Wells Next the Sea  Norfolk


In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Wells Next the Sea like this:

WELLS, a seaport town and a parish in Walsingham district, Norfolk. The town stands on a creek, at the termini of the Wymondham and Wells and the West Norfolk Junction railways, 5 miles N of Walsingham; was known, at Domesday, as Guella; is now sometimes called Wells-next-the-Sea; is a head port; consists chiefly of two streets, recently much improved; and has a head post-office,‡ designated Wells, Norfolk, a r. ...

station with telegraph, two banking offices, three chief inns, recently-erected assembly-rooms, a custom-house, a coastguard station, a grand early English church, the chancel of which was restored in 1866, four dissenting chapels, an endowed school with £40 a year, a British school, reading rooms, breweries, malt-houses, rope-works, machine-works, corn mills, ship-building yards, and a fair on Shrove-Tuesday. The creek on which it stands has a winding course of about 2 miles, through salt marshes to the sea; the tide rises in the harbour 21 feet; and the quay became greatly dilapidated, and was recently rebuilt. Fishing, with about 20 boats, is carried on; oysters and mussels are largely taken; and a considerable commerce exists in rape-seed, linseed, corn, coals, timber, and salt. The vessels belonging to the port, at the beginning of 1864, were 76 small sailing-vessels of aggregately 1,912 tons; 73 large sailing-vessels, of aggregately 8,927 tons; and 3 small steam-vessels, of aggregately 37 tons. The vessels which entered in 1863 were 31 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 2,162 tons, from foreign countries; 23 foreign sailing-vessels, of aggregately 1,240 tons, from foreign countries; and 493 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 24,718 tons, coastwise. The amount of customs in 1862 was £135. Pop. of the town in 1861, 3,098. Houses, 779. -The parish comprises 2,690 acres of land and 1,820 of water. Real property, £10,974. Pop. in 1851, 3,675; in 1861, 3,462. Houses, 867. The decrease of pop. arose partly from depression of the shipping trade, caused by facilities of railway communication. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Norwich. Value, £1,000. Patron, the Rev. H. E. Downing.

Wells Next the Sea through time

Wells Next the Sea is now part of North Norfolk district. Click here for graphs and data of how North Norfolk has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Wells Next the Sea itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Wells Next the Sea in North Norfolk | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 20th June 2024

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