Aylsham in 1821 - A Notebook of the Official Census Returns for Aylsham compiled by William Morris (Assistant Overseer) in 1821, edited by Tom Mollard
Published by the Aylsham Local History Society in 1997, 40 pages. A5 size booklet (N6304X1)
Aylsham is a small market town situated on the banks of the River Bure in north Norfolk, and this booklet provides a fascinating record of the parish's population at the time of the 1821 census.
From the first page: Amongst the items in the Aylsham Parish Archives is a rough notebook, approximately A4 in size. On the first page is inscribed 'Population of the Parish of Aylsham, taken the 28th, 29th, 30th, and 31st May 1821 by Wm. Morris. Assistant Overseer. This is followed by seventeen double-page spreads listing the population details. The rest of the notebook is blank, except for two separate pages carefully folded and tucked into the back of the notebook. One gives a summary of the previous seventeen pages, and the other shows the age pattern of all the people recorded. 1821 was the year in which the third national census was recorded. The two previous ones were in 1801 and 1811. The 1821 census was held to record the population of the whole country as it was on the night of 28/29th May 1821. From the dates it would appear that the notebook is either a summary of the official census, or the original notes from which the official return was made. There is nothing in the notebook to confirm that it is a part of the official census, but the coincidence of dates makes it seem very likely. If the whole country was counted on the night of 28/29th May 1821, then Mr. Morris obviously spread his count over four nights. He probably had the whole town to count on his own!