The first family medical doctor confirmed as actually residing in
Mattishall, dates back to about the 1770's - His name was Robert
Thorne, Surgeon - records also show his practice covered not
only Mattishall but many other surrounding villages - Sadly there
is nothing known of who if anyone, covered the position before him.
Robert Thorne was born about 1743 and baptised
on June 2nd 1743 at All Saints Church, Weston Longville Norfolk.
He was the second son of that name to be born to Robert Thorne
(Gent) and his wife Mary, late Kett (the first died as an
infant) – Roberts senior married Mary Kett a Spinster
from Ravingham on March 12th 1736 at St Giles Church, Norwich, he
was at this time a widower - Following Robert, the younger, was
a sister, Mary Thorne (born about 1746). Records also show
an older half-brother Samuel Thorne (born about 1731) born
to his father’s first wife ‘Sarah Unknown’.
Sarah died in 1732 and was buried on November 6th in the Weston
Longville graveyard where the THORNE'S have a family vault - From
all accounts the Thorn/Thorne family were people of some substance
but how they obtained their wealth is still unknown. Dr Robert's
mother appears also to have been connected to another prominent
family, the Kett's from the Wymondham area, although this also is
yet to be proved - As a young boy Robert would have received private
schooling either at home or boarding school before entering the
medical profession, or more likely at this time an apprenticeship,
again sadly no records of this have been found - The next record
of Robert appears on November 8th 1776 (he would have been about
33 years old) in the diaries of Parson James Woodforde (1740-1803)
an English clergyman to Weston Longville, known as the author of
The Diary of a Country Parson – Over the next 27
years Dr Robert Thorne, was not only Woodforde’s medical
advisor but also a friend – There are many entries referring
to Mr & Mrs Dr Thorne and their two daughters, Hannah
Aggs Thorne (baptised Nov 18th 1772) and Mary Anne/Marianne
Thorne (baptised Jul 17th 1779) - both daughters baptisms found
in Non-Conformist records.
Dr Robert Thorne's wife was Hannah Aggs,
(born May 17th 1744 in Mattishall) however, no record has been found.
Hannah was the daughter of John Aggs* (born Dec 20th 1710)
and Sarah Kett (born Jan 23rd 1713) John was a wealthy weaver
and land owner in Mattishall and Norwich - Hannah, had a younger
brother, Thomas Aggs (born Jul 28th 1750 in Mattishall) -
Hannah's family were Quakers although there is no indication Dr
Robert followed this faith, although it has to be said, there just
happened to be a Quaker chapel close to where they set up home in
Welgate, Mattishall, where they lived for many years - Dr Robert
Thorne's family (Thorn/Thorne) had a
burial vault in the Anglican churchyard of All Saints, Weston Longville,
where upon his death in 1820 Dr Robert Thorne was buried.
However, his wife Hannah Thorne, who died in 1825 was buried
in the Friends Burial Ground, now known as Gildencroft historic
Quaker Cemetery in Chatham Street, Norwich, a note on the record
reads "Not a Member." - Thanks to Charles Edward
Gurney Pease for his help with some of the above detail
on the AGGS family.
*The Aggs were a middle class Quaker family of
London and central England. There was a network of mutual obligation
among merchants, bankers, and manufacturers arranging apprenticeships,
investing in each other's ventures, serving as executors for each
other's estates, a network that was cemented by a complex web
of intermarriages. The Hanbury and Aggs families were directly
related by the marriage of Thomas and Anna Christy Hanbury Aggs,
but were further tied by kinship with many of the other important
Quaker families of the day, including Gurney, Barclay, Bell, Pease,
Birbeck, Kett*, etc
Source: - http://www.swarthmore.edu/library/friends/ead/5058haag.xml#series8.
** [Was Robert's mother (Mary Kett) also part of this network??]
Dr Robert Thorne retained his allegiance
to Weston Longville even though living in Mattishall - he became
not only the personal doctor to their clergyman James Woodforde
(1740-1803) but also a very close friend. Dr Robert is mentioned,
favorably, scores of times in Parson James Woodforde's Diaries
The Diary of a Country Parson. - This vivid account of
parish life remained unpublished until the 20th century -
Doctor Robert Thorne's father died at the
early age of about 35 in 1748, he was buried in what Parson Woodforde
described as the' Family Vault' in the churchyard of Weston Longville,
Norfolk - Doctor Robert, in his Will, left a sum of money
toward the upkeep and maintenance of his late father's Tomb (sadly
long lost) - In just under three year later
on the Christmas Eve of 1751, Robert's mother remarried - Mary
Thorne (widow) to George Barton (widower) Farmer of
Attlebridge - no records have been found to confirm if Mary and
George had any children however, in the January of 1778 Mary
died and her body was brought the 20 mile journey from her home
at Little Walsingham to be buried at Weston Longville.
James Woodforde was presented with the living
at Weston Longville in 1774 but he actually moved there in earnest
on May 24th 1776 - The first entry for Dr Robert Thorne was November
3rd 1776 where the doctor vaccinated not only James Woodforde, his
niece (Nancy) and staff but quite a few other locals for Smallpox
which was very active in many communities at that time - For a full
transcript of all entries in Woodforde's diaries referring to Doctor
Thorne click HERE.
Dr Thorne lived in Welgate, now Welgate Road,
it is believed his house is the property now called Lime Tree House
or Farm which is situated on the east side of the road. In Robert’s
day the property consisted of two messuage (a dwelling house with
outbuildings and land assigned to its use) a cottage and 12 acres.
The front of his house enjoyed a wide and open view of common and
pastureland which was then all part of Badley Moor - Robert
Thorne's small farm had once looked out on to a great spread of
moor where the gibbet stood and where the poor cut their wood and
grazed their animals.
In the enclosure act of 1809, Dr Thorne was
allotted a small piece in front of his house between the new road
down Welgate and his front hedge and two pieces totalling 2a 3r
33p on Badley Moor. His share of the final costs came to £4
4s 0d - Robert Thorne claimed 'a right of common of pasture
for all his commonable cattle, levant and couchant thereon, upon
the said commons and waste lands, at all times of the year. Also
other rights and privileges belonging to the premises'. He gained
21 acres of land in return for his loss of common rights at a cost
of £4 4s Od plus his additional costs of his share of the
fencing and ditching of his new allotments. It is difficult to know
whether Robert felt he had lost or gained: his own land increased
by about 20% in area, but it was some way from his farmstead. If
he managed to run a number of stock on Badley Moor before enclosure
he may even have lost on the whole exercise.
On April 19th 1781 an advert was placed in the Norfolk
Chronicle - LOST, supposed to be STOLEN,- from the common and pasture
of Badley Moor, a Brown Hobby, about Thirteen Hands high, Switch
Tail, slender main and white Mark on the off Shoulder, supposed
to be branded and said to go liam in the said shoulder, the property
of Mr Robert Thorne, Surgeon, at Mattishall.
1806: The Poll of Knights for the county of Norfolk,
Mattishall - Robert Thorne, Surgeon.
Dr Robert and Hannah's daughter (Hannah Aggs
Thorne) died in 1802, a single women, age 31 years, she was
buried on October 13th at Weston Longville.
Marianne Thorne married widower John Ebbetts, a farmer,
on February 4th 1807 at Alls Saints Church Mattishall - They had
two sons - Robert Thorne Ebbetts, born about 1808 and Daniel
Ebbetts, born about 1809. John Ebbetts is believed to
have died in 1824 and Marianne in 1837 age 58, she was buried
on November 16th at St Simon and St Jude church, Wensum Street,
Norwich. - There is no further records of Daniel - Robert Thorne
Ebbets died age 62 in 1870 a single-man.
Dr Robert Thorne died in 1820 and was buried
on Janurary 24th at Weston Longville graveyard, age about 77 years.
1825: April 18th - Hannah Thorne, widow
of Robert Thorne, late of Mattishall, Surgeon, age about
81 - Burried on April 15th - Note: Not a member
Burial Place: Friends Burial Ground - Gildencroft Quaker Cemetery
is an historic cemetery in Chatham Street, Norwich.
The sale of Robert Thorne's property: -----
CAPITAL ESTATE AT MATTISHALL, IN NORFOLK.
To be SOLD by AUCTION,
by Mr. J. CULLEY,
On Saturday the 15th day of April, 1826,
At 4 o'clock in the Afternoon,
At the Norfolk Hotel, St. Giles's, Norwich,
Lot 1: - A Modern-built and substantial
MESSAUGE or DWELLING-HOUSE,
suitable for the residence of a genteel family, with a coach-house,
4-stalled stable, granary, and other convenient offices,
lawn, and shrubberies, containing about 2A. formerly the
residence of ROBERT THORNE, Esq. and lately of Mrs.
Brown; also several Inclusures of Land of very excellent
quality, containing about 11A. contiguous to the house,
with a Double Cottage and Barn, now in the occupation of
Mr. Gilding and his under-tenants. Of this lot 2A. and 2R
are copyhold, fine certain, and the residue is freehold.
Land Tax …… £3 0s 0d
Quit Rent ……. 0 0 9d
Possession of the Premises lately in the occupation of Mrs.
Brown may be taken immediately by the purchaser.
Lot 2: - Four Inclosures of very good land
in Mattishall aforesaid, adjoining each other, and containing
together about 18A and 2R. and now in the occupation of
Mr. Gilding. Copyhold—Fine arbitrary.
Land Tax ..... £1 17s 0d
Quit-Rent …. 0 14s 0d
Lot 3: - An Inclosnre of good Land in Mattishall
aforesaid, containing about 2A. also in the occupation of
Mr. Gilding. Of this Lot, 1A. IR 5P. are copyhold—fine
Land-Tax …. 0 4s Od.
Quit-Rent ….. 0 0 6d
The Estate lies next the high road leading
from Mattishall to Dereham, and forms either an advantageous
investment for capital, or a desirable purchase for occupation.
Mattishall is a large and pleasant village, and is situated
about 11 miles from Norwich and 3 miles from the market
town of Dereham.
For further particulars apply to Mr. M. Rackham, solicitor,
Dean's Office, Close, Norwich, or to the Auctioneer.
WILLIAM WRIGHT - William was
recorded as a Surgeon of Downham Market but later living in Mattishall.
William Wright, Surgeon was a neighbour to Robert Thorne, living
just a little further into Welgate at Ivy House Farm - William was
born about 1744 and baptised on October 18th at St Edmund's Church
Downham Market - Nothing is known of his earlier life but on September
2nd 1770 he married Elizabeth Browne at St Mary's Church Bexwell,
Norfolk. Elizabeth gave birth to twin boys William and John Browne,
they were baptised on September 29th 1772 at St Edmund's Church
Downham - Elizabeth must have died (no record found) for on May
2nd 1786, William Wright, Gent, a widower of Downham married by
licence Mary Bodham, a single women of this parish at All Saints
Church, Mattishall - Mary was the sister of Rev Thomas Bodham MA
sometimes vigar of Mattishall, he was married to Ann Donne, first
cousin to William Cowper, the poet - When Mary Wright died in 1793,
Parson Woodforde described her coffin as the largest he had ever
seen - William died on July 21st 1811 age 67 (Gent) and was buried
at All Saints Graveyard - Mary (his wife) had died on April 29th
1793 age 51 - Their memorial is the one which was shaken off the
north wall of the chancel when we had a minor earthquake in recent
Taken from Parson Woodforde's Diary's:-
1784: March 23rd -
1798: April 30th - Thursday - I Breakfasted,
dined and supped and again slept at Mr Bodham's - After Breakfast
Mr Bodham and self took a walk to his brother in-laws Mr Wright
who lately bought and estate that was fornerly Broadbanks, we went
to see the House and Gardens, the latter pritty enough but the House
indifferent very small Rooms etc. Mr Wright does not live in it
at present but talks soon of doing so, he is at present at Downham
- 1790: April 8th, Thursday - We all dined, supped and slept at
Mr Bodhams at Mattishall including Mr Wright late of Downham - 1790:
April 9th, I drove Nancy down in my little cart to Mr Wright's at
Badley Moor and spen half an hour with Mr Wright, Called on our
return to Dr Thorne stayed stay some little time with the Dr and
his wife - 1792: April 12th - Mr Du Quesne took a ride with Mr Priest
to his doctor Mr Wright at Mattishall this morning amd at Mr Thornes
Mr Priest saw Betsy Davy with a young man with her supposed to be
her intended one Samuel Burcham Son of the Brewer Burcham
LIONEL/LAWRENCE PALMER RAINBIRD:
No record has been found of Lionel's birth, his marriage to Eleanor
or even their deaths. There is nothing even to say where they came
from or where they went. What we do know is.....
Early 1800's - living at Mattishall was Lionel
Palmer (alias Rainbird) a Surgeon (also known as Lawrence) and
his wife Eleanor. During their time here they had two children baptised
at Old Moor Chapel, on Bardley Moor, by the Rev Carter an inderpendant
minister. They were Henry Palmer, Dec 3, 1806, Alfred, Nov 18th
Dr Rainbird was also mentioned in Woodforde's dairy's
- "1802: February 26th; Dr Thorne sent his Apprentice to see
Nancy this Morning as he could not come himself as being with a
Women in childbirth - 1802: March 13th; Young Steven Andrews, Servant
Maid (Sarah Spooner) cut her Throat this Morning about 8 o'clock
but is hoped not to dangerous to be incurable. Dr Thorne was sent
for immediatly but could not come being engaged, but sent his Apprentice
- Mr Rainbird.".
HENRY PALMER RAINBIRD (Lionel's son):
Henry (1806) became a surgeon in his own right
and was known as Henry Palmer Rainbird - On October 29th
1828, Henry, a Bacholar of Mattishall married Mary Ann Mann, a Spinster
at St Mary's Church, North Tuddenham, daughter of Edward Man a farmer
and his wife Sarah - on March 3rd 1829 a son Horace was baptised
at All Saints Church, Mattishall - April 11th 1830 another son Alfred
was also baptised at All Saints.
1831: March 14th - At the Court House, Norwich Castle
- Rainbird Henry Palmer, formerly of 43 West Smithfirld, London,
student of St Bartholomew's Hospital and late of Mattishall, Norfolk,
surgeon (sued as Henry Rainbird, otherwise Palmer)
In 1833 Henry ran in money problems and his creditors
sued him, the outcome is unknown. Mary Ann died (date unknown) and
Henry now a widower married Margaret Meachen a spinster and famers
daughter at Yaxham on January 7th 1859. Margaret was the daughter
of Charles Meachen a farmer. In 1861 Henry and Margaret were living
at Spring Lane, Badley, Yaxham, his ocupation was, Pensioner Ej
S. Henry died in 1864 age 58, he was buried on July 21st at St Peter's
churchyard, Yaxham. Margaret died in 1866 and was buried on May
5th with Henry at Yaxham.
1806 & then 1832 where The Medical and Surgical Association
lists John Ballard Pitt Esq as Surgeon of Mattishall Norfolk. We
see later John Pitt's son married Dr George Taylor's daughter.
John Ballard Pitt: 1816 - 1900 - John Pitt
was born in 1816 at Highley Shropshire the son of Richard Pitt a
Gentleman. He married Jane Elizabeth Gandon Warcup at East Dereham
in the Sep quarter of 1847. Jane was the daughter of William Mark
Warcup a Surgeon of East Dereham and his wife Martha Ellis of Norwich.
John and Jane had two children, Richard Warcup Pitt born 1848 and
Caroline Ballard Pitt born 1849 - He studied at the University College,
London, and practised at Norwich, where he was Surgeon to the Henstead
Union Workhouse, and filled other posts including surgeon to Mattishall
before residing in St Stephen's Street Norwich. Among his posts
were: Surgeon to the City Dispensary; Medical Referee to the Norwich
Union Life Assurance Society; Hon Secretary to the Provincial Medical
and Surgical Association, later the British Medical Association;
Member of the Pathological Society of Norwich; Surgeon to the Oddfellows;
Surgeon to the Norwich Union; Member of the Norwich Medico-Chirurgical
Society. This was before 1881 when the family moved to Grove House,
Scarning, East Dereham the family home of the Warcup's (Jane's parents).
John took the position of Medical Officer of Health for the Henstead
Rural District, and Surgeon to the Boys' Home, Norwich. He had retired
for thirteen years before his death at Scarning in 1900 at the age
John's wife's brother, Thomas Chute Ellis Warcup
was a Chaplain & Naval Instructor in the Royal Navy and served
in the Baltic in the 1853-1856 Crimean War. He is mentioned in the
Rev Benjamin Armstrong's Diary's - 1856 January 8th, Called on young
Warcup, the Naval Chaplain recently returned from the Baltic. It
goes on to give brief details of the conflict with the Russians
- 1860: Jun 27 - The Globe, London - At Melbourne Australia, the
death of the Rev Thomas C. E. Warcup, Chaplain of H. M. S. Pelorus.
HMS Pelorus was a 22-gun Pearl-class wooden screw corvette launched
in 1857 and broken up for scrap in 1869. She participated as part
of a squadron after the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Then she was sent
to the China Station during the Second Opium War until May 1859
when she sailed for Australian Station. 1860: April 21st, Gentleman's
Magazine - Clergy deceased - At Melbourne, the Rev Thomas Chute
Ellis Warcup, Chaplain of HMS/ Pelorus/, only son of William Mark
Warcup, MD of Scarning, Norfolk, and grandson of the late William
Warcup, Staff Surgeon in the Island of St Vincent - It does not
give cause of death.
John's daughter Caroline Ballard Pitt married Richard
John Tacon born at Eye Suffolk on May 7th 1878 at Norwich. In 1881
they were living at Rollesby Norfolk with their two daughters. Richard's
occupation was record as the Rector of Rollesby - Richard was born
March 26th 1847 the 3rd son of Charles Tacon, of Mansion House,
Eye and Mary Anne, daughter of Robert Girling. Richard's father
was a solicitor, a member of the family who bought the Eye Brewery
from Richard Cobbold and mayor of Eye for nine successive years
and held many public offices. He was a very wealthy and generous
man who gave money to many deserving causes including a new clock
and bell tower for the Town Hall in 1897. Rev Richard did his M
A at University of Cambridge was J P For County Norfolk and Lord
Of Manor Of Claydon, Suffolk. By 1891 they had seven children. Richard
John Tacon was born in the June quarter of 1845 and was Rector St
George's church Rollesby for nearly sixty years. The gift of £657
a year was in the hands of the Tacon brewing family. In 1872 Richard
was the current owner and presented himself to the living. He transformed
the interior of St George's Church and it is because of Rev Richard
St George Church has a large collection of Victoria glass windows.
Caroline died in 1921 age 71 and Rev Richard died March 11th 1929
John's son Rev Richard Warcup Pitt married Charlotte
Heyhoe Taylor the daughter of our next parish doctor - see below......