Cantley, Norfolk Genealogy

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Parish History

Cantley St Margaret is an Ancient Parish in the Blofield deaneryof the Diocese of Norwich.

     The church of St. Margaret is set at the northern side of the village. The first church to be built where St Margaret's now stands was constructed of wood in Saxon times. The Normans rebuilt it in stone, and traces of their work can be seen in the present building. The majority of the church that survives to this day was built in the perpendicular period between 1066 and 1539.

     After losing many of its treasures and falling into disrepair in the late 18th century, the church was saved by the Gilbert family who had taken up the lordship of the manor.

     In 1854 St Margarets was restored, the old pews replaced, a new pulpit and reading desk were installed, the nave reroofed in 1876 and the chancel rebuilt four years later.

     The bronze bell that hangs in the western tower inscribed J.B. 1639 remained unused for centuries until the housing was recently refurbished. Margart Mitchell has provided a picture ofSt. Margaret Church.

      Legend has it that a headless horseman rides through Cantley at midnight. and a pot of gold lying at the bottom of a dark pool guarded by an evil presence.
      Additional information can be found at


Civil Registration

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

  • Blofield 1837-1938
  • Norwich Outer 1939-1974
  • Norwich

Church records

Contributor: Include here information for parish registers, Bishop’s Transcripts, non conformist and other types of church records, such as parish chest records. Add the contact information for the office holding the original records. Add links to the Family History Library Catalog showing the film numbers in their collection

Images of the parish registers may be viewed online in Historic Records (formerly Record Search) Norfolk Record Office reference PD 291

Census records

Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census Records and Indexes Online. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library.


Land Records

1597 Subsidy Taxes

Poor Law Unions

For more information on the history of the workhouse, see Peter Higginbotham's web site: and

The union consisted of the following parishes: Acle, Beighton, Blofield, Bradestone, Brundall, Buckenham Ferry, Burlingham St Andrew, Burlingham St Edmund, Burlingham St Peter, Cantley, Freethorpe, Halvergate, Hassingham, Hemblington, Limpenhoe, Lingwood, Moulton, Great Plumstead, Little Plumstead, Postwick, Ranworth with Panxworth, Reedham, Southwood, Strumpshaw, Thorpe St Andrew, Tunstall, Upton with Fishley, Walsham St Lawrence, Walsham St Mary, Wickhampton, Witton, Woodbastwick.
Blofield Union was incorporated under the 1834 Act. The Union Workhouse was opened in 1836 at Lingwood. Blofield Union Board of Guardians was replaced by Guardians Committee No. 3 in 1930.
Received by the Norfolk Record Office on 6 May 1971 (C/GP2/29) and on unknown dates

Norfolk Poor Law Unions

Probate records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Norfolk Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.

Web sites for details of the parish. British Listed buildings Norfolk Churches website