History of Cruso & Wilkin

Cruso & Wilkin started in business some time before 1756 and are believed to be one of the oldest firms of established Chartered Surveyors still practising in the Country today. There have been a succession of Crusos living in Norfolk based primarily in Norwich and King’s Lynn from the year of 1614 until 1885 when the family line ended.

Cruso & Wilkin started in business some time before 1756 and are believed to be one of the oldest firms of established Chartered Surveyors still practising in the Country today.  There have been a succession of Crusos living in Norfolk based primarily in Norwich and King’s Lynn from the year of 1614 until 1885 when the family line ended. 

Although there is no record, it is widely believed that Daniel Defoe may have taken the fictional character of Robinson Crusoe from the business when staying in the Dukes Head Hotel as he refers to his visit in his book, A Tour Through Great Britain 1724-1726.

The Firm primarily practised in the early years as auctioneers and were active during King’s Lynn’s heyday when auctioning port wine imported through King’s Lynn Docks.  Since this time, Cruso & Wilkin have remained Norfolk’s oldest firm of auctioneers, having been partner in King’s Lynn Livestock Market and continue today through their conduct of farm machinery, property auctions and auction centre.

Some years before Mr Robinson Crusoe died in 1885, the late HM Wilkin joined in partnership and the Firm took on the title of Cruso & Wilkin which remains today.  On the death of Mr Wilkin in 1910, he was succeeded by his son, the late Captain HWM Wilkin who died at a relatively early age of 53 years.  He was subsequently followed by his sons Horace Wilkin and Thomas Wilkin who continued to practise until 1987.  Mr Horace Wilkin was instrumental in converting many acres of Norfolk farm land to production as part of the war effort and received an MBE for his services.  Horace and Tom, having no family member wishing to continue with the business, extended the partnership so as to include non-family members.  The existing partners Bernard Matthews, Jonathan Fryer, Adam Case and Alice Lake continue with the Firm’s commitment which has been established for the last 262 years to provide a personal and professional service to all their clients, being well supported by qualified, friendly and very capable assistants and staff. 

The business has evolved over a number of years and more recently has expanded from more traditional services including valuations, sales and purchases of farmland, Landlord and tenant matters so as now to include an active Farm and Cottage Management department, providing advice in connection with diversification projects, conservation schemes and advice on the Government funded BPS and CSS Schemes.  The Firm maintains its primary involvement within the agricultural business but in addition has a commercial and residential department to support the core business.  Approximately 40 years ago, the partnership established a weekly auction held at their Snettisham Auction Centre for furniture and chattels.