Welcome to Brisley, a Village in Norfolk,England. Come to Brisley,visit St Bartholomew's Church, watch Cricket on Brisley Green, enjoy our new village amenity and in early 2017 relax awhile at the fully refurbished Brisley Bell.
Brisley : A short History.
Brisley is a small parish situated in the North West of the County of Norfolk,England. The village is equidistant between the towns of Fakenham to the north and Dereham to the south. The census of 2011 states that the population at that time was 286.
The medieval church of St Bartholmew sits firmly in the centre of the village now, as it has done so since the Middle Ages. The village is flanked by 2 Greens, one to the north and the other to the south, combined these Greens make up one of the largest surviving grazing commons in Norfolk. During World War 2 the Green was ploughed up to provide food for the war effort and to prevent any ‘planes from landing there. A pillbox remains in situ on the North side.
There is a little evidence of prehistoric occupation in the parish with some artefacts having been found.
The Roman road which runs from Wayford Bridge in North East Norfolk to Upton North of Durobrivae near Peterborough passes through Brisley Green to the north of the present road and there is some evidence of a possible Roman settlement alongside Harpers Green Lane.
Saxon remains have been found in Brisley and it appears that the Saxon settlement would have been focused around the Church and the Old Hall.
The splendid Grade 1 listed medieval church is an indicator that wealth came to the Village at this time and a settlement grew up around the Green
Brisley was not mentioned in the Doomsday Survey, it was most probably part of Elmham. The first known reference to Brisley though is seen in the early 12th Century, when it was known as BRISELEA, translated from old English means “clearing infested by gadflies. A Gadfly is a cattle biting fly.
During the 18th and 19th Centuries the crypt of the Church was used as a cell for prisoners being taken to Norwich Assizes. They would have walked from Kings Lynn and were incarcerated overnight in the Church. The crypt can be visited today.
It is said that the warders stayed in cottage known as “The Clink” which is still lived in on School Road. Also during this time both Rose Cottage and Weaver Cottage were built along School Road.
There was once a windmill on the west side of Brisley Green which can be seen on Bryants Map of Norfolk 1826. The mill was used as a post mill from 1836 to 1878.
Brisley can boast a couple of famous inhabitants, Richard Taverner was born here, reputedly on the site of the Bell public House, in around 1505. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London by Henry VIII for his religious writings which include one of the earliest translations of the Bible into English. He was eventually released and enjoyed favour under Henry VIII and Elizabeth until he died in 1575.
Arguably one of the greatest 19th Century cricketers Fuller Pilch was born in neighbouring Horningtoft in 1803 but grew up in Brisley. Described as "the greatest batsman ever known until the appearance of W. G. Grace", the right-hand batting Pilch played 229 first class cricket matches between 1820 and 1854 for an assortment of counties, including Kent, Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex, as well as Norfolk and Cambridge Town. An early pioneer of batting, Pilch's advert of the "Pilch poke", or art of playing the ball forward, was an early manifestation of modern batting practices.
In June 1942 a Bristol Blenheim crashed by Patch Corner. As part of a Millenium project funds were raised to erect a memorial to the 3 young aircrew who lost their lives.
In 1993 the Green was gifted to the Parish Council for the benefit of the Villagers of Brisley by the Lord of the Manor and has been registered in the name of the Parish. Certain grazing rights exist on the Green as they have done so for centuries.
The Brisley Bell re-opened on February 11th after a major refurbishment.Click here for more up to date news.