History

Boughton Fen is located at the eastern end of Oxborough Road (old Fen Road) and covers around 40 acres to the south of the 'T' junction and straddles either side of the road that leads to Eastmoor to the north and Oxborough to the south. These parcels of land were assigned Poors' Lands under the Act of 1801. An extract of which reads:

Poors' Lands, Boughton, Norfolk

Boughton Fen Flooded - Looking towards Oxborough
A flooded Boughton Fen looking towards White Bridge on the Oxborough Road

Three Commissioners were appointed under the Act passed in the year 1801 to enclose the common and waste lands of Boughton, and to divide and allot the same, estimated to be in extent 776 acres, 1 rood, 4 perches. On the 26th August, 1803, the Commissioners finished, and ordered their Deed of Award and plans to be placed for reference in the Chest of the Church of the Parish of Boughton.

"And we, the said Commissioners, do hereby assign , set out, and allot, as by the said Act directed, unto the Lord or Lords of the Manor Boughton, Overhall and Netherhall, for the time being, the Rector, the Churchwardens, and Overseers of the Poor of the said Parish of Boughton for the time being; and to the Proprietors within the aforesaid Parish of estates of the yearly value of 25; and to their respective successors for ever, in trust, as hereinafter mentioned, all that piece or parcel of land, containing by survey, 44 acres, 2 roods, 22 perches, part of the said common." Here the Boundaries are described in the Deed of the Award, and are those of the parcel of land now known as "Boughton Fen." Which said piece or parcel of land is the same piece mentioned and described in the Act, and directed to be allotted by us, in Trust, for the purpose of providing and supplying to the occupiers of each of the Commonable Messuages or Tenements now standing in the said Parish of Boughton, for the time being, and to the occupiers of each of the three following Cottages in Boughton, one belonging to Loom Brook in the occupation of Edward Whittrick and two belonging to , or in the occupation of, George Lewis and William Fincham, a quantity not exceeding nor not less than 4000 turves or flags, of the usual dimensions, for fixing in every year, and for the tenants and occupiers of all the commonable mesuages now standing in the Parish of Boughton, to use and enjoy right of common pasture over the said allotment, with such kind and number of stock as is hereinafter mentioned. For each of the commonable messuages, that is to say, 2 cows or 3 head of young stock under 3 years old, or 1 cow with 2 calves under 1 year old, or 2 geldings or 2 mares, with or without foals not exceeding 8 months old. And we, the said Commissioner, direct that the said allottment may be stocked and fed from 12th May until 11th October in every year and that from 14th February until 12th May in every year, the allotment shall not be stocked or fed with any kind of beasts or cattle whatsover.

"And we, the said Commissioners, certify that the said new fences enclosing the parcel of land in trust, directed by us to be made, with ditches 4feet 6inches wide at the top and of the depth of feet, perpendicular, with a sufficient number of gates, with oak posts and proper gate irons therein, have been made, and that white thorn layers have been set in the banks of the fences, and good thorns or other wood have been set on the summits of such banks. And we, the said Commissioners, have computed the costs and charges under the said act to be 1947 18s. 6d., to be paid by the several persons to whom allotments have been made, save and except the several persons particularly exempted on account of allotments made to them in trust as aforesaid from the payment of any of the said charges of the Act."

The Commissioner allotted to the Executors of John Woodward 23 peices of land. The first piece is thus described in the Award: "That is to say first one piece of land, by measure 13 acres 2 roods, 18 perches" (this piece of land is part of the first field on the road from Boughton to Barton, owned by Oxborough Trustees, and now in the occupation of Mr. R. Harwin), "which piece of land is allotted to the said William Gonge and William Taylor as Trustees of the said John Woodward and as Lords of the Manor of Boughton, Overhall and Netherhall, as and for full compensation and recompense for their right to the soil of the common and waste lands by the said Act directed to be divide and allotted."

Click here to see a copy of the original Award and Map of 1803.

Boughton Fen Chapel
There once stood a chapel on the Fen. About 1907, a Miss E.A.Pratt (housekeeper and niece of Richard Harwin) financed the building of a small chapel for the residents of Boughton Fen. Unfortunately it no longer stands. If anyone has any further information I would be delighted to hear from you.

Boughton Fen Chapel
Boughton Fen Chapel