Source Information

Ancestry.com. Topographical History of Norfolk, 1739 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: Francis Blomefield. Topographical History of Norfolk, 1739. Vol. 1–11. London, England: William Miller, 1805.

About Topographical History of Norfolk, 1739

The Topographical History of Norfolk, contained in this database, was originally written and compiled by Francis Blomefield. After his death in 1752 it was completed by Charles Parkin. The history contains descriptions of the towns, villages, and hamlets of Norfolk, England and, the authors assure us, of, “The Ancient and Present state of all Rectories, Vicarages, Donatives…Castles, Seats, Manors,” etc. including who inhabited them, what the monarchy valued them at, epitaphs and inscriptions in the churches, etc., and all in 11 volumes.

If your ancestor called Norfolk home at one time they would have lived in a low-lying county (meaning at ground level or sea level) bordering the North Sea. Since the county is situated on the east coast of England, it was vulnerable to invasion from Scandinavia and northern Europe. The Angles, a Germanic-speaking people after whom England is named, established control of the region before the 10th century and later became the “north folk” and the “south folk”, hence the regional names “Norfolk” and Suffolk”.

Although Norfolk developed a good agricultural and woolen industry in the 1500s it declined with the English Civil War (during the mid-1600s) and the Industrial Revolution (late 1700s throughout the 1800s). The city Norwich is the county seat and today the population is mainly concentrated in Norwich, Great Yarmouth, and King’s Lynn.

The great worth of this history lies in the genealogical records and “pedigrees” which are contained inside of the major families in the area. For example, the manse of Thelton, which is owned by Thomas Havers Esq. in 1736, was originally purchased by his great grandfather 4 generations back in 1592 (Vol . 1, 148–151). The authors include a carefully drawn pedigree of the family as well as a sketch of their shield. They also record every previous owner of the manse since it was built, and its location in the town of Thevelton to the east of Diss (visible on a current map of Norfolk county).

Information in this index:

  • Surnames
  • Bloodlines of notable families
  • Cities, towns, villages, and regions in Norfolk
  • Parishes, churches, and other land holdings
  • Heraldic seals and Coats of arms for various families

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