Old Census Data

Census data provides the raw data for the state to make future plans resulting from population changes, mobility, growth etc. The UK Government has taken a census of the whole nation at 10 yearly intervals since 1841 – earlier in a few locations.This regular process was interrupted by the Second World War with no census taking place in 1941. However, a special Registration of the population had been made in 1939 with the aim of helping local government to prepare for the expected crisis.

There had been a census in 1931 but all the documentation for England and Wales was lost in a fire during the early 1940s – although not due to enemy action! This makes the England and Wales census taken in 1921 quite special because there was a large gap until the next, in 1951.

The 1939 Registration was under the control of local government, not central government. As it did not have the legal status of a census, it wasn’t “sealed for 100 years”. It is interesting to note that the 1939 data was actively used by local authorities for several years after WW2. They even marked-up the original documents to record when women might have changed from using their maiden names after marrying! The NHS are understood to have used (and updated) the 1939 Registration data until as recently as 1991.

Whilst UK governments regularly publish global analysis and statistics derived from mass census data, individual completed census forms are only made available for publication 101 years later. The 1939 registration, not being a census, was published after only two thirds of that period.

Transcriptions have been made of the original Wreningham census forms from 1841 to 1921 and the 1939 Registration. They are each in separate tables which can be viewed using the links below.

1841 Census for Wreningham – the enumerator was William Ottey Burton

1851 Census for Wreningham – the enumerator was Robert Day. There was also a Church Census taken in 1851. The summary for three(!) Wreningham places of worship can be seen on the Noncomformist page.

1861 Census for Wreningham – the enumerator was Benjamin Barnard

1871 Census for Wreningham – the enumerator was Benjamin Barnard

1881 Census for Wreningham – the enumerator was John Kersey

1891 Census for Wreningham – the enumerator was George Quantrill

1901 Census for Wreningham – the enumerator was George Carpenter Mutimer

1911 Census for Wreningham – the enumerator was Herbert Bothway

We are experimenting with a Parish Record “Look-Up” Service to address simple local queries about family histories etc.  One of our WHG members has volunteered to provide this service.  If you want to pose a question, make it clear what you want to know and type your Look-Up question in message box on the Contacts page. We can’t guarantee we know all the answers!

Road Names

The above referenced census forms do not use a consistent set of Wreningham road names. If fact, some census form pages don’t include road names at all!

Basil Day, in his book – at the top of page 11, provided helpful information about how our road names had evolved. We have used his information as the basis for the following explanation:

The High Common part of Wymondham Road was called “High Common” in 1841 and 1861, but “High Green” in 1851. It’s all Wymondham Road today.

The lane running up to the original rectory was named “Parsonage Lane” in 1841, “Old Rectory Lane” in 1761 and, from 1881, had become (today’s) “Rectory Lane“.

Wymondham Road” gained that name in 1851. In 1841 it had been “Middle Road“. Until 1851, Middle Road had continued (into today’s “Church Road” running) all the way to the Bird in Hand. (Confusingly, for today’s visitors, there are “Wymondham Road”s all over the local area!)

Penny’s Green” gained that name in 1881. In 1851 it had been “Pennice Green” and in 1841 was “Penny Green“. (There is a suspicion the “Penny” part of the name had originally morphed from something else – and the original “Green” was only a couple of very small fields. See the map on the Old Commons page.)

Top Row“: or is it Toprow? – as it’s spelt on all maps, and where “Toprow“refers to the whole area centred around the crossroads. In this website, we have used the “map” version of the name. NB The correct present name for the Toprow road to the east of The Turnpike/B1113 is “High Road“.

The Marsh” in 1841 had become “Mill Road” in 1891 (and is “Mill Lane” today.)

The Turnpike” in 1841 was “Norwich Road” in 1861.

Ashwellthorpe Road” in 1841, 1861, 1881 (- and also today) was “Burton Road” in 1851 and 1871. The part of “Ashwellthorpe Road” outside the farmhouse was “Burton Square” in 1851 and 1861.

Church Road” was so named in 1851, 1861, 1881 – and also today.

Blacksmith Road” (1851) was “Hethel Road” in 1881 – and also today.

It appears “old habits” had caused confusion! As recently as June 1999, South Norfolk District Council insisted on a final and definitive set of names for Wreningham’s roads.

For anyone from further afield and unfamiliar with Wreningham’s road names, today’s correct ones can be found here.

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