Carrow Abbey

ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY TOUR of CARROW ABBEY, KING STREET and COLEGATE, Norwich.

From my diary for SATURDAY, 17 SEPTEMBER 1977.

Again cool, and clouds threatened rain, but none came.

I did not get up until 10, when I had sausage roll for breakfast. It had been made for me by Mrs Matthews, who passed it over the hedge to me.  I think she feels sorry for me now that I living alone since my sister Tig went back to Guernsey. I took the dogs up the field at the back, and Suki was so engrossed in digging a hole that Fido and I had to back to the house for her lead before I could drag her away. At work there was another tranche of orders for Versator optical binocular magnifiers, half of them from the MoD. It is quite gratifying to find my production work (although Dad’s design) has been selling so well, and all at full retail price.

Off to  the Archaeological Society meeting. It was an interesting conducted tour of Carrow Abbey and nearby places of historical importance. At the Abbey there was a rebus for the nun who built the existing domestic wing, just before the Reformation (late 15th century when rebuses were very much in fashion). Her name was Katherine Wygun and the rebus was made up of the letter ‘Y’ and a representation of a gun! Also there was a herb growing wild in the garden of a type that had been grown by the nuns in their herbarium; I wonder if it was a lineal descendant? I would like to think so.

Leaving Carrow Abbey we walked down past Carrow Bridge. Read’s flour mill had been built in circa 1820 as a yarn mill for Norwich mohair shawls. Mohair comes from shorn goats, but also at that time silk shawls were much in vogue, and mulberry trees were planted in Thorpe, to produce the food for silk worms. (I don’t think silk  was ever very successfully grown in Norwich.) Further along King Street we came to St Peter Parmentergate church. It is High Church and we were greeted at the door by Father Maclean. He had his dog with him and he told us that ‘he likes to roll in the aisles’. We had tea at the Music House, and heard how originally it had been called the Mosaic House having been built in Norman times by a rich Jewish money-lender, Isaac Jurnet.

The Octagon Chapel in Colegate.

The Octagon Chapel in Colegate.

Back again to Howard House, where we inspected the staircase. Finally to Colegate, past the Octagon Chapel and into Henry Bacon’s House ; he was a rich Worsted weaver who was mayor of Norwich twice, once in the last year of Mary Tudor’s reign and again in 1566 under Elizabeth I. Henry Bacon’s house is used to store the portraits of the mayors of Norwich, some of which we saw.

[It is notable that in 1977 nothing was known of the Dragon carved into the roof of Robert Toppes’ merchant house in King Street. Then it was known still as the Old Barge and the pub had been derelict for a decade or more. Robert Toppes had also made his money in the cloth trade and became mayor four times a hundred years before Henry Bacon. Norwich had been allowed to elect a mayor from 1403.]

It was 6 0’clock by the time we were done. I took the dogs to Mousehold Heath for a run and then came home to feed them. For my tea had egg, tomatoes and zucchini with salt beef and boiled potatoes. Later I saw the Last Night of the Proms on television; they had pieces by Sullivan, Walton and Britten followed by the usual; Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, Henry Wood’s Sea Songs, Parry’s Jerusalem. Later I played my double bass.

JOSEPH MASON

joemasonspage@gmail.com

THE BLOG FOR MEMORIES OF EAST ANGLIA

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