This research has been carried out by our local historian - references where available are quoted within the text.
Runham, historically, had two smithies:
The Street Smithy
a) O.S. 1/10, 560, surveyed 1884.
b) O.S. 1/2,500, surveyed 1905. Smithy named.
c) O.S. 1/10,560, surveyed 1926.
d) O.S. 1/2,500, surveyed 1926.
Details of The Street Smithy
The Low Road Smithy
e) O.S. 1/10,560, surveyed 1884.
f) O.S. 1/10,560, surveyed 1904 (and published 1906). Smithy named (as Smy.), although it had shortly beforehand ceased to operate as such.
g) O.S. 1/2,500, surveyed 1904.
See details on the Low Road Smithy
THE SMITHY IN THE STREET
At the baptism of his youngest child in 1815, William Thompson of Runham was described as a blacksmith. William was certainly living in Runham when he married in 1807, and may well have operated as a blacksmith from this time, perhaps even earlier. Given his age at burial, he was born about 1777; however, he was not baptized at Runham. The overall evidence gathered during the course of this report indicates that William, then, successively, two of his sons, operated the smithy in The Street.
William Thompson married Elizabeth Bayes at Runham on 17th February 1807, both single of the parish; witnesses Thomas Dibal and Judith London, the latter marking X. William and Elizabeth had the following children here:
William Bayes: born 26th March and baptized 3rd April 1808. of whom more in due course.
Eliza Bayes: born 29th December 1810 and baptized 6th January 1811.
John Bayes: born 28th October and baptized 8th November 1812. Of whom more in due course.
Henry Bayes: baptized 23rd April 1815.
Elizabeth Thompson, mother of the above children, was buried at Runham on 18th March 1827, aged 40; consequently, she had been born about 1787, but I did not find her baptism at Runham.
William Thompson, father of the above children, was buried at Runham on 8th January 1832, aged 55.
Upon the death of William Thompson, his eldest son William Bayes Thompson took over the smithy in The Street. The latter had married Martha London at Runham on 17th May 1831, both single of the parish, and with the bride marking X; witnesses John Thompson - presumably John Bayes Thompson, the groom's brother - and a Caroline whose surname was written illegibly in the register. This couple had but one child, their son William Bayes who was baptized at Runham on 29th June 1834 and buried here on the following 1st August, aged 5 weeks. For at least the period 1836 to 1839, William Bayes Thompson kept the Horse Shoes P.H., as well as running the nearby smithy. According to the Tithe Apportionment Schedules of 1839, Thompson actually occupied one part of the part while the other part was occupied by the owner of the entire property, Mary London - one whom I suspect may have been his mother-in-law. In 1839, Mary London was also owner of the row of three cottages by the Low Road, at which site Runham's other smithy was to become operational from 1846. In 1839, the smithy worked by William Bayes Thompson was held with a pightle of 31 perches, and owned by Richard Fabb, then owner-occupier of Manor House Farm.
About 1840, it would appear that William Bayes Thompson relinquished the smithy by The Street in favour of his next younger brother, John Bayes Thompson. The latter had first married a Marianne, but where, when and her maiden name have not been established. This couple had the following children:
John Henry: baptized at Great Ormesby, 21st February 1836, his father then a blacksmith of this parish.
Richard: born at Runham about 1839, and baptized here 17th November 1840.
William: born at Runham about 1840, and baptized here with his brother Richard.
Marianne Thompson, mother of the above children, was buried at Runham on 13th December 1840, aged 26. As a consequence of her death, perhaps, John Bayes Thompson moved away from Runham for a time; at least he was not here when the Census of 6th June 1841 was taken. He next married a Martha, but when, where and her maiden name were not established - Census evidence, however, is that she was born at nearby Caister about 1825/6. This couple had the following children, all details derived from the Runham parish registers:
Charles George: baptized 31st August 1845.
Mary Ann(e): baptized 23rd April 1848.
Eliza: baptized 14th September 1851.
Phoebe: born 26th August and baptized 29th October 1854.
Frederic Jacob: born 4th and baptized 23rd September 1857.
Martha: born 20th March and baptized 8th September 1861. On 8th November 1881, she married Ephraim Knights, a labourer aged 24 and son of Edward Knights, farmer, the bride and groom both single of the parish; witnesses Edward Knights - presumably the groom's father - and John William Palmer, apparently the son of Clement Palmer of the Low Road smithy.
Sarah Elizabeth: born 15th September and baptized 11th October 1863.
I found John Bayes Thompson's household at The Street - although the actual house cannot be precisely identified - given in Censuses from 1851 to 1881 as follows - saving I have corrected minor discrepancies other than slight errors in ages:
30th March 1851:
John Bayes Thompson: head, married, 38, blacksmith, [born] Runham. Martha Thompson: wife, married, 25, Caister.
John Henry Thompson: son, 15, Great Ormesby.
Richard Thompson: son, 11, Runham.
William Thompson: son, 10, scholar, Runham. Charles George Thompson: son, 5, Runham. Mary Ann Thompson: daughter, 3, Runham.
7th April 1861:
John Bayes Thompson: head, married, 48, blacksmith,
Martha Thompson: wife, married, 35, Caister.
Charles George Thompson: son, 14, Runham.
Mary Ann Thompson: daughter, 13, Runham.
Eliza Thompson: daughter", 9, Runham .
Phoebe Thompson: daughter, 6, Runham.
Frederick Jacob Thompson: son, 3, Runham.
Martha Thompson: daughter, 1 month, Runham.
2nd April 1871:
John Bayes Thompson: head, married, 58, blacksmith, Runham. Martha Thompson: wife, married, 46, Caister.
Frederic Jacob Thompson: son, 13, scholar, Runham.
Martha Thompson: daughter, 10, scholar, Runham.
Sarah Elizabeth Thompson: daughter, 7, scholar, Runham.
3rd April 1881:
John Bayes Thompson: head, married, 68, blacksmith, Runham. Martha Thompson: wife, married, 56, Caister.
Frederic Jacob Thompson: son, unmarried, 23, Runham.
Sarah Elizabeth Thompson: daughter, unmarried, 16, Runham. Mary Brooks: lodger, widow, 86, Winterton.
Caroline Barber: [status in household not given] married, 19, Runham.
Not having had access to the Runham burial register for the relevant period, I did not ascertain when John Bayes Thompson and his wife died. I suspect that the former had died, or at least given up his smithy, by 1883, for he did not appear in directories of that year. The smithy concerned was in the hands of Alfred Hall in 1900, one who also ran the village Post Office; he may have operated the smithy a little earlier, although he was not here in 1896 (directory evidence).
From 1904 until 1938, the smithy in The Street was operated by blacksmiths who actually lived at Stokesby. The first of these was Benjamin Frosdick, one who held it until his death in 1921- he was buried at Stokesby on 6th April then, aged 66. According to the Duties on Land Values Schedules of 1910, Benjamin who was the owner-occupier of a house with smithy in Stokesby - leased the Runham premises from C.W. Waters of Herringby Hall.
Benjamin Frosdick had been baptized at Stokesby on 22nd September 1854, the son of Richard - also a blacksmith - and Mary Frosdick. On 27th May 1877 at Stokesby, Benjamin Frosdick married Elizabeth English, daughter of George English, labourer, the bride and groom both single of the parish; witnesses James Frosdick and Elizabeth Frosdick.
Upon his father's death, Thomas Frosdick, also of Stokesby, took over the running of the smithy in The Street, Runham. Thomas had been born at Stokesby on 21th September 1880 and baptized here on the following 24th October. He ran the smithy until his own death; the Stokesby parish register records that this took place at The Lodge, Bowthorpe Road, Norwich, on 14th February 1927, and that he was buried three days later, aged 46.
Register of electors and directory evidence taken together allow me to state that after Thomas Frosdick's death, his smithy at Runham was operated by John Earl, also a resident of Stokesby, until 1938. I found no evidence as to its having been in use after that year.
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THE LOW ROAD SMITHY
According to the Tithe Apportionment Schedules of 1839, Mary London owned the row of three cottages by the Low Road, Runham, at which site a smithy was to become operational from 1846. In 1839, these cottages were tenanted by Tubby, Reynolds and Harvey - the Christian names and occupations of these heads of household not having been given. According to the Census of 6th June 1841, the Tubby household was headed by Harriet, perhaps a widow, aged 45 and born in Norfolk; the former Reynolds household by Samuel Knights, a married man, aged 20 and an agricul tural labourer; buI!T'1 ir!T,Nor-f.olki;r,and:the1'R~]G!s household by Ben,iamin, a married man, aged 45 and an agricultural labourer, born in Norfolk.
The smithy at this site was apparently opened by William Bultitude, one who operated it until 1852. Census evidence is that he was born at Runham about 1822, but I did not find his baptism in the parish register. William had first married a Mary Ann, but where, when and her maiden name I did not establish. The Runham parish register records the baptism of their son, William, on 30th July 1848, but Census evidence is that he was aged about 5 by this time; moreover, the parish register further reveals that William (the father) was by then married to his second wife, Isabella. Again, 1 did not establish when and where she married William, or her maiden name; Census evidence is that she was born in Runham, but I found no Isabella baptized here about the time she was born. Be that as it may, William and Isabella had the following children, according to the parish registers:
Harriet: baptized 30th July 1848 (with her half-brother, above).
George Palmer: baptized 12th March 1850 and buried 21st May 1852, aged 2.
Isabella: born 3rd November 1851 and baptized 11th July 1852.
William Bultitude's household was given as follows in the Census of 30th March 1851:
William Bultitude: head, married, 29, blacksmith, Isabella Bultitude: wife, married, 25, Runham. William Bultitude: son, 8, scholar, Runham. Harriet Bultitude: daughter, 2, Runham.
George Palmer Bultitude: son, 1, Runham.
Clement Palmer succeeded William Bultitude at the Low Road smithy, he was recorded here from 1853 until 1896. Clement was baptized at Great Yarmouth on 30th January 1816, the son of Edmund Palmer, a miller, and his wife Elizabeth. I would suspect that the Palmer and Bultitude families were related, given George Palmer Bultitude, above. Clement Palmer married Maria, illegitimate daughter of Benjamin Asterton, weaver, and Susanna Digby, spinster. Maria was baptized at Hevingham on 10th December 1820, but I did not discover when and where she married Clement. This couple had the following children, in respect of the baptisms of whom Clement was also described as a blacksmith:
George: baptized at Martham, 26th November 1843. He married Mary Anne Betts; and, while I did not discover when and where they married, they had these children at Runham: George Benjamin, born 5th and baptized 19th September 1866; and Alice Eliza, born 16th May and baptized 14th June 1868.
Anifer Abigail: baptized at Burgh St Margaret, 5th December 1847.
The following children's details all re Runham, to save repetition:
Walter: born 28th June and baptized 8th July 1855, and buried 20th May 1860.
John William: born 6th and baptized 27th July 1856. He was described as a husbandman when, on 16th october 1883, he married Elvina Knights, aged 22 and daughter of Edward Knights, husbandman, the bride and groom both single of the parish; witnesses Edward Knights - probably the bride's father - and Elizabeth Fabb.
William: born 20th May and baptized 11th July 1858.
I found Clement Palmer's household in Censuses from 1861 to 1891 as follows, saving I have cGrrected minor discrepencies other than slight errors in ages:
7th April 1861:
Clement Palmer: head, married, 45, blacksmith, Great Yarmouth. Maria Palmer: wife, married, 41, Hevingham.
George Palmer: son, unmarried, 17, sawyer, Martham.
Anifer Abigail Palmer: daughter, 13, scholar, Fleggburgh.
John William Palmer: son, 4, scholar, Runham.
William Palmer: son, 2, Runham.
2nd April 1871:
Clement Palmer: head, married, 55, blacksmith, Great Maria Palmer: wife, married, 50, Hevingham.
John William Palmer: son, 14, labourer, Runham. William Palmer: son, 12, Runham.
3rd April 1881:
Clement Palmer: head, wife, 65, blacksmith, Great Yarmouth.
Maria Palmer: wife, married, 60, Hevingham.
John William Palmer: son, unmarried, 24, agricultural labourer, Runham. William Palmer: son, unmarried, 22, agricultural labourer, Runham.
Alice Eliza Palmer: granddaughter, 13, Runham.
5th April 1891:
Clement Palmer: head, married, 75, blacksmith (employer), Great Yarmouth.
Maria Palmer: wife, married, 71, Hevingham.
George Benjamin Palmer: grandson, unmarried, 24, blacksmith (employed), Runham.
The Runham burial register was not available for the period concerned for me to discover when Clement Palmer and his wife died. Clement was last noted as a blacksmith at the site concerned in 1896, while his grandson George Benjamin Palmer was given in his place in 1900 (directory evidence). The Low Road smithy had apparently ceased to operate by 1904 (directory evidence).