed for one night, and a piece of bread and cheese in the morning, and sent on their way.

Bill of Sale ?

The following announcement and Bill of Sale appear­ed in the issue of the Norwich Mercury of December 16th, 1837.


Pursuant to an Order of the Poor Law Commissioners directed to the

Guardians of the Poor of Aylsham Union.




To be sold by Auction


by Mr. Boulter

At the Woodrow Inn
at Cawston in the County of Norfolk on Wednesday the 3rd day of January 1838 at 3.o'clock in the afternoon.  


All that Substantial Brick and Tile Dwelling House, lately used as the Parish Workhouse at Cawston afore said comprising various convenient and good sized rooms on the ground floor and good chambers, also several substantial brick and tiled Dwellings, Yards and Gardens adjoining.

The above are easily convertable for the purposes of a Factory or Any Business requiring room.

For further particulars and conditions of sale apply to Mr. Pike, Solicitor, Marsham, Norwich  or the Auctioneer of Oulton-next-Aylsham.

The following information is contained in Whites Directory of 1836:

The Workhouse is a convenient white brick building capable of accommodating 70 paupers and partly built by the sale of a cottage purchased with £40 left by Edward Lombe in 1740.

Mr. Partridge who lived at Eastgate was Governor of the Workhouse.

Names still well known here appear amongst the trades people: Austin (twice), Easton (twice), Dewing (twice) Pye (twice) Watts (twice) Russell and Tudman. Amongst others we find: Zephania Smithson of Sygate
, a hairdresser and John Mathews was a victualler and Ratcatcher.

From the 
Parish Magazine 1989, supplied by Mr Frank Allen. Churchwarden at St. Peter's Church Haveringland for 23 years. Mrs Allen was formerly P.C.C. Secretary.


Snipperts from Cawston’s Past:

1669 - A "Certificate of Removal of Beggars" from Cawston to Lomley, County Durham, was issued.




There are echoes of the old rhyme here:


"Hark, hark the dogs do bark,


The Beggars are coming to town"


The mind boggles at the vision of the Parish Con­stable ushering these unfortunates over the Parish boundary, and their succession of Constables of countless parishes carrying out the same task' until a very remote part of the country was reach­ed, if, in view of the awful state of the roads, and the very slow transport of those days, the "Beggars" ever did arrive back.

From the Parish Magazine February 1995 by Charles Savage Clements.



Charles Savage Clements.

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