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Jim Fisher's Genealogy and Family History Pages

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Genealogy and West Newton, Norfolk, England


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This page is devoted to the village of West Newton, Norfolk, England, and covers the origin of its name, an outline of its history and geography and a list of family history surname interests. In doing this, it is not my intention to duplicate unnecessarily, nor to compete with, any web pages which already do some of those things, but to complement such pages and provide links to them, with appropriate description of what they have to offer.

My interest arises because my maternal grandfather's mother and many of her ancestors were born and spent much of their lives in West Newton.

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Origins of the Name

"Newton" is a very common place name in England, meaning "new farmstead, estate or village". It is derived from the Old English niwe tun. The prefix "West" would normally be used to distinguish it from another nearby village also called "[something] Newton", but I have not managed to identify any such place.

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Location and history

West Newton is a small village in north west Norfolk, about 8 miles north east of Kings Lynn. Its location can be seen on this map of Norfolk (115,595 bytes). It is mentioned in the 1068AD Domesday Book, under the name of Nivetuna. However, it has been inhabited much longer than that. The oldest evidence of human habitation is a Roman villa, the site of which is located about a quarter of a mile from the present church.

Until the middle ages, the low lying land to each side of the river a little downstream was an inlet of the sea, and nearby Castle Rising was a port. Later the area became marshland and now is mainly agricultural and woodland.

Nivetuna was part of the manor of Snettisham, held by Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury, prior to the Norman Conquest of 1066. It was seized by William the Conqueror, who gave it to Odo, Bishop of Bayeux. When he rebelled against William II, it was passed to William de Albini, an ancestor of the Earls of Sussex. Eventually it became a part of the Sandringham estate which was bought by the then Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) in 1862.

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Some buildings in West Newton

The oldest visible part of the church, the tower, dates from the early 1300's, although the four-faced clock was not added to it until 1907. There were considerable additions to the church in the 15th century, including the battlements on the tower, but in the 18th and early 19th centuries it fell into considerable disrepair. Following the purchase by Edward in 1862 the church, like other parts of the village, underwent considerable restoration and new building (such as the pinnacles on each corner of the tower).
West Newton church This photo (16,448 bytes) shows the church as it was in January 1991.


Three more photos from the same date show other typical buildings in the village.
West Newton cottages West Newton cottages West Newton cottages The first (31,586 bytes) photo was taken from outside the church lychgate. The second (61,972 bytes) is right beside a farm within the village, and the third (40,560 bytes) shows another of the village's older buildings.


Located outside the parish boundary in neighbouring Castle Rising was West Newton mill, 2 km south of West Newton village on the River Babingley. You can read about the history of the mill and see photos of it at Jonathan Neville's web site, which also has pages about many other Norfolk mills.

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Surnames in West Newton

Index of surnames



My surname interests in West Newton

The following are the surnames of interest to me in this village:
DYE (follow the link to my DYE page for further information)
EVERITT (Rose/Rosamund married Thomas HEMSON in May 1763 and Nathaniel DYE in May 1764)
FOX (follow the link to my FOX page for further information)
RIPPINGALE (& many variants) (follow the link to my RIPPINGALE page for further information)


Other people researching local or family history in West Newton

I would be happy to include here details of anyone else who may be researching either their family history in, or the local history of, West Newton. This can include web site links, email addresses, possibly lists of surnames of interest in the town, and any resources in which you may be willing to do lookups for others (but no commercial advertising). If you would like a mention, please get in touch.

Marian Thorpe wrote (of herself and her sister Katie):
We are researching West Newton ancestors: names of interest Raven, Grimes, Smith, Dennis, Hopkins, Mallett. Have good information on some descendents of Thomas Grimes and Mary (Raven) Grimes b c 1790's.

Bob Tuxford writes:
Seeking all Tuxfords and connecting families, also any Garthons

John Martin writes:
Researching ancestry in West Newton interested in Mallett, Buttery, Ma(e)lby. Thought to be resident Queen Alexander's Cottages and worked on Sandringham Estate.

Richard Ringer writes:
My Grandfather John Thomas Ringer was born in Victoria Cottages and his father, William was born in Dersingham in 1857. His Mother Rose Mary also came from West Newton. Her maiden name was, I believe, Riches. In addition to John, the family also had Arthur William, Rose Mary, Samuel, Ronald Edward . Samuel died in the year he was born 1890, Arthur was killed in France in 1917 amd Roland died at the Suvla Bay landings. Anyone who has any information on this family can get in touch.

Jan Glasby wrote:

I've just discovered from the 1851 census that Martha RICHES was born about 1801 in West Newton. I've checked the IGI without a result. Does anyone have any RICHES in West Newton?

Heather Gooch writes:

I have researched my family back to Benjamin Petjy (now Petchey) and Mary Fox married at West Newton 20th January 1776, Banns December 1775. I would like to hear from anyone interested in this family or with any information which may help me to trace them back further. They lived at Dersingham and later generations of Petchey lived at Brancaster.

Sharon writes:

My ancestors who were born in West Newton surname APPLEGATE Thomas born abt 1810 married Sussanah CHAPMAN born abt 1809, married 29 May 1926 child Mary born 1826 Mary born 4th Feb 1810, married Robert JOHNSON in 1828 Susan born 26 Dec 1811 married Samuel ROBINSON in 1829 Robert born 11 Oct 1813 died Apr 1814 Ambrose 14 Jul 1818 died 1819 Henry born abt 1815, married Mary NEALE in 1835 Their children Henry Neill 1837 Martha 1840 married Edward BOUGHEN b 1837 m1857 (their children were also born in West Newton Susannah b 1842 married ??RITCHES/RITCHIES Elisabeth b 1845 married John GENT (some of their children were born in West Newton) George b 1847 James Neil b 1850 (my ggrandfather) Charlotte b 1852 d 1853 William Charles Neal b 1856 ancestors born in Dersingham APPLEGATE John b abt 1758 John b 1788 HERRING Alice abt 1758 NEALE Mary abt 1819 ancestors born in Appleton BOYDEN Mary b abt 1777.

Brian Dix writes:

I believe I am descended from Richard Dix, son of Richard and Mary, baptised 1739. I have been unable to trace the marriage of Richard and Mary and would be most grateful if you or any of your correspondents could offer any clues.

Laurance Keith Trundle is interested in the following, all born in West Newton on the dates shown:

Robert Trundle born 1868
Henry Trundle born 1870
Albert Trundle Born 1871
Weldon Trundle Born 1872
Julia Trundle Born 1874
Amelia Trundle Born 1876

Eleanor Wilkinson writes:

My Gggrandmother Ann or Anna SPOONER was born in West Newton in about 1811. Her d.o.b. is calculated from the age (70) recorded on her BMD Death Index record. She married Paul LEGGETT (Leggate, Leget, Legett), a Miller and Baker of Grimstone, in about 1832. Thereafter they lived in Sedgeford.

I have a possible connection to Thomas SPOONER of Sandringham, and need confirmation that he was Anna's father. Thomas's marriage to Elizabeth ALCOCK (Widow) in West Newton on 18 April 1804 is in Phillimore's Norfolk Marriages and Pallot's Marriage Index. If these two people are confirmed as Anna's parents it would provide a strong link in my Tree. Elizabeth ALCOCK was born out of wedlock to Elizabeth BROWN (Browne) in Holme Hale in 1795; her mother married John ALCOCK the following year in Holme Hale. (Phillimore's Norfolk Marriages and Pallot's Marriage Index) John died in May 1799.

I have a Tree on Tribal Pages which is updated approximately every six months.

Sandra Cross writes:

I am looking for information about my ancestor John Cross, who was living in West Newton with his family in 1851. He was a gamekeeper, and seems to have moved between West Newton and Oxborough. Do you know if there was a connection between the estates at the time? There was also a Thomas Cross living in Sandringham at the time who may have been his brother. He was also a gamekeeper and they were both born in Dersingham.

Phil Wells writes:

The Upper Mill must have been the source of employment for many migrants from the area ,it is very likely my ancestors paper making involvement that  brought them to the village. I cannot be certain when they arrived, but probably sometime between 1797 and 1799. I am aware of settlement applications being made circa 1799 for at least two papermakers, one of whom went on to lease the mill, however my ancestor James WELLS doesn't appear on any settlement application found to date . He would have probably migrated from the Lyng area where he had been living for approx 4 to 5 years. He brought this wife Sarah nee MILLER  with children William b 1791, Mary Miller b 1793  and Charlotte b 1797/8. Clearly whilst living locally and most likely in West Newton son Jacob WELLS was born June 17th and baptised 22nd June 1800 . Son Gabriel Miller WELLS was born Jan 16th and baptised 19th June 1803. Gabriel went on to enlist in the 53rd Shropshire Regiment in Streatham London, his birth place was entered on the application as Castle Rysan. He was discharged after serving almost 19 years and died 3 years later in Plymouth leaving 3 daughters with his Irish wife Elizabeth. In the census of 1861 Jacob WELLS ( journeyman papermaker ) also enters his birth place as Castle Rising, Jacob ultimately settled ,married and raised a family of 10 in Isfield Sussex, but he continued to work as a journey papermaker and has been found in Kent in one census living away from home. Jacob and wife Sarah retired and lived in Southwark  London where they died in their 70's within months of each other.

James WELLS and Sarah nee MILLER formerly SEAPEY/SAPY moved back to Lyng, where they died in the space of 2 months in early 1840. Our search for Jacob came to a conclusion in Novemeber 2009  after a 20 year search when he was finally found in the West Newton Parish Record, we were able to visit the church the following day as light faded on a November Friday evening before our journey home to Sussex. We will return to continue the search for records that may tell us more about the family. We believe he has ancestry through 3 generations of WELLS in Lyng.

John Platt writes:

Can anyone give me information on James Cook, who I believe came from West Newton? He was a sugar estates engineer in Demerara c1850-78. For the purposes of historical research, I am trying to discover his parents and siblings; I wish to establish his relationship [if there is one] to Marianne Cook, who was bapt 25 April 1858, child of William & Margaret Cook.

Peter Crisp writes:

Tidying up a few bits for memoirs intended for my grandchildren: My father Harry CRISP (died 2012) spent his first few years with father Mark and mother Evelyn nee SHAND in Keeper's Cottage, West Newton. Mark and sundry siblings, parents etc buried in West Newton churchyard. Any more information welcome.

Dave Hall writes:

I am researching the marriage of Elizabeth Ford and Thomas Hall 4 Jan 1702 in West Newton. Any info on families would be useful.

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Genealogy and Norfolk, England

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