Aspect 2: Thomas Robert Keppel
Among the great and the good whose path brought them to Wells was Thomas Robert Keppel, sixth son of the 4th Earl of Albemarle, who became rector of Warham and a Harbour Commissioner of Wells. Born in London in 1811 he became rector of Warham. His sister Anne married T.W. Coke, Earl of Leicester, who features heavily in the story of Wells. It seems probable that his coming to Norfolk is attributable in some way to the marriage. Ann was older than he by some ten years. He subsequently moved to North Creake were he died in 1863. An elder brother, George became the sixth earl and is an ancestor of the present Duchess of Cornwall.
Keppel's great contribution to the story of Wells, recorded in the book (pp.113-115) , was his appearing before the House of Lords Committee on behalf the 'the bulk of the respectable citizens of the town' to promote the twin Acts of 1844 which resulted in the rebuilding of the Quay and the modernising of the town. He noted before Lord Monteagle that ' The Quay is excessively crowded and there are so many waggons standing about it is difficult to pass much less to drive.' As for the town 'there is no place in the town in which two waggons can pass one another'. He thought that one of the troubles was lack of finance because of the number of people who were excused from paying rates, ' a larger proportion than in other places', he thought.
This was not the first time he had taken an interest in the affairs of Wells. The book (p.144) records how he fell out with the rector of Wells, John Hopper, over the establishment of a British School, one run on