ROUGHTON

Our hens

Our Roughton hens

This is where we bought our chickens when we decided to try producing our own eggs after I retired. They were newly hatched and it would be several months before they were ready to lay. They were brown (or should I say red?) although neither of them lived very long. A better bet were the white hens we acquired to replace them; these were given away free, and we got them after they had spent the first year or two of their lives producing eggs under battery conditions. As soon as they stop producing eggs at the highest rate they are sent off for slaughter, although they still have plenty of egg-laying yet to come if given the chance. We gave two or three the chance to lay for us, and also the chance to live an open-air life. Compared to the indoor existence that had been their lot previously, this must have been a delight for them, although how far chickens can experience delight I don’t know. Dogs certainly can, but chickens are altogether more inscrutable. One of the chickens was so fat that she could not spend its nights on the perch provided for her, but had to sit on the floor alongside it. A battery existence had not stopped her eating, although the boredom of it may have given her  little else to do. Eventually our one remaining hen stopped laying and we pensioned her off to an animal recuse centre.

Roughton is on the Cromer Road just before you get into Northrepps. There is a garage there where we often used to fill up with petrol on our way to our caravan at Trimingham. To get to our caravan we turned right off the A140 at Roughton, just before the fish and chip shop (another establishment we patronised from time to time). This road is the B1436 to Thorpe Market.

The main memory we have of Roughton is of the farm shop. This is off the same road, but further out and away from the village centre. There is plenty of space to park the car  and several adjoining barns give plenty of space for retail. They have  butcher’s shop and a  garden centre too, while all around the fields are devoted to growing soft fruit and potatoes for sale at the shop. There is a good selection of vegetables, locally brewed ales, fresh bread and locally produced jams. There was flour of all descriptions including spelt, stone ground at Letheringsett watermill. Not everything was Norfolk produce – the oranges and lemons certainly weren’t – but there was more of our own area’s produce in evidence than is the case at most such shops.

Beyond the farm shop we come the crossroads with the Cromer to North Walsham road. To get to Southrepps and thence to Trimingham we went straight across, but if you turn right you come Thorpe Market itself, now no more than a hamlet but in the Middle Ages it was  a substantial centre of trade. In the Domesday Book it had a large population (in comparison to most settlements) and it was granted the title of Market in 1275. Past the village you come to Gunton Road Railway Station, lost in the deep country but the nearest one to Trimingham since it lost its own station in 1953. We used it several times while staying in Trimingham. The nearest station to Roughton is Roughton Road, a recently constructed halt to the south of Cromer.

To return to Roughton; the village has a public house, a primary school and the church has a round tower with bell openings in the Saxon style. It’s greatest claim to fame is the fact that Einstein lived here briefly in 1933, en route to  exile in the USA.  He had escaped to England from Nazi Germany in September of that year and was accommodated in Roughton by the local MP.

JOSEPH MASON

joemasonspage@gmail.com

THE STORY OF EAST ANGLIAN LIFE

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