Stories of 100 Norfolk sites revealed in new book

Dr Susanna Wade-Martins, one of the co-authors of the new book, A History of Norfolk in 100 Places.  

Dr Susanna Wade-Martins, one of the co-authors of the new book, A History of Norfolk in 100 Places. - Credit: Supplied by Peter Wade-Martins

Happisburgh beach to the Norwich Forum is separated by a 40 minute drive - and thousands of years of history.

And now the story of 100 Norfolk sites has been told in a new book, a collaboration between three authors. 

To be released on January 6, A History of Norfolk in 100 Places starts with the 800,000+ year old footprints found at Happisburgh and ends with the Norwich Forum, which was opened in the year 2000 to mark the new millennium. 

The front cover of A History of Norfolk in 100 Places, by David Robertson, Peter Wade-Martins and Susanna Wade Martins

The front cover of A History of Norfolk in 100 Places, by David Robertson, Peter Wade-Martins and Susanna Wade Martins - Credit: Supplied

Churches, castles, man-made waterways and wartime defences are among the other entries, which was written by North Elmham couple Dr Peter Wade-Martins, 77, and Dr Susanna Wade-Martins, 55, along with archaeologist David Robertson.

Susanna said the book had been a joy to research and write. She said: "The most difficult thing was choosing the 100 - because we could have written a book just about 100 churches or 100 houses. 

"We've also only chosen places which you can see from a public footpath, or are open to the public, so it's a tool for exploration. Each site has a description and illustrations and aerial photographs, which really make it.

Dr Peter Wade-Martins, one of the co-authors of the upcoming book, A History of Norfolk in 100 Places.

Dr Peter Wade-Martins, one of the co-authors of the upcoming book, A History of Norfolk in 100 Places. - Credit: Supplied by Dr Peter Wade-Martins

"There are historical sites all over the county, and north Norfolk has a particular wealth of sites, many of which are represented in the book." 

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The images from the sky were taken by aerial photographers Mike Page and John Fielding, who was director of Norwich's Langleys toy shop until he retired in 2015.

John Fielding with his G SNUG Skyranger Nynja microlight aircraft. Picture: Supplied by John Fieldin

John Fielding with his G SNUG Skyranger Nynja microlight aircraft. Picture: Supplied by John Fielding - Credit: Archant

Each of the authors drew on different eras of expertise. Peter - a former Norfolk County Council archaeologist and director of the Norfolk Archaeological Trust - has a passion for Anglo-Saxon and medieval history, while Susanna's main interest is in 18th to 20th century Norfolk. David is an expert on the prehistoric era. 

The book will be available from major retailers including Jarrold, as well as online, and the authors are also planning to host talks where they will tell the stories of some of their favourite sites.

The village of Worstead. One of the aerial images taken by John Fielding for the book A History of Norfolk in 100 Places. 

The village of Worstead. One of the aerial images taken by John Fielding for the book A History of Norfolk in 100 Places. - Credit: John Fielding

The Forum, Norwich Credit: Archant

The Forum in Norwich is the most recent site covered in the new book. - Credit: Archant

Susanna said the first of these, for the Dereham Heritage Trust, would take place on January 11.

Susanna said some of the stories she liked the most were about the North Walsham and Dilham canal, the Fakenham Gasworks and the monument at Holkham Hall.

Some of the places covered by the new book

Cley Church and the Glaven Ports
Although Norfolk's main medieval ports were King's Lynn and Great Yarmouth, the north Norfolk coast was brimming with smaller hubs, including at Wiveton and Cley. 

The Glaven Estuary showing Wiveton and Cley churches. One of the aerial images taken by John Fielding for

The Glaven Estuary showing Wiveton and Cley churches. One of the aerial images taken by John Fielding for the book A History of Norfolk in 100 Places. - Credit: John Fielding

"Records show that by the mid-sixteenth century there were more than 20 ships of over 30 tons based in the two ports, and there was also traffic passing along the coast.

"There were shipyards at Wiveton for building and repairing vessels, and the women of Wiveton specialised in provisioning the vessels, particularly in ship's biscuits, for the long Iceland journey, when seamen could be away for several months."

St William's Chapel, Mousehold Heath
A group of mounds and banks on the heath hide "one of the most unpleasant and controversial parts of Norfolk's history". They also say something about the story of antisemitism in medieval Norwich and England. 

Walkers on the well used paths at the site of St William's Chapel in the Wood on Mousehold Heath. Pi

Walkers on the site of William's Chapel on Mousehold Heath. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY

The body of a 12-year-old apprentice skinner called William was found on the heath a few days after he disappeared in 1144, just before Easter. "It was suggested he suffered injuries reminiscent of the crucifixion of Jesus. Word quickly spread and, despite a complete lack of evidence, members of the local Jewish community were accused of William's murder."

His body was later reburied at Norwich Cathedral. 

Blickling Hall and park
The view of the south front of this stately home - reputed to be the birthplace of Anne Boleyn and her siblings - is described as "breathtaking".

"The first-floor long gallery, designed for walking and taking exercise, particularly in inclement weather, is the most spectacular room in the house. The ceiling is a masterpiece of plasterwork with 26 'emblems' representing Christian virtues that could be contemplated while walking in the room".

Letheringsett Maltings. One of the aerial images taken by John Fielding for the book A History of Norfolk in 100 Places. 

Letheringsett Maltings. One of the aerial images taken by John Fielding for the book A History of Norfolk in 100 Places. - Credit: John Fielding

Sheringham Park. One of the aerial images taken by John Fielding for the book A History of Norfolk in 100 Places. 

Sheringham Park. One of the aerial images taken by John Fielding for the book A History of Norfolk in 100 Places. - Credit: John Fielding

Fakenham Museum of Gas and Local History. One of the aerial images taken by John Fielding

Fakenham Museum of Gas and Local History. One of the aerial images taken by John Fielding for the book A History of Norfolk in 100 Places. - Credit: John FieldingJohn Fielding

Gressenhall Workhouse. One of the aerial images taken by John Fielding for the book A History of Norfolk in 100 Places. 

Gressenhall Workhouse. One of the aerial images taken by John Fielding for the book A History of Norfolk in 100 Places. - Credit: John Fielding


 

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