Archive for the ‘Norfolk’ Category

The origins of Norwich Cathedral date back to 1096 with the relocation of the bishop’s seat from Thetford. The site had been an Anglo-Saxon settlement including 2 earlier churches, which were demolished to make room for the new building. It took almost 50 years for it to be completed. The Cathedral was part of a monastery of Benedictine monks. The East End and Spire were rebuilt and remodelled on a number of occasions up until 1480. Cathedral, as we see it today, is pretty much as it was in that year. The exception is the Lady Chapel added in 1930, the original 13th-century chapel having been demolished in the 16th century.

Norwich Cathedral By Simon Leatherdale, CC BY-SA 2.0, (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11283888)

Entrance into the Cathedral Precincts is by one of two gates

Ethelbert Gate

The Ethelbert Gate commemorates one of the Saxon Churches demolished in the building of the Cathedral. The original was destroyed in the riots of 1272 but was rebuilt in the early 14th century

Erpingham Gateway

The Erpingham Gateway dates from 1420 and is named for a city Benefactor, Sir Thomas Erpingham, who had been a military commander in the armies of Henry IV and Henry V but who is perhaps best known for being the commander of the archers at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 at the age of 60.

Weybourne Church

Posted: May 24, 2018 in History, Norfolk, UK, Uncategorized
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Weybourne is a small village on the North Norfolk Coast. The church as we see it today is all that remains of the 13th-century Augustinian priory, which was built on the site of an earlier parish church of Saxon or Norman origin. They greatly expanded the church and built a range of buildings to the north of the existing church and it must have been a fairly grand building judging by the remains that can be seen today. It was short-lived, however, and by the middle of the 15th century the occupancy had dwindled to 4 cannons and by 1514 this had become 2, the prior and one other canon. It was dissolved in 1536.

Part of this original church can be found incorporated into the priory building.

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The interior has a 15th-century hammerbeam roof although much of the internal decor dates from Victorian times

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The church of All Saints, Weybourne is now a village parish church again.

Views of Cromer

Posted: May 23, 2018 in History, Norfolk, UK
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Cromer is a lovely seaside town on the north coast of Norfolk. One of the delightful things about the town is the way in which they have resisted the temptation to knock down and rebuild buildings once they have served their primary function. Examples of this are the Old Town Hall, now retail premises and the old hospital now a social club.

The Old Town Hall (left) and the Old Hospital (bottom right) together with the original , but amended, hospital sign on the front balcony (top right)

Cromer has some lovely churches as well

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This site on the sea-front overlooking the pier is believed to have been the location of an unnamed hotel in early town records but in 1820 this was demolished and a summer retreat house was built for Lord Suffield. Suffield was MP for Great Yarmouth 1806-12 and for Shaftesbury in 1820 before taking his seat in the House of Lords following his brother’s death a year later. He was a strong advocate of the abolition of the slave trade.

However, his Cromer residence was only to last 10 years and in 1830 the house was put up for sale. The site was purchased by Pierre le Francoise. His parents, French aristocrats, had come to England to escape the French revolution. The hotel is listed in 1836 as ‘a boarding house’ but by 1845 had acquired the name ‘ Hotel de Paris’. Le Francois died in 1841, but the hotel continued to be run by his widow until she sold it to a local businessman, Henry Jarvis in 1845. He extended the original building by adding more accommodation.

In 1877 the railway came to Cromer and Henry’s son Alex decided to build a new hotel which would incorporate the original building but would also encompass neighbouring buildings including another hotel. The hotel remained in the Jarvis family until 1961.

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And of course, Cromer has a lighthouse

 

A rough sea

Posted: May 22, 2018 in Landscape, Natural History, Norfolk, UK
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During the recent trip to Norfolk, Keitha and I experienced a day with 60 mph winds and driving rain. We avoided the coast that day, but the following morning we went down to the front and although the winds had dropped the sea was still rough.

 

 

It makes you wonder what it was like there on the day of the gale?

When Keith and I were in Norfolk recently we didn’t ride on the North Norfolk Railway but we did pop into Sheringham Station on a couple of occasions to use the excellent tea room.

BR Standard 76084 was present on both our visits.

76084 left the Horwich Works in March 1957. It was one of the last batch of locomotives to be built at Horwich. Records show that 76084 initially went to Lower Darwen shed near Blackburn along with 76080/1/2 and 3.

All 5 locomotives were transferred to Sutton Oak, St.Helens in preparation for the closure of the Lower Darwen shed in March 1965 and scrapping of the class began the following year. 76084 was the last of her class to be withdrawn from BR stock in December 1967. 76084 arrived at Barry in a convoy with 76077, 76079 and 76080. She was to stand in the sidings at Barry until 1982 when she was purchased and the new owner had the engine and tender transferred to his back garden where he began work on it. After his death in 1990, the engine was sold again and taken to Morpeth. The new owners continued with the restoration work and 76084 was finally returned to steam in May 2013. By now the Engine had been transferred to the North Norfolk Railway.

 

Norwich Castle

Posted: May 14, 2018 in Norfolk, UK
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The first castle in Norwich was built shortly after the Norman conquest of 1066. Although the date cannot exactly be defined, is most likely that it was built in conjunction with William the Conqueror’s East Anglia campaign of 1067. The first record we have of the castle comes from 1075 when the Earl of Norfolk rebelled against the king. The castle was besieged and the rebel garrison surrendered.

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The stone keep of the castle, as we see it today, replaced the earlier keep sometime around 1100. It was again held by rebels from 1173 to 74 but was again returned to Royal control following the end of that rebellion.

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Norwich castle 1851. British Library – Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32803754

Strategically, the castle then seems to have passed out of history. Records show that from 1220 it was used as a prison and over the following centuries buildings were added around the keep to expand its accommodation and a number of alterations on the buildings were carried out in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Following the opening of a new prison in 1887, on the site of the disused Britannia barracks, the castle ceased to be used for housing criminals. The buildings were bought by the city of Norwich and following a rebuilding programme were opened as a museum in 1895.

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The museum today contains a varied collection of art, nature and history with a focus on local interests.

The castle also contains the regimental museum of the Royal Norfolk Regiment

On our arrival in Norwich, we made our way to the Cathedral Close to look and see if we could see the nesting Peregrines. The nest is on a platform located on a window-ledge on the spire (marked with a red dot on photo).

We couldn’t see the bird on the nest as she was keeping well down but eventually located her mate perched on a ledge further up the spire (marked with a blue dot on photo).

The pair have two chicks, one hatched 3rd of May and the second on the 4th May. The live web-cam of the nest can be seen at  http://upp.hawkandowl.org/norwich-peregrines/norwich-cathedral-peregrine-live-web-cam-2018/

 

Cromer Church

Posted: May 7, 2018 in History, Norfolk, UK

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Day 3 of our trip to North Norfolk and we woke to heavy rain and 50 mph gales so we decided to head inland to Norwich. But before we leave Cromer we visited Cromer Church.

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The Church was built in the late 14th century to replace the church of St Paul which had existed on this site and the church of St Peter which had been on the seafront and which eventually fell into the sea due to erosion. The Church’s fortunes followed the fortunes of the town and after the Middle Ages, it was allowed to fall into disrepair. There was a plan to renovate it in the 18th century but no action was taken. Only when the town’s fortunes began to revive with the arrival of the railway in the 19th century was restoration finally carried out.

The south wall has an interesting set of stained glass windows depicting Cromer’s connection to the sea and in particular the rescue of the Sepoy, a sailing barge, in December 1936 by the Cromer Lifeboat. The lifeboat had already launched, in bad weather, to help a barge which had gone aground near Happisburgh. The coxswain decided that in these weather conditions, rather than return to Cromer they would put into Great Yarmouth. Then a second call came into Cromer from the Sepoy. Some men, who had not sailed on the lifeboat decided to put out in the Alexandria, an old rowing lifeboat to give aid, but were unable to get near to the Sepoy. At the same time word reached the Coxswain, Henry Bloggs, now docked in Great Yarmouth and despite the worsening weather conditions he and his crew set out for Cromer. Arriving at the scene he was unable to get a line aboard to rescue the crew so he twice took his boat in to contact with the ailing barge to take off the crew. Running low on fuel he made it back into the harbour at Cromer.

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At least it was dry when we started out this morning, although this didn’t last long. Our destination today was the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Cley Marshes. As we arrived a Great White Egret flew across the road. After a break for a coffee in the visitor centre, we made our way out onto the reserve, A Bearded Reedling was heard in the reed-bed along with Cetti’s, Sedge and Reed Warblers. A Sedge Warbler gave excellent views and whilst following it when it flew we found a Northern Wheatear sitting on top of a bush.

 

Sedge Warbler

On the marsh, there were good numbers of Avocets and Black-tailed Godwits along with a few Redshank and a couple of Ringed Plover. A Marsh Harrier quartered the reed-bed and a couple of Common Buzzards were seen over the nearby hills.

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Marsh Harrier

On our way back to the centre we had a brief view of a Bearded Reedling and a group of barn Swallows low over the marsh feeding. In the afternoon we set off across the marsh towards the coast. On the way, we saw Mute Swan and Greylag Geese along with Mallard, Gadwall, Redshank and Oystercatcher. The gale was blowing in off the North Sea and no birds were seen on the Sea. A couple of Kittiwakes and an unidentified tern passed along the coast before we made our way back to Cley Village.

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On our way back to our base in Cromer, we stopped off at Sheringham, where we had tea in the buffet at the North Norfolk Railway.

 

                                 Locomotive in steam and Station Refreshment room,                                 Sheringham Station, North Norfolk railway

Afterwards, we walked down to the seafront to search for Ruddy Turnstone. A group of 5 were found sheltering behind the seawall. The gale has grown in strength and as soon as we had photographed the birds we beat a retreat back into the town to catch a bus back to Cromer.

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Ruddy Turnstone

 

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Egret [sp] (Ardea alba)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-legged Kittiwake [sp] (Rissa tridactyla)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Northern Wheatear [sp] (Oenanthe oenanthe)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Keith and I are in North Norfolk for a few days birdwatching. We are based in the seaside town of Cromer which gives us good access to the coast by bus. We awoke this morning to find it raining hard. In fact, it hadn’t stopped since we arrived here last night.

Titchwell Marsh

Thankfully we weren’t on public transport today as Dave and Viv, two friends of Keith’s who live locally, have agreed to take us to Titchwell RSPB reserve and the surrounding area. The wind is blowing in from the sea as we start along the track that leads to the beach. On the freshwater marsh, there is a group of about 50 Sandwich Terns along with a couple of Common Terns. A single Ruffe was present with 12 Avocets, 20 Black-tailed Godwits, a couple of Redshanks and a single Grey Plover. Viv spotted a sleeping male Red Crested Pochard. Brent, Egyptian and Greylag Geese were also present.

Black-tailed Godwit

Shelduck

Avocet on nest

Avocet

Sandwich Terns

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rain was still falling and so we decided to forgo a walk down to the beach and instead returned to the car and made our way to Chelsey Barns looking for Grey Partridge, an increasingly a rare bird in our countryside. Good numbers of the commoner Red-legged Partridge were seen, along with Pheasant. Eventually, we saw 2 Partridges ahead of us on the road and on closer examination we found they were Grey Partridges. We also saw 2 Roe Deer and a good number of Brown Hares.

Grey Partridge. Photo by Sergey Yeliseev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

Pheasant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our next stop was Brancaster staithe where we added Greenshank to the list. We then visited the Holkham Estate, first stopping overlooking the coastal marsh where we saw Little Egret and Great White Egret in flight and further along the road we saw another Great White Egret roosting in the reeds. We then turned inland to the farmlands of the estate stopping to scan over the fields. Highlights here were Yellowhammer, Eurasian Curlew and another pair of Grey Partridge.

Little Egret

 

Then it was time to head back to Cromer. Despite the rain, we have seen over 60 species of bird – a good total for a day. Our thanks to Dave and Viv for driving us around and for coming out on such a horrible day weather-wise.

Brent Goose [sp] (Branta bernicla)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Red-legged Partridge [sp] (Alectoris rufa)
Grey Partridge [sp] (Perdix perdix)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Eurasian Spoonbill [sp] (Platalea leucorodia)
Great Egret [sp] (Ardea alba)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Grey Plover [sp] (Pluvialis squatarola)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Ruff (Calidris pugnax)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Common Linnet [sp] (Linaria cannabina)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Yellowhammer [sp] (Emberiza citrinella)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)