Once, for getting around the village or visiting nearby villages, most people simply walked – and people didn’t always live in the village where they worked. Moving goods would often have involved third parties. Old County Directories list the names of “carriers” and provided the days/times when they called in at Wreningham – often en route between Norwich and, say, Forncett. Those details might also have been posted on signboards. R D Day also provided a less formal delivery and collection service – especially if it was part of a work task he was already undertaking. For example, his charge for once fetching an oven from the iron-mongers in Wymondham was one shilling – although he waved the charge because he was already carrying out the rest of the installation!
The B1113 Norwich to New Buckenham road which passes through Wreningham was previously known as The Turnpike. It was so named because it was once planned for it to be operated as a toll road – although we don’t believe a formal toll system was ever introduced. We have found a newspaper report from April 1884, describing how the section of this road through Ashwellthorpe (from the “Wreningham boundary to the Fundenhall boundary”) was now “declared to be a Main Road”. We would presume the section of road running through Wreningham would have received the same designation at about the same time but haven’t yet found it.
After the death of the Rev A W Upcher, in 1896, an auction was held at the rectory to dispose of his property. Items in the auction catalogue included a carriage pulled by a pony; his 7 year-old pony was also for sale. The carriage was a “Brougham” – his Brougham had been constructed by the Norwich firm of Thorn. It would have been a frequent sight in the village. These days, a black Thorn built Brougham is on display with the Norfolk Museum Service in Norwich.
Baroness Berners travelled around the manor in a carriage pulled by a donkey. On the left side of the photograph Lady Berners is being assisted into the carriage by her valet, (it’s a slightly fuzzy image!) wearing a flat cap. His name was Alfred Hierson and he would walk alongside the donkey, leading the way.
This photograph shows Lady Berners outside a property at Folgate just off Ashwellthorpe Road.
A similar car appears in several of the many Wreningham postcards from the early 1900s. Are they all the same car? The photographer probably didn’t own a car so perhaps it belonged to a very proud villager who never wasted a photo-opportunity. Here’s a question for “veteran car” enthusiasts: is it a Model T Ford?
Here is Arthur Lawn from Wymondham Road in his carriage and drawn by one of his three ponies. It is being driven by Canon Fardell’s gardener / verger, James Marsham. The latter lived at Rectory Cottage and the photograph dates from about 1950.
The carriage was normally kept in a barn to the rear of Arthur Lawn’s Wymondham Road property – although the barn no longer exists.
It was common for some of the larger properties to have a “gig house”. This was, essentially, a garage for a “gig” – or cart / carriage!
The old photograph shows a “Spratt” bus parked outside the village school. We have been assured that, back in the 1960s, it once transported The Beatles!