Tittleshall Village Heritage
The Church, dedicated to St. Mary, has a splendid marble monument to Sir Edward Coke, with his effigy, erected at a cost of £400. Here are also several other monuments to the Coke family ; one of which has the effigies of Sir Edward's wife and eight children. The late Earl of Leicester was interred here in 1842, and here is a magnificent monument in memory of his first wife, which cost 3,000 guineas, and was executed by Nollekins.
The Rectory, valued in the King's book at £9 12s. 8d., was consolidated with those of Godwick and Wellingham, in 1630. In 1831 the joint benefices were valued at £871 per annum. The Earl of Leicester is patron, and the Rev. K. H. Digby, incumbent. The tithes of this parish are commuted for £681, and there are 58a. 3r. 8p. of glebe. The Baptists, Independents, and Methodists, have each a chapel here.
The Village Hall, situated in the High Street it takes only a little imagination to visualise the Village Hall as it was when it was the Village School. Built in the 19th century and accommodating up to 100 pupils in its two rooms it was the centre of this rural community. The exterior of the building has changed very little and inside you can easily imagine rows of children huddled over their desks whilst the head teacher sat by the school's only luxury - an open fire.The school was closed but in 1973 the property was conveyed to a group of trustees for the not inconsiderable sum of £1,500. The task facing this band of villagers was the the renovation of an old and dilapidated building which in typical Tittleshall style they achieved. They set the standards to which the current trustees strive in their efforts to sympathetically update and improve the property.
A daring and cold-blooded murder was committed, in the middle of the day, on Friday, November 25th , 1853. The unfortunate victim was Lorenz Beha, a watch-maker, and dealer in jewellery, who resided in St. Stephen's Plain, Norwich, and who occasionally travelled in the country to dispose of his goods. About midway between Tittleshall and Wellingham, a person, travelling on the road, discovered a quantity of blood, and observing a trail that led to the ditch on Tittleshall Common, there found the body of the murdered man. The head of the deceased had almost been severed from the body, by a blow at the back of the head, and his face was dreadfully cut and mangled. A hatchet, such as is used for felling timber, found near the place, covered with blood, was no doubt the implement by which the brutal murder had been committed. Several watches and some money is supposed to have been taken out of the pockets of the person murdered ; but his box of valuable jewellery was left untouched. A young man named Wm. Thompson, was shortly after arrested, and now stands committed to take his trial for wilful [sic] murder.
Godwick, (pronounced God'ick) now consists of only two farms, 1 mile N. of Tittleshall, was formerly a separate parish, but its Church was dilapidated two centuries ago. The Hall, now a farm house, was built by Sir Edward. Coke. ( NB. Recent information suggests that the Hall was in fact built by John Drury between 1576 and 1586 ). A National school was built some years ago by the rector. The Fuel allotment, 4a., was awarded more than 100 years ago. All residents, except farmers, are allowed to graze their cattle on it, for the yearly payment of 21s. per head. The amount thus received is expended in coals for the poor, who have also £2 2s. as the rent of the Poor's Wood, and the interest of £10, left by Wm. Haylett.