Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 41.djvu/122

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after the ancient state and inhabitants of Norfolk, his native county,’ he devoted an immense deal of time, trouble, and money to compiling what is in some respects, the most perfect piece of county history ever compiled.

There is no doubt he intended to write a complete county history of the whole of the eastern part of Norfolk, a part sadly neglected by Blomefield, and succeeded in completing the Hundreds of East and West Flegg, Happing, and Tunstead, but died before he had done more than seven parishes in North Erpingham. What he completed covers 1,615 very close-written folio pages, and is now ready for the press if the public spirit of the county called for it.

Norris worked in the most systematic and laborious way. Being a friend of the Bishop of Norwich, and a man of some position in the county, he was actually allowed to take home the original register books of wills from the Norwich registry, and went through them minutely, taking most copious shorthand notes from them in Dr. Byrom's system, the notes covering 1,753 folio pages, and containing references to certainly not less than sixty thousand surnames. These he indexed up carefully from time to time, and was thus enabled to give details and correct pedigrees in a way no one else could possibly have done. Painfully and dispassionately he demolished, for example, the forged pedigree of Preston of Beeston, and dispelled the myth of a royalist ancestor present on the scaffold with Charles I, by proving step by step their real descent from a puritan.

He also collected in six volumes 2,818 pages of close notes of monuments and arms in Norfolk, containing very many thousand beautiful pen-and-ink sketches of arms and monumental brasses, and five books of extracts from Norfolk deeds, consisting of 472 pages of notes. From these and other sources he compiled two volumes of Norfolk pedigrees (305 in all) most elaborately worked out. He died 14 June 1786, aged 75, ‘his faculties having become exhausted and his mind having ceased to be active’ before his death, as we learn from his monumental inscription in Barton Turf Church; his widow survived him a year only.

The greater part of his collections, which belong to the writer of this notice, are minutely described and calendared in ‘A Catalogue of Fifty of the Norfolk MSS. in the Library of Mr. Walter Rye,’ folio, privately printed in 1889.

[Private information and Norris's manuscripts in the possession of the writer.]

W. R.-e.

NORRIS, CATHERINE MARIA (d. 1767), courtesan. [See Fisher.]

NORRIS, CHARLES (1779–1858), artist, born on 24 Aug. 1779, was a younger son of John Norris of Marylebone, a wealthy London merchant. Having lost both his parents while a child, Norris was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, where he matriculated on 26 Oct. 1797 (Foster, Alumni Oxon.), but did not proceed to a degree. For a short time he held a commission in the king's dragoon guards, but left the service on his marriage in 1800 to Sarah, daughter of John Saunders, a congregational minister at Norwich, and a descendant of Laurence Saunders, martyr (d. 1555). After residing at Milford, Pembrokeshire, for about ten years, he removed in 1810 to Tenby, and died there on 16 Oct. 1858. By his first wife he had four sons and nine daughters, of whom only two survived; and by his second wife (Elizabeth Harries of Pembrokeshire, whom he married on 25 Jan. 1832) he had three children.

In 1810 Norris issued two numbers of a very ambitious work, entitled ‘The Architectural Antiquities of Wales,’ vol. i. Pembrokeshire, London, fol. Its design was that each number should contain six oblong folio plates from Norris's own drawings (with letterpress also by him); but, owing to its great costliness, the work did not proceed beyond the third instalment, which appeared in 1811. At the same date the three numbers were reissued in one volume, under the title of ‘St. David's, in a Series of Engravings illustrating the different Ecclesiastical Edifices of that ancient City,’ London, fol. Five drawings of Pembroke Castle by Norris, engraved by J. Rawle, and originally intended to form a fourth number, were published in 1817. After this failure Norris, for the sake of economy, taught himself the use of the graver, and in 1812 published ‘Etchings of Tenby’ in two synchronous but distinct editions, London, royal 8vo and demy 4to, containing forty engravings both drawn and etched by the artist himself. He also wrote ‘An Historical Account of Tenby and its Vicinity,’ London, 1818; 2nd edit. 1820, containing six plates of local views and a map. In addition to these he left unpublished a large collection of architectural drawings, many of which are still in the possession of his son, Mr. R. Norris, of Rhode Wood House, Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire.

In person Norris was middle-sized and very strong. Walter Savage Landor—the Savages were connected with Norris—in writing from Paris in 1802 to his sister Eliza-