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Coordinates: 52°32′36″N 0°52′59″E / 52.54346°N 0.88295°E / 52.54346; 0.88295

Church of the Holy Cross, Caston, Norfolk
Caston is located in Norfolk

 Caston shown within Norfolk
Area  6.37 km2 (2.46 sq mi)
Population 459 (2001 census)
    - Density  72 /km2 (190 /sq mi)
OS grid reference TL955978
District Breckland
Shire county Norfolk
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district NR17
Police Norfolk
Fire Norfolk
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
List of places: UK • England • Norfolk

Caston is a village and civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. It covers an area of 6.37 km2 (2.46 sq mi) and had a population of 459 in 174 households as of the 2001 census[1] For the purposes of local government, it falls within the district of Breckland.


Caston was the residence of Edward Gilman, a prosperous yeoman of Welsh descent, who died in 1573. Gilman's son Robert, born in 1559, later removed to Hingham, Norfolk, about five miles distant.[2] HIs son Edward Gilman subsequently became caught up in the Puritan movement that swept parts of Norfolk, and moved to Hingham, Massachusetts, arriving in the Massachusetts Bay Colony on August 10, 1638.[3] Puritan sympathies apparently traveled in the family: Edward Gilman's sister Bridget, married to Edward Lincoln, had a son Thomas Lincoln, who himself left County Norfolk for Massachusetts in 1633 accompanied by Mary Gilman Jacob, another of Edward Gilman's sisters. Thomas Lincoln's brother Samuel followed him to Massachusetts in 1637, settilng in Hingham alongside his brother. Samuel Lincoln became the great-great-great-great-grandfather of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.[4]

The Gilman family subsequently moved to Exeter, New Hampshire, where they became noted businessmen, statesmen and American patriots.[5] The family branch which remained in England subsequently produced two mayors of Norwich: Charles Suckling Gilman[6] and his son, Sir Charles Rackham Gilman, who were both instrumental in the development of the insurance industry of Norwich and became philanthropists. Charles Rackham Gilman served as the first Chairman of Conservators of Mousehold Heath, which was donated to the City Council during Gilman's mayoralty. Gilman Road in Norwich is named for the family. Also descended from the Caston Gilmans was the prominent Norfolk barrister Samuel Heyhoe Le Neve Gilman, who resided at Hingham.[7]

The remains of an elaborately carved cross believed to date from the 15th century are mounted atop a pillar on the Caston village green. The cross was smashed by Puritans during the Interregnum. Nearby is the Caston Windmill, a grade II* listed building built in 1864.


  1. ^ Census population and household counts for unparished urban areas and all parishes. Office for National Statistics & Norfolk County Council (2001). Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  2. ^ Genealogy of the Gilman Family in England and America Traced in the Line of Hon. John Gilman of Exeter, Arthur Gilman, Published by J. Munsell, Albany, N.Y., 1864
  3. ^ Old Hingham Emigrants,
  4. ^ Searches Into the History of the Gillman or Gilman Family, Alexander William Gillman, Eliot Stock, London, 1895
  5. ^ For other descendants of the Gilmans of Norfolk County, England, including U. S. President Gerald Ford, New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., U.S. President George W. Bush and others, see the work of genealogist Gary Boyd Roberts of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, as well as that of William Addams Reitwiesner. [1] [2]
  6. ^ Charles Suckling Gilman was the son of Charles Gilman, Esq., of Norwich, and his wife Ann Suckling, niece of Capt. Maurice Suckling, RN, who first took to sea his nephew Horatio Nelson, later Lord Nelson.[3]
  7. ^ The Record of the House of Gournay, Daniel Gurney, Printed by J.B. Nichols and J.G. Nichols, London, 1848

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