I think I am fighting a losing battle on this one, but I will try anyway. I should stress that Trowse is pronounced to rhyme with ‘gross’. Many people assume that it rhymes with ‘cows’ but this not so. If you think of a ‘dose of medicine’ that is how my relatives (who lived there for decades) said the word, and I suggest they knew best.
This ruin is near Whitlingham Broad. Whitlingham Broad is not a real broad any more than the University Broad at UEA is. They were both dug out as gravel pits in the late 20th century, whereas the proper Norfolk Broads were medieval peat diggings. This picture was taken before Whitlingham Broad existed and the surrounding area was a tranquil water meadow where bullocks were grazed in the summer months. Water meadows are still quite a feature of Trowse, because the low-lying land where the rivers Tas, Yare and Wensum all meet is suitable for little else. This is a parish of extremes however; the steep hills between the church and the old hall are home to Norfolk’s only ski slope!
Trowse Newton Hall was originally a medieval foundation, a country retreat for the Priors of Norwich Cathedral Priory. It would have been a short voyage by rowing boat from the Cathedral; under the arch at Pulls Ferry to Trowse wasn’t very far. After the Reformation the Hall was retained by the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral for their enjoyment. By the middle of the nineteenth century it had become a farmhouse on the Crown Point Estate, during the time of General Money. The avenue of trees which leads from Crown Point Manor to Trowse Newton Hall was planted about this time. Later the Hall was reduced to a “picturesque ruin”, which is how you see it now.
Edward VII was entertained at Trowse on Monday 25th October 1909. After a day of official engagements in the city he took supper at Crown Point, a guest of the Colman family. Alighting from the train on the other side of the river, he crossed it on a pontoon bridge and was driven past the ruins of Trowse Newton Hall and along the avenue of lime trees to Crown Point. This was not the first Royal visit to Trowse Newton Hall however; Edward III and Queen Philippa lodged there while visiting Norwich in 1335. A visit to Norwich by the King used to be a rare occurrence. None had taken place between 1671 (when Charles II visited the city) and 1909, and before Charles II no reigning monarch had visited the City since Queen Elizabeth I.
Crown Point is named after a fortified town in New York State. It was where a battle took place during the French War in North America (The Seven Years’ War) which resulted in a British success. In command of the British troops was General Money, who later purchased the estate in Trowse which he called Crown Point to celebrate his victory. The surroundings of the ruins of Trowse Newton Hall were changed to marked degree by the development of Whitlingham Broad as a leisure facility. Whitlingham Lane was diverted and the nearby barn, part of the farmyard associated with the Hall, was converted to form a coffee shop for the visitors to the Broad. A car park was built adjacent to the double avenue of lime trees near the Hall.
150 years ago Trowse Millgate and Trowser Newton (which since the 17th century had incorporated the parish of Whitlingham) together made a bustling village. Whitlingham was not just a place of pleasure and relaxation as it is today, but a centre of industry. A limekiln was in operation where the steep cliffs approached the river. Wherries were frequently at Whitlingham quay unloading barrels of beer from Norwich and returning with quicklime. The White House was the local pub, and was where the ferryman lived. The ferry gave dwellers in Whitlingham access to Thorpe Green and Whitlingham station. This was on the Yarmouth line, built by George and Robert Stephenson.
The street in Trowse Millgate gave access to Trowse station on the London line. The Pineapple pub was adjacent to the station at Trowse and stood on the road that used to take horse-drawn traffic to the south. A level crossing originally existed here before the bridge was built. Some of the livestock sold at the cattle market under the walls of the castle were grazed in Trowse, but far more were unloaded from cattle trucks in sidings at Trowse station, to be returned under new ownership to the same station and despatch to fresh pastures or the abattoir. Where the cattle trucks used to be loaded and unloaded is now a depot for sand.
A blacksmith, woodturner, shopkeepers, several butchers and a shoemaker all served a population of just under 600. The Colman family bought Crown Point in the last quarter of the 19th century and proceeded to turn Trowse into a model village. They gave the land which is now the common to the community in exchanged for some land in Whitlingham Lane. The White Horse pub was demolished and rebuilt where it stands today, on the other side of the road. You should read my first blog on Trowse, published on September 10, 2012; also my blog on Whitlingham, published February 3, 2012.