101 unusual places to visit and things to do to celebrate the history of Norfolk in this guide for locals and visitors alike.
101 Ways to Celebrate the Lesser Known History of Norfolk: A County Guide
David Stannard offers us 101 places to visit and things to do to celebrate the history of Norfolk in this guide to his favourite and often hidden aspects of the county. In this book he shows the reader that history is often hidden in plain sight—a gravestone, a carving on a building, a strange request leading to an even stranger object.
The unique county of Norfolk is the fourth largest in England with some 1.3 million acres (0.535 million hectares) of land almost entirely surrounded by water including the 75 kilometres of coastline which border the North Sea. Of the land area some 80% is devoted to agriculture, 7% is woodland and forest whilst 5% of the county is occupied by its 700 or so towns and villages. The remaining 8% comprises heathland, fens, rivers, dykes and lakes; not least the extensive range of waterways dug as medieval turf workings, which subsequently flooded to become the Norfolk Broads. In the towns and villages you will find still standing some 706 ancient churches, with a further 245 sadly now in ruins and others lost forever. Historians estimate at one time there were 969 churches in Norfolk with 659 of them built before 1700. The county boasts at least 65 sites of medieval religious houses in various states of dilapidation, the sites of 20 medieval castles or fortified houses, at least 4 Roman forts and towns, and any number of ancient pre-history earthworks in the form of dykes and ring forts. There are still over 65 historic mansions sitting in estates of over 1000 acres in the county, many of which are regularly opened to the general public. All these locations can trace their history at least back to Saxon times, and so can most of the rest of the villages, even those mentioned in the Domesday Book which have subsequently been lost due to abandonment or coast erosion. Not surprisingly these historic places contain countless hidden treasures, I hope this little book will encourage the curious to explore this remarkable legacy.
This book is for those that want a different view of Norfolk. Locals and visitors alike will find much to intrigue them in David’s unusual county guide, which takes us to out of the way places to visit a waxwork lady, a ‘witch’ and the grave of a giant, among other things.