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This web page is dedicated to genealogy research of families from the area of Docking, England. Please email the webmaster to add photos, links, or information on Docking genealogy. Sign the Docking Guestbook at the bottom of the page if you would like to connect with other Docking researchers.

Docking village sign, erected in 1937


Docking, Norfolk is a beautiful village on the highest point in Smithdon Hundred (and possibly all of Norfolk). It was known as "Dry Docking" as far back as the time of James I, due to the lack of drinking water there. Its largest manors were Southmere and Docking.

The Church of St. Mary the Virgin
Docking church is the centerpiece of the village. The chancel was built shortly before the Black Death of 1349, and the 80 foot tower in about 1415. The oldest of its five bells dates to 1622, made by John Draper. The clock was added in 1902 for the coronation of Edward VII.

On the north aisle buttresses are three shields, representing the Uphall and Haydon families. Rev. Heydon was Rector of Southmere in the 16th century.

The most famous member of the Church was Henry Walpole, baptised in the ancient font at Docking Church in 1558. He witnessed the execution of the Jesuit priest Edmund Campion in 1581 and went into exile in France, becoming a Jesuit himself. He returned to England and was captured, and tortured in the Tower of London for 16 years before being hung, drawn, and quartered in 1595. He was canonized in 1970.

The following description of Docking is from the book, "The King's England - Norfolk" by Arthur Mee, 1940.


"Docking. It holds its head high, this quiet upland town in the middle of a star of five roads; as soon as we enter it we touch the highest part of Norfolk, a distinction which in days gone by was not without some inconvenience. Because of this altitude, Docking water was so scarce that it had to be brought in by pailfuls, and the place was known round about as Dry Docking. Now it advertises the changed order of things by a concrete water tower with buzzing engines, rising by a pond near the old church and hall among the trees. Near the church the wooden stocks stand under the shelter built to keep this relic of Merrie England from decay. The hall, which John Hare built in 1612, was enlarged last century.

The church is chiefly 15th century, but most of the chancel, with its fine windows, is nearly twice as old as the hall. Older still is part of a Norman pillar in a niche in the nave. The treasure of this big barn-like church is the richly carved but battered 15th-century font, with seated figures of the Apostles, and standing figures with symbols or with babies.

Among many memorials to the Hares is the oak eagle lectern, with Evangelistic symbols at the foot, to Hannah Hare of 1882, and a brass to Hugh James Hare, rector for 55 years."

The Docking Church font. The heads of the carved saints were decapitated during the Reformation.


Left: Stained Glass window in Docking Church, showing St. Gregory and St. Cecilia.

Right: The Hare family coat of arms in stained glass in the west side entrance of Docking Hall, with the Hare motto "Noll Altum Sapere Sed Time"... "Do Not Be Proud But Fear".


Docking and Norfolk Resources

Join the Docking, England Genealogy email-list

Docking Researchers List

Backward Glances - Docking and West Norfolk Genealogy Research

Drurys of Docking

Docking Union Workhouse Page

Dry Docking Farm, St. Mary's County, Maryland

Medieval English Towns Online

Rootsweb Norfolk Surnames List

Norfolk, England Genforum Bulletin Board

Norfolk Records Office, Norwich, England

Norfolk Cottage Guide

Old Maps of England Online

Books - Great Britain

The following books on Docking, England are currently available. They can be obtained for a nominal fee by contacting "Backward Glances", a Norfolk genealogy research firm that will purchase the books and mail them to you: "Dry Docking" by Gerald Hagan (including Hare, Henley, Walpole, and Drury pedigree charts); "Docking, a Walk in Time", by Hermeina Elms and Eileen Wells; and "Docking, a Village in Norfolk", by Tony Arter. All three are full of photographs and history of the area and its families. "Backward Glances" also provides assistance with Docking genealogy research.


Left: Docking pubs serve up excellent food, drinks, and good cheer

Right: Docking Church Clock Tower at night



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