Friday, 22 July 2011

Great Yarmouth Rows - King Street to Middlegate


Numbered Map of the Rows - click on image in order to enlarge
[Source: "A History of Great Yarmouth", Frank Meeres, 2007]

Here are snippets about the rows between King Street and Middlegate Street (source, "The Rows of Great Yarmouth" by Colin Tooke, 1987):

Row 93


King the Baker’s Row (1734)
Rivett the Baker’s Row
Goddard the Whitesmith’s Row



Kings Head public house was on the south-west corner, and was converted into a bakers shop in 1734. Bread was baked here for the poor of the town.

Row 95


Kittywitches Row
Draper the Butcher’s Row (1863)

“At the eastern end of this row was four and a half feet wide, but at the western end it was barely 30 inches. It was described as a picturesque but gloomy row, with many overhanging Tudor houses on the south side” – Tooke

The name is probably derived from a former resident, Christopher Wyche.

Row 97


Barnes Row (1690)
Blick’s Row
Bell’s Row
Bayly’s Surgeon Row (1874)
Nightgale the Confectioner’s Row
Lawyer Bell’s Row
Norfolk Hero’s (1878) – a public house, on south west corner

Row 99


Castle Row

The name derives from around 1600 and described a square building with a watch tower at each corner which was built in the 1500s.  It was demolished in 1621.

This was also the site of the *Penrice Arms pub, which was on King Street between rows 99 and 101.

Row 101


Reynold’s Row ( 1781)
Charles Symonds Row
Victualling Office Row
*Penrice Stable Row

*Penrice was the name of a wealthy resident of King Street who had a mansion which once extended from St Georges Plain to row 94. One Yarmouth historian (Palmer) described it as, ‘probably the finest house ever erected in a county town for the residence of a private gentleman’. It only stood for 40 years before being demolished. Unfortunately, there is no indication of what period this was built.

Row 102



William’s Row (1760)
Benett the Cooper Row (1863)
Arnold the Brewer’s Row
William and Bells Row
Packet Office Row

Row 105


Chapel Row (1715)
Rev Cooper’s Row (1802)
Dr Penrice’s Row (1837)
Doughty the Grocer’s Row (1870)

Row 107


Post House Row (1660)
Old Post House Row
Chapel Paved Row
Step Paved Row
St Georges East Row

At the south west corner was a public house known as the Tolhouse Tavern, previously the Welcome Sailor

Row 109


Red Lion Row (1746)
Dr Borrett’s Row
Dr Meadow’s Row
Lion and Lamb Row

Red Lion pub was at the south west corner; the Lion and Lamb was on the south east corner.

Dr Daniel Meadows, surgeon, lived in a house known for many years (imaginatively) as the Doctor’s House. From the mid 1700s until 1970 there was an almost unbroken succession of doctors living here, the last being Dr Dowding.

Row 110


New Prison Row
Prison Row
Perry the Oatmeal Maker’s Row (1836)
Bellamy the Butcher’s Row

The south side of the row was used for French prisoners of war during the Napoleonic war (early 1800s). “A sentry stood guard at each end of the row and after dusk no one could pass down the row without the password. Despite these precautions several prisoners managed to escape.”

Row 113


Tilson’s South Row (1626)
Errington’s Row (1714)
Ferier the Surgeon’s Row (1836)

Thomas Tilson was a member of the GY Corporation in 1626. Near the western end of the row was a pub known as “The Bee” whose sign read thus:

‘Within this hive we’re all alive,
Good liquor makes us funny;
If you are dry, step in and try
The flavour of our honey’


Colin ~

Saturday, 25 June 2011

A Great Source of Info!

Monument in the Kitchener Road Cemetery

I've just discovered this really interesting source of information about the town's history and archaeology:

Great Yarmouth Archaeology Map

Colin ~

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The Resurrection Men





The archive of documents Norfolk Record Office, situated in Norwich, is a great resource for discovering the history of Great Yarmouth. However, if you are unable to get there in person, information is available online. For instance, here is a short excerpt from one of their information leaflets about bodysnatching in Yarmouth in the early 1800s...


"Body snatching was the digging up of recently buried people from churchyards to sell to students in anatomy (whose only legal source of corpses was the bodies of hanged criminals). The most famous case in Yarmouth was that of Thomas Vaughan alias Smith in 1827. He and some associates rented a room opposite the west end of St Nicholas church, in Row 6 (known later as Snatchbody Row). They dug bodies out of the churchyard, moved them into their house and then sent them to London by wagon. Although it aroused terror in many hearts, the courts regarded body snatching only as a misdemeanour meriting a short prison sentence: Vaughan received six months. Later he was found in possession of clothes he had taken from a dead body he had dug up in Plymouth. This ‘theft’ raised his crime to the level of felony and he was transported to Australia. After 1827 high fences were put up around St Nicholas churchyard to prevent a repetition of the crime."


[Source: Norfolk Record Office, Information Leaflet No 29 -> click HERE for further info about Yarmouth history]


For a more recent case of bodysnatching, please click HERE


Colin ~

A Riddle of Bullets


I had walked past this monument many times without paying it a great deal of attention. Then, one day, I looked up and noticed the spray of pock marks, mainly concentrated down one side. And when I looked closely at the wonderful ornate iron-work railings which surround it, I could see that the was damage on that same side...





What could have caused this? My first thought was that this might have been caused by the blast from one of the bombs dropped in this area during the Second World War. However, if this was the case, then the cemetery staff had certainly done an amazing job cosmetically restoring the surrounding area (had they really bothered to place a Victorian grave marker in the line of where the blast must've come from, purely as cosmetic restoration?). Then, John, one of the participants in the project told me that he believed this to be the result of a German plane strafing the monument with machine gun fire. Having seen quite a few pock marked target walls previously, I can see that this is the kind of damage canons and/or machine guns might cause. 


I wonder how many people have noticed this as they pass? 


Colin ~

Monday, 20 June 2011

Civilians in the Line of Fire

Click on images in order to enlarge

Great Yarmouth was the first place in the UK ever to suffer civilian casualties as a result of an air raid. On the night of the 19th January 1915 the German airship, Zeppelin L3, piloted by Peter Strasser, dropped bombs on the town. The fourth bomb to explode landed on St Peter's Plain, killing 53 year old shoemaker, Samuel Smith and 72 year old Martha Taylor. Although I have not yet been able to locate his grave, Samuel (who had part of his head blown away) is buried in the Kitchener Road Cemetery (Martha is buried in Gorleston). 


This is a tragically poignant moment in British history (see HERE for further details). In an ironic twist, Yarmouth was also the last town in Britain to be bombed in the First World War, and, once again, the pilot of the Zeppelin was Peter Strasser. On the night of the 5th of August the airship was destroyed and Strasser was shot down by a British plane piloted by Edgar Cadbury (a member of the famous chocolate manufacturing family). 

Peter Strasser, 1876-1918


(Main Source for this post: Frank Meeres, "A History of Great Yarmouth")


Colin ~

King Henry's Tower



‘King Henry’s Tower’, located on the north side of St Nicholas' church, was an ossuary chapel (from the Latin word ossuńĀrius meaning “of or for bones”). When fresh burials were made and bones from previous burials were uncovered, these were stored in this chapel and, periodically, burned in a ‘bone fire’ (hence ‘bonfire’).


Priory Precinct wall: an amazing medieval survivor!


The tower is actually part of the priory precinct, rather than the town wall. The distinctiveness of this compared with the town wall is clear in the design of the towers. Here the towers are square turrets, whereas, the town wall ones are round constructions. 


Colin ~

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Herring Grown...



Much of the historic wealth of Great Yarmouth was generated by a huge hoard of silver - 'silver darlings'... herrings!

In medieval Yarmouth, the fishing season began in September. The sheer volume of fish landed is hinted at by the use of 'lasts' as a measure of the catches. A last was defined by the Statute of Herrings of 1357 as consisting of 10,000 fish. 

Countless millions of herrings were the basis of the wealth that built the medieval town walls, the huge parish church - the posh buildings along the river front. 

I was walking through the town (Be active) thinking about this when I had an idea for a poem (Keep learning). I wrote this on the wing on my mobile, and then sent it to some friends (Connect and Give): 

Herring streets
and Herring bone
Herring fleets
and Herring stone
Everything here's 
Herring grown
<*((((><(

Colin ~