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MARKET TOWNS OF NORFOLK (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)

Cley in 1839

Cley is in Holt hundred, 123 miles from London. It is situated on one side of a small river, and Blakeney on the other ; the mouth of the river forms a harbour, called Cley and Blakeney Harbour. The area of Cley parish is 1,980 acres, with a population in 1831 of 827 ; that of Blakeney 1,630 acres, population 929 : together 3,610 acres ; population 1,756, about one-fourth agricultural. Cley consists chiefly of one street, in the centre of which is the custom-house.

The church is a large and curious edifice, partly of early English architecture. The south aisle is of rich perpendicular architecture, with a fine porch. The battlements and parapets of the church are remarkably rich and fine, and the windows are of good composition. The church of Blakeney, a large old building, has a square embattled tower, and a lofty turret at one angle of the chancel, supposed to have been used as a lighthouse. There are some remains of an ancient Carmelite monastery.

The harbour was much improved about twenty years ago, and the trade with the north of Europe has increased. About fifty vessels, mostly small, belong to the port, some of which are employed in the oyster fishery. There is a considerable importation of corn, coal, timber and deals, hemp, iron, tar, tallow, oil-cake, &c. : the principal article of export is salt, from the salt-works of the neighbourhood. There is a market at Cley on Saturday, and a yearly fair for horses.

The living of Cley is a rectory. of the clear yearly value of £338 ; that of Blakeney is a rectory, united with the adjacent rectory of Cockthorpe, the vicarage of Little Langham, and the perpetual curacy of Glandford, together of the clear yearly value of £506, with a glebe-house. There were in the two parishes, in 1833, two infant-schools, with 40 children ; seven other day-schools, with 179 children ; a day and Sunday national school, with 110 children in the week and 126 on Sundays ; and two Sunday-schools, with 260 children.