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 Pages of the Primrose families of Norfolk



Michael & Wendy Bird




Introduction to the Primrose family of Trunch 



The Primrose family of Trunch




About six hundred years ago a man moved into the area surrounding Trunch, where

he came from is still a mystery.  Some say France and others say from "The lands of

Primrose" which was owned by the monks of Dunfermline in Scotland.  This man was

called Bartholomew Prymrose, he settled in a little hamlet very near to Trunch called

Southrepps.  From him now comes the steady unbroken line of Primroses sometimes 

spelt under different names such as Primerose, Prymrose, Primros and Primerese.


We have a Peter and a William Prymrose who were Jurors of Trunch in 1493 and we

have a Thomas Prymrose who was summoned before the jury where his brothers were

jurors for obstructing a certain common lane which leads from Trunch to Bromholm

with a ditch in 1497.


Gradually generation by generation, the Primrose families flourished growing bigger and 

bigger spreading their branches ever further.  A family branch moved away and settled

in North Walsham while another settled at Thorpe Market.  This left only one branch 

in Trunch but this was the main one which continued the Trunch connection that still

remains to this day.


In 1727 a William Primrose married Anne Worts, this marriage strengthened the

Primroses standing within the village as the Worts family are also a very large and

influential Trunch family having been prominent since the sixteenth century.  William

died 21.3.1758 and is buried alongside his wife Anne in St Bolotoph's cemetery.


Another William Primrose, a gentleman of Trunch was born at Sidestrand 9.5.1756. 

He grew up to become one of the richest and most admired figures in Trunch.  He

married Anne Mason in 1791 and went on to establish Trunch Brewery in 1803.  In

his heyday he owned over 600 acres of land and employed 42 workers who manned his

ever growing business.  On the 19.4.1796 his second child was born a son also named

William.  This William took over the brewing business and increased its potential



He started to purchase public houses like the "Jolly Farmers" at Baconsthorpe, "The

Bull Pub" at Hickling, "Kings Arms" at Bacton, "The Cock Pub" at North Walsham, 

"Half Moon" at Briston and of course "The New Inn" at Trunch.


He refurbished and extended the brewery in 1837 and by 1851 was living with his wife

Harriot (nee Cremer) at the Rookery in Trunch having fathered 14 children.


In the 1860's William Primrose was visited by Archibald Primrose the Earl of Rosebery.

My great grandfather Guy Rosebery Primrose's father (another William Primrose) who was about ten years of age at the time, remembered the visit.  They made the long journey down to Trunch from Barnbougle castle in Scotland.  The reason for the visit was to see an ancient family tree that William Primrose senior had, unfortunately this is now lost.  The outcome was most favourable as William Primrose was allowed to use a coat of arms and a motto which reads "Fide ET Fiducia" this translates as faith and trust.  The coat of arms and motto turned out to be the same as the Earl of Roseberys.  So it seems safe to say that the outcome must be that somehow the two families are related, how only time will tell.


On the 6.1.1882 at the advanced age of 86 years, William Primrose died of senile decay.

At the time he was living in the "White House" which is still a lovely family residence

in Trunch and at his bedside was his lifetime friend John Fuller Wegg.


In his last will and testament he left a personal fortune of 4,056 pounds, 15 shillings

and 3 pence.  To his sons Henry, William, Alfred and Robert he left numerous 

plantations, meadows and cottages.  To Henry he left 150 acres, to William 157 acres,

to Alfred 133 acres and to Robert 153 acres of land.  As his other son Philip Smyth Primrose was already in charge of the day to day running of the brewery, William left

the brewery in the hands of Philip.  This was only 47 acres of land but included the

public houses, Blacksmiths Close, the Malthouse and yards, Home Close opposite

the brewery, the actual brew house and its yards, Church Close and Knapton Close

amongst other plantations.


Philip Smyth Primrose died 12.3.1879 and the brewery passed into his wife's hands, she

was called Elizabeth Primrose (nee Carter) or by her alias Betsy Neal.  She died in 1905

without having any children to inherit the brewery, so Trunch Brewery was sold to a

William Dix Churchill and then taken over by Morgan's Brewery.  It is a shame that

they were childless or that one of William's other sons could not have taken more

interest in the brewery - you never know it still might have been a small rural family

run brewery to this day.


If you are wondering what happened to William's other sons well Henry Primrose my

great, great, great grandfather moved to Gimingham and married Eleanor Roper.


Robert Primrose stayed in Trunch, never married and died in 1882.


Alfred Primrose also stayed in Trunch and married Mary Frances Johnson and lived

in the "The White House".


William Primrose married Ann Hayn from Felmingham and lived in the quaint and

romantic cottage still standing today known as "Ivy Cottage".


Unfortunately the new up and coming generation of Primroses decided to find their fortune in the bigger cities and moved away to places like London and Norwich.  This only left a couple of family members to carry on the distinguished family line that made Trunch what it is today.


As for my Primrose line, the descendents of Henry and Eleanor, they moved to Wolferton, West Norfolk where my great grandfather Guy Rosebery Primrose become

King George V's accountant but that is another story that I may tell when time permits.


I hope you enjoyed that brief but I hope very interesting history of my Primrose family

that started out in 1411 with my fifteenth great grandfather Bartholomew Prymrose.


Michael and Wendy Bird 2001 






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Go to Primrose & Cremer homepage click:- Here





Primrose  Index click:- Here

Primrose Introduction page click:- Here

Primrose Monumental Inscriptions click:- Here

Primrose family pictures click:- Here

Primrose family properties click:- Here

Primrose parish records click:- Here

Primrose family tree click:- Here

Primrose families of England & Scotland 1250-1450 click:- Here

The life of Guy Rosebery Primrose click:- Here




Cremer Index click:- Here

Cremer introduction page click:- Here

Cremer Monumental Inscriptions click:- Here

Cremer Wills click:- Here

Cremer family tree click:- Here

Cremer parish records click:- Here

Cremer Cambridge University Alumni 1261-1900 click:- Here

Sir John Cremer the life and times click:- Here