Last week I was in Norfolk again. My usual accommodation was not available (sister had the decorators in) so I booked a B&B just outside Norwich and was delighted when I arrived to find my very own “Hobbit hole” – The Buttery.
I hope you will enjoy this post reblogged from Echoes of the Past. The beautiful Nativity windows are in the parish church of Holt in Norfolk (my home county). Christmas Greetings to you all and thank you for visiting here throughout the past year.
I found this beautiful Nativity stained glass window today, Christmas Eve 2016, in St Andrews Church in Holt, Norfolk. We had a lovely day, and I’m not sure where everyone was, as the roads were quite empty and we just visited some of our favourite small towns and villages in Norfolk. I got to visit two churches, one working water mill and we had lunch in a converted mill, so quite a good day really, although I still have a cold, it was not going to beat me……well only a little.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone, and I hope your day is truly blessed 🙂
“BeWILDerwood is a wild and imaginative adventure park with magical tree houses and a hint of intriguing characters, bringing a curious difference to the Norfolk Broads. The setting for the book, ‘A Boggle at BeWILDerwood’ by local children’s author Tom Blofeld, is a wonderful, mystical land of brave, adventurous creatures who you may never see anywhere else in our world. Parents are encouraged to play alongside their children, which makes for a fabulous and brilliantly exciting day out for the whole family!”
If only Bewilderwood had existed when I was 7 years old and living in Norfolk. I wouldn’t have been that bothered about the stories but I would have loved making up my own adventures to fit in with the setting. Ever since I first heard about it a few years ago I’ve been intrigued to visit. Today my wish came true and I accompanied two other adults and five children – all my great nieces and great nephews – to an adventure park with a difference.
This week I’m visiting family in Norfolk but I decided to book my own place for the week and now find myself in the geographical centre of the county staying in Mattishall.
Mostly I’ve been driving into Norwich to visit family and take my mother out for ‘days’. But today I stayed around Mattishall and took two walks around the village and local lanes. The first on my own and later with my schoolfriend and her husband, daughter and Phoebe their spaniel.
This weekend was our nephew’s wedding in Norfolk and as this was a family and friends occasion I never expected to conjure up a blog post about it. But, since we got home I couldn’t resist showing you the magnificent venue where the reception was held.
After a few days of seasonally summer weather at last, Saturday dawned wet and cloudy and the rain continued, on and off, throughout the day. It was a shame but it didn’t dull any of our festivities: it just meant that we were inside for rather more time than we had expected to be.
The wedding itself took place in St Margaret’s Church, Hempnall (above) and had a lovely relaxed country wedding atmosphere. From there a convoy of cars travelled along the quiet country lanes of Norfolk and Suffolk and across the huge Hales Green Common to reach Hales Hall Barn for the reception.
About Hales Hall
The Great Barn at Hales Hall and the Hall itself were built in 1478 and the present Hall is the surviving wing of an even larger house built by Sir James Hobart, the Attorney General to Henry VII. There have been buildings on the site since Roman times.
The 178ft Great Barn is the largest surviving brick-built medieval barn in Britain and features a superb example of a ‘queen-post’ roof.
The Hall and Great Barn had fallen into agricultural use by 1971 when it was purchased by the Read family. It has been lovingly restored and owners Peter Sheppard and Keith Day plan to continue the restoration in the future.
Hales Hall is set on the edge of Hales Green, one of only a few ‘commons’ still grazed by cattle in the summer and is a haven for wildlife. At the heart of the Waveney Valley, Hales is surrounded by market towns and is close to the historic city of Norwich and within easy reach of the Norfolk and Suffolk coast.” [from the Hales Barn]
Remaining Buildings of Hales Hall
According to local information the Hall itself was demolished around 1700 leaving only the gatehouse and adjoining domestic building.
The Happy Couple in the Rain
One of the most commented upon posts here is the one about my great uncle Marshall. The most recent comment was from Rosemary Braby on 11 May this year.
“Such an interesting and moving story, Barbara.
I am assistant priest at Trowse Church, where Marshall’s memorial is in the churchyard.
We are planning a weekend at the end of June, commemorating the outbreak of World War One, and especially honouring those whose names appear on our war memorial and others with local connections. We would be very grateful if you would allow us to use your information about Marshall in the display that we’re putting together. We have been trying to trace living relatives of those named on our war memorial, unfortunately without much success. Marshall’s memorial is somewhat unusual, looking more like a normal gravestone. It’s good to know that his great-niece still cares about him.”
What a stroke of luck that I just happened to be in Norwich from Tuesday until Saturday (28 June) morning and was able to go with my mum, who lives very near the Trowse parish church, to visit the exhibition before leaving for Felixstowe.
Trowse St Andrew’s Church, Norwich
I assembled the information from the blog and a few other bits and pieces and made it up into a booklet and sent Rosemary a copy for the display.
On the Saturday we made our way down to Trowse and enjoyed lovely home made cake and cups of tea and chat with other visitors and met Rosemary, Janice (the priest) and Rosemary’s husband Jim who had put together a powerpoint presentation of pictures and statistics about the War.
The Honours Board
Trowse-by-Norwich was mostly a purpose-built village built to house the workers at Colman’s Mustard Factory nearby. Although now part of Unilever there is still a popular Mustard Shop in the lovely Royal Arcade in the city centre and the archivist was able to help Rosemary to track down details of many of the men named on the Honours Board in the church. There were photos of many of them too but sadly I haven’t yet found one of Marshall.
The Mustard Shop in Norwich
The Altar Display
Medals (the two boxed medals are those of Harry Lyon invalided out of the RFC in 1917 and who worked as chauffeur at Colmans for 40 years)
Communion set used in the trenches
Field Glasses and Pocket Watch
Display Board with many photos
I was very touched to see that flowers had been placed by Marshall’s memorial
The wording from ‘Abide with me’ has now been revealed
During the course of further correspondence Rosemary told me this :
“We managed to decipher a little more of the inscription – a line from the hymn “Abide with me”: “Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies“.”
I have memories of Gran telling me about her beloved brother Marshall and her pride in the memorials to him in both Norfolk and Worcestershire. I also remember that she loved the hymn ‘Abide With Me’.
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Henry F. Lyte, 1847
Earlier that week I had visited the Earlham cemetery where there are two War Cemeteries. The Old Cemetery which is mainly First World War burials and a further newer Commonwealth War Graves cemetery mainly Second World War. There are other CWGC graves scattered throughout the cemetery itself.
The Old Cemetery
The Newer Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery
Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery
The Wonder of Birds exhibition is currently showing at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery. I’ve written about a gallery visit here before. One Thursday a couple of weeks ago when I was in Norwich for a few days visiting family I thought I’d see what all the fuss about birds was all about. Well, it was about quite a lot of amazing stuff, actually.
When I first heard that The Wonder of Birds was to be next up I wasn’t too keen. Then I read this article in the Guardian and saw the accompanying pictures and changed my mind. Many of the artefacts and pictures came from the Museum’s own collections.
‘The Wonder of Birds’ explores the cultural impact of birds upon mankind. Eliciting a wide range of emotions from awe to fear, from pleasure to cruelty – birds have intrigued humanity since the earliest of times. The exhibition will span the centuries, informed by local and national collections, to include the arts, natural history, archaeology, fashion and social history. Works by major artists and illustrators, historical and contemporary, will be included and the exhibition will examine local, national and international issues.
Spring Cuckoo by Harriet Mead, 2009
‘The Wonder of Birds’ comprises six sections, each highlighting a different aspect of birds, their meanings and our relationships with them. It begins by introducing the visitor to the breadth of this fascinating subject: what is a bird; what do they mean to us; how have we studied, portrayed, preserved, endangered and used them?
Adult Male Paradise Parrot : Frederick Strange, taxidermist, 1851
Section 2, ‘Predators and Prey’ … Section 3, ‘Birds & Landscape’, primarily examines birds in East Anglia, … Section 4, ‘Migrants and Ocean Travellers’, will examine the seasonal behaviour which may take migrating birds from Norfolk to the Arctic, Africa or South America …Section 5 is titled ‘Introducing the Exotic’. Exotic birds have always been coveted for their brilliant plumage, combined with their sheer rarity value, both as high status pets and for their feathers.
Exotic feathered hat from the 1960s
‘The Realms of the Spirit’, the final section, will illustrate how songbirds and their relatives have symbolised the immortal soul, been seen as heralds of the seasons, messengers from heaven, or magical beings moving between the worlds.” [Museum website]
Bird related postcards in the Museum Shop
I discovered that birds may not need humans but humans certainly do need birds. They appear in our decorative arts, religion, symbolism, folklore, heraldry, fashion, literature and language.
The 147 million year old Archaeopteryx fossil cast is the earliest known bird. The Natural History Museum cares for the first skeleton specimen ever found and this spectacular fossil helped prove that modern birds evolved from dinosaurs. It was the first example providing support for Darwin’s theory of evolution. It is the most valuable fossil in the NHM’s collection.
Archaeopteryx fossil [source]
I saw an exquisite hollie point (English needle lace) baby’s Christening cap featuring a dove – a visual reminder of the Holy Spirit …
Here is a similar example [source]
… and a pincushion made by Sylvia Pankhurst whilst she was incarcerated in Holloway Prison and a copy of the Swiss naturalist Conrad Gessner’s Bestiary ‘Historiae animalium’ which must have been seen by Mary, Queen of Scots. A group of her embroideries The Oxburgh Hangings feature animals and birds from this book.
Bird detail from the Oxburgh Hangings [Source – V&A]
The section on birds in the landscape featured Maggi Hambling’s Heron in the shallows of the Thames bearing its environmental message. The bird has a mouthful of sewage.
Then in the afternoon I saw birds in their true East Anglian landscape. I drove out to the Norfolk Broads to meet up with an old schoolfriend and we walked around Hickling Broad stopping to look at a variety of birds including a goldfinch, a plump of geese * and many different species from a hide along our path.
* The collective noun for a group of geese on the ground is a gaggle; when in flight, they are called a skein, a team or a wedge; when flying close together, they are called a plump. [source]
Hickling Broad from the Hide
The Plump of Geese from the Hide
Typical Broads View
I must have been interested in birds once upon a time – my well-loved book!