‘Tyme out of minde’
The following is taken from research by Mrs Elizabeth Purdy after she moved to Spratt’s Green House in 1957.
Spratt’s Green is an overgrown former pit hole, but before myxomatosis it was a grassy sandpit rabbit warren. It occupies about 0.5 hectare on the south side of Burgh Road halfway between Aylsham and Burgh.
In 1624, according to the Aylsham Rental, it was known as Easton Green, which “the Tennantes neere inhabitynge have common of pasture in them . . . and as they pretende as belonginge to their severall Tennementes tyme out of minde”. *
It appears as Spratt’s Green on an 1817 map, where it forms an elongated rough rectangle along the line of the road, with tracks leading off in the directions of today’s Stapleton’s Farm and Spratt’s Green Farm.
The 1867 Aylsham Tithe Apportionment gives its extent as two acres, 14 perches. Some of this land was then sold to the East Norfolk Railway Company in 1879 for the route of the line from Aylsham to Buxton.
What remains of Spratt’s Green today is still common land.
The name seems to have been changed sometime between 1791 and 1817. Despite enquiries, Mrs Purdy was unable to establish who “Spratt” had been, although the Aylsham church records contain a reference to a Richard Pratt who married there in 1800.
* ‘Tyme out of minde’ (Time out of mind) or ‘from time immemorial’ are versions of ‘beyond legal memory’, which refers to the year 1189, fixed by statute in 1275 as being the oldest date that English law can take account of.