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.
|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.