sign Hempstead


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Village History
Long Sal
Lose & Nether Halls

Chapel Lane

The road name 'Chapel Lane' is quite new and is the result of the ancient Field Lane being renamed, possibly as late as the 1950s or 1960s. Indeed the O.S. map of 1950 still lists Field Lane.

The 1885 O.S. map shows that there was just a single property with a well on Field Lane at that time.
During 1895-96, a Weslyan Chapel capable of seating 100 persons was built adjacent and just to the east.
Directories list a Weslyan Chapel until 1933, when a Methodist Chapel is listed.
The O.S. maps of 1905 and 1950 both show a Methodist Chapel.
However, another 1905 O.S. map shows the chapel labelled with both denominations.
The Weslyan chapel, built in 1895-6, is of local stone and red brick, and will seat 100 persons.
Kelly's 1929
The Methodist chapel, built in 1895-6, is of local stone and red brick, and will seat 100 persons.
Kelly's 1933
On the O.S. map of 1950, Field Lane is marked showing the buildings on its north side, consisting of three cottages, the chapel and two blocks of council houses. It wasn't until the early 1970s that the main development of new houses took place when five plots of building land were put up for sale.

Chapel Lane leads away from The Street in the heart of the village in a gentle incline to eventually link up with the Holt-to-Baconsthorpe road. Five plots of land fronting Chapel Lane were sold through John Shrive’s Estate Agency in the early 1970’s. The first three plots nearest to the village each had bungalows, a local electrician (Malcolm Power) had the fourth to build a substantial house, and we purchased the last, smallest odd-shaped plot in 1975. The plot cost less than £2000 and we designed, project managed and built our house during the hot summer of 1976. Naming the house ‘Thistledown’ from the original appearance of the totally overgrown site, it was cleared and levelled by Bob Mack who lived on Court Green. Following a great deal of kindness and hands-on carpentry work from Fred Power, a near neighbour living in Chapel Lane, we moved from Holt to ‘Thistledown’ in April 1977. The Post_Office was run by Laura Bacon and closed the following year.
Our two sons were born whilst we lived in Hempstead, and both were baptised in All_Saints_Church. Mrs Claudine Fuller was the church organist.
The birth of our first son (Adrian) was to cause a sensation when Hempstead was totally cut off by the heavy snow in February 1979 which necessitated the road being cleared in order to come to our rescue. The story of our plight featured significantly in the Eastern Daily Press and North Norfolk News.
The Lane was once known as Field Lane, which I think featured on the deeds when we purchased our building plot. The renaming of the Lane must have arisen in connection with the old Wesleyan Chapel which stood in a very isolated position. This has now been converted into a house.
‘Back Lane’ was a footpath leading along a track which joined Chapel Lane with Marlpit Road which enabled a pleasant circular walk.
I can recall archaeological excavations taking place on the meadows behind All_Saints_Church when a spectacular tiled floor was discovered in connection with an old Manor House.
There were two tall radio masts on the main Holt-to-Baconsthorpe road which could be seen looking across the fields from Chapel Lane in the direction of Selbrigg Pond.
There was a very active, close-knit community with Annual Village Fetes. The village sign was unveiled on Court Green to commemorate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. At a later date the sign was painted.
Regular whist drives took place in the Village Hall where the Parish Council would meet.
Henry and Maisie Mack were living at the 19th Century Hall when we lived in Hempstead. Both were immersed into the life and well-being of the village and they were great supporters of All_Saints_Church. ‘Snowy’ Edwards and his wife lived in ‘Wayside’ the house in The Street which was converted from the White_Horse_Inn. The tall white post standing to the front of their property used to be the pub sign. Jack Roy and his wife lived immediately next door in the Old Forge on the corner.
The Old_Reading_Room stood at the entrance to a little play area sandwiched between All_Saints_Church and the Vicarage. Around the time we were building ‘Thistledown’ the Reading_Room was converted into a residence. The barn buildings in connection with Church Farm were also converted into residential.
I believe Joan Watson-Cook was a Norfolk County Councillor who lived on Pond Hills Road. She held Holt Fire Brigade in great affection and always referred to the Holt firemen as “her boys”.

Michael John Hill - 9th May 2020

1976 1976
Plot 5, later to become Thistledown
being cleared by Bob Mack of Court Green - 1976
Thistledown under construction in Plot 5, Chapel Lane - 1976

1982 1982
Chapel Lane blocked by snow - January 1982
Snow clearing in Chapel Lane - January 1982

1982 1982
Chapel Lane looking towards the Baconsthorpe Road - January 1982
Back Lane looking from Chapel Lane towards Marlpit Lane - January 1982

Chapel Chapel
The Chapel - 6th July 2020
The Chapel - 6th July 2020

O. S. Map 1885
O. S. Map 1885
Field Lane is marked showing a single cottage with its own well
Courtesy of NLS map images

O. S. Map 1905
O. S. Map 1905
Field Lane is marked showing a cottage and the chapel
Courtesy of NLS map images

O. S. Map 1905
O. S. Map 1905
Courtesy of NLS map images

O. S. Map 1950
O. S. Map 1950
Field Lane is marked showing three cottages, the chapel and two blocks of council houses
Courtesy of NLS map images

If you have any memories, anecdotes or photos please let us know and we may be able to use them to update the site. Please or telephone 07836 675369

Website copyright © Jonathan Neville 2020
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