Oulton Broad ceremony for author with strong Norwich and Dereham links

He is a Norfolk-born author well known for his body of 19th semi-autobiographical novels and travelogues.

And as people walk the streets of Norwich and Dereham, they may see a reference to George Borrow as roads and a pub are named in his honour.

The East Dereham-born author received public acclaim in the 19th century with the books Bible in Spain, Lavengro, The Romany Rye and Wild Wales.

On Saturday, the author's strong Suffolk links were also remembered at a short re-dedication ceremony at St Michael's Church at Oulton, near Lowestoft.

Members of the George Borrow Society gathered at the church to lay a wreath on the grave of his mother Ann Burrow, who died in 1858 aged 86.

Borrrow, his wife Mary and his mother had lived in Oulton Cottage on the Oulton Hall Estate, which came from his wife's side of the family.

Anne Burrow's grave is being restored and Saturday's ceremony, which was attended by about 25 members of the society, is thought to be the first time a commemorative event was held in Oulton to mark the life of the author.

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Chairman of the George Borrow Society Dr Ann Ridler had travelled from south Oxfordshire for Saturday's ceremony.

She said: 'Borrow's work was a good Saturday read for Victorians. He was a quite a distinctive travel writer and an incredible self-taught linguist - he translated 47 languages, including antiquarian languages such as an Anglo-Saxon.

'Today is very important for the society. We have never done anything like this before.'

As well as laying a wreath, the members visited St Michael's church where Borrow and his family worshipped and the summerhouse where the author lived.

Members paused in a reflective moment as Richard Shepheard, from Barney, near Fakenham, read out a passage from the 1851 Borrow book Lavengro in which a son is reunited with his mother.

Ivan Bunn, a society member from Lowestoft, said: 'Borrow's name still lives on in other parts of East Anglia, but seems to have been neglected in Oulton.

'I think it is really important to continue remember the memory of George Borrow and his remarkable work of literature.'

The society holds annual meeting at Dereham and Norwich, where he studied at Norwich Grammar School.

Both communities have roads named after him and Dereham's Romany Rye pub is named after his seminal work on the life of gypsies.

A plaque has also been placed on Great Yarmouth's Embassy Hotel, where he lived in the 1850s.

For information of the George Borrow Society, which was founded in 1991, visit www.clough5.fsnet.co.uk/gb.html

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