Norfolk Day

Norfolk Day 2018

This year sees the first day devoted to our beautiful county.


27th July 2018 will see lots of events and celebrations and Norfolk-Tours will be taking part.


To help you celebrate Norfolk Day, I have available flags and bunting at very reasonable cost. Flags are just £5 and 9m of bunting is just £12. Postage will be charged at cost.

Norfolk Day Flag

Celebrate Norfolk Day by flying The Norfolk Flag


If you would like any flags or bunting, please email me with your requirements and address and I will send your order as soon as possible. Don’t delay, get in early to avoid disappointment.

Email: and please mark your email “Norfolk Day”.



Norfolk-Tours on the BBC

In November, I was asked to show Cerys Matthews around Anna Sewell’s house for The One Show on BBC1 and we were filming for much of the afternoon.

Anna Sewell House

Anna Sewell’s House










After exploring, we sat in the conservatory and chatted about how Anna Sewell wrote her one and only book in that very house and, in fact, much of it was written in the very next room.





Cerys Matthews & Glynn Burrows

Cerys Matthews and I in Anna Sewell’s Sitting Room










Not only was much of the book written in that room but, sadly, it was in that room that she died, overlooking the meadows opposite.

Horse opposite Anna Sewell House

The Meadow Opposite Anna Sewell’s House













One surprising discovery was that the stable was still there.

Anna Sewell's stable

The Stable in Anna Sewell’s House








Anna Sewell died shortly after her book was published but before it had become a best seller and long before it became the internationally known classic that it is today.

Black Beauty is one of the best known books ever written and it was written in an unassuming house in a quiet Norfolk village, by an unassuming woman who wrote it for the horses, not for herself.










Our Royal Christening

How fantastic that our new princess, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, is being baptised at Sandringham in Norfolk.

The Church is one which has had its fair share of Royal usage over the years, some sombre but some happier and is the Church where Princess Charlotte’s late Grandmother, Diana, Princess of Wales, was Christened in August 1961. (At that time, Diana was not a member of the Royal Family as she was The Honourable Diana Spencer.)

When Edward, Prince of Wales, was given the Sandringham Estate as a twenty-first birthday present, not only were the house and grounds in need of improvement but the Church was also in need of some tender loving care too.

Sandringham, Church, History, Princess Charlotte, Christening,

Sandringham, Church, History, Princess, Charlotte, Christening, Norfolk,

Sandringham Church c1873

Sandringham, Church, History, Princess, Charlotte, Christening, Norfolk,

Another early view of the Church.

Sandringham, Church, History, Princess, Charlotte, Christening, Norfolk,

Sandringham Church Summer 2015.




As can be seen, from the pictures above, this little Norfolk Church has had many additions and alterations but these changes can be noticed much more from the inside.

Sandringham, Church, Norfolk, Princess, Charlotte, Christening, History,

Sandringham Church Summer 2015


Sandringham, Church, History, Princess, Charlotte, Christening, Norfolk,

Inside Sandringham Church before restorations


Sandringham, Church, History, Font, Princess, Charlotte, Christening, Baptism, Norfolk,

The current Font in Sandringham Church

There is a font in the Church but Princess Charlotte will be Christened in the solid Silver and Gilded font which has traditionally been used for many Royal Christenings since it was made for Queen Victoria in 1841. This is said to be the first time it has ever left London and is usually kept with the rest of the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.

The earlier Font, which was in the Church is no longer present but this one is in the West end, within the Tower.

Although this is a very sombre photograph, it is one of the most poignant pictures and shows how highly the Estate and County hold the Royal Family in their hearts. King George VI was born in York Cottage, Sandringham and he also passed away here. Protocol meant that he couldn’t be taken to London immediately and, overnight, he laid in the Chancel of Sandringham Church, where he was guarded by Estate Workers.

Sandringham, Church, History, George VI, Norfolk, King,

King George VI, guarded by Estate Workers. February 1952.

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge is the first Princess to be Christened in Norfolk but I hope she won’t be the last.

Old Photographs of Norwich – Norfolk

I was looking through my photograph files on my computer this evening and thought I would share a few old pictures of Norwich.

I have lots of old photographs but these show interesting views and people working in everyday jobs. Fascinating to see inside factories and shops! I will be putting together a full article, with more pictures, in the next few months.

Norfolk, Norwich, Vacations,

Upper Goat Lane Warehouses


Norfolk, Norwich, Tours, Vacation,

Curls in Rampant Horse Street, decorated for the 1897 Jubilee

Norfolk, Norwich, Tours, Vacations,

Large department stores weren’t just in London, Norwich had several.


Norwich, Norfolk, Tours,

Fires, with timber buildings, closely packed together were common in large towns and cities.

Norwich, Norfolk, Tours, Family History,

Dinner-Time for the workers.

Norwich, Norfolk, Family History,

Hard work & long hours.

Norfolk, Tours, Family History,

Transporting fruit & vegetables to market.

Norfolk, Norwich, Family History, Tours,

More factory workers. Norwich was a massive city with massive factories employing thousands of workers. Were your ancestors among them?



WW II Airfields in East Anglia

WW II Airfields in East Anglia

The area of East Anglia is very close to Europe and there is nothing but sea between our Eastern Counties and Holland. It was the perfect place to put airfields during the War as a lot of this part of England is relatively flat and much of the area is open countryside.

A list of the WWII airfields in this area includes:

Alconbury, Atcham, Attlebridge, Bassingbourn, Bedford, Bodney, Bottisham, Bovingdon, Boxted, Bungay, Chelveston, Coltishall, Conington, Debach, Debden, Deenethorpe, Deopham Green, Downham Market, Duxford, Earls Colne, East Wretham, Eye, Feltwell, Foulsham, Fowlmere, Goxhill, Grafton Underwood, Great Ashfield, Great Dunmow, Great Massingham, Great Saling, Halesworth, Hardwick, Harrington, Hethel, Honington, Horham, Horsham St Faith, Kimbolton, Kingscliffe, Knettishall, Lakenheath, Langham, Lavenham, Little Snoring, Little Walden, Marham, Marsworth, Martlesham Heath, Mendlesham, Metfield, Methwold, Mildenhall, Molesworth, Mount Farm, North Creake, North Pickenham, Nuthampstead, Old Buckenham, Oulton, Parham, Podington, Polebrook, Rackheath, Rattlesden, Raydon, Ridgewell, Rougham, Sculthorpe, Seething, Shipdham, Snetterton Heath, Steeple Morden, Sudbury, Swannington, Swanton Morley, Theberton or Saxmundham, Thorpe Abbotts, Tibenham, Wattisham, Watton, Wendling, West Raynham, Willingale & Wormingford. (I have probably missed some and would be pleased to be told of any I have overlooked or made a mistake with.)

Some of these airfields are still recognisable from the ground but many have reverted back to what they were before the War and now grow crops again. Some are built upon and some others have been adapted for other uses. Farmers find the old runways and perimeter tracks very useful for building barns on and many of the old hangars and sheds are still in use for storage. Looking at the area from above, it is often still very easy to spot the old airfields as they left a major scar on the field systems of old England and the layout of most fields was exactly the same, so the three runways set out in a rough “A” shape can be seen on the modern websites showing the Earth from above.

So, can you get to visit many of these old WWII airfields? Surprisingly, yes! Even the ones in private ownership are often accessible by appointment and it is, at times, also possible to go into some of the buildings if they are safe. Only last year, I went onto four different airfields with children of ex servicemen and I also had the honour to visit an airfield with a Veteran. That was something VERY special, I can tell you.

Norfolk Tours, Family history, Memphis Belle,

What else? Well, there is the fantastic museum at Duxford. It has a massive collection of aircraft and many are still flying. When I visit, I often see Spitfires flying and the last two times I have been there to see the plane used in the film “Memphis Belle” take off.

Spitfire, Duxford, Norfolk Tours, Family History,


If you have connections to any of the airfields mentioned above or would like further information, please get in touch.

Fakenham Fire

What a shame to see the old Aldiss’s store burning down. The row of shops at the top of the market place are in a prime position and it is a real blow to the town to have them in ruins but what a fantastic opportunity to make something positive out of this disaster.

This area of the town is very important to look into as it is so close to the Church. The development of a market place often follows a regular pattern and the Church is often found overlooking this open space because, in medieval times, markets would have been held in the Church yard. The large inns are always around the market, because merchants always needed refreshment and main roads from surrounding towns and villages will meet at this most important part of the town.

If you look at early maps of Fakenham, it is obvious that there have been several encroachments onto the old market place and, perhaps the site which has just been destroyed, is one of the earliest. After all, who would expect a Church to be hidden from view by a row of buildings?

The buildings, apart from the new front which was added during the C20th, all appear to be Georgian in date but behind the frontages, the back appears to have been much earlier.

Fakenham fire

I will be researching the history of this area over the next few weeks but, meanwhile, please do contact me if you have any information or photographs.


Family Names


It’s interesting when we start to look at our family history, one of the first things we often look for, is the meaning of the name and this can be very surprising, as many do not mean what we automatically think. Many are related to the trade carried out by our ancestor, the town, village or the place he lived but sometimes, it was a nick-name relating to what he looked like. Here is a list of a few:

Fletcher: A man who made arrows.

Blaxter: A bleacher.

Villin: A commoner or farm servant.

Bunn: Good, from the French “Bon”.

Fuller: A man who worked in the cloth industry.

Skipper: A man who owned a ship.

Redman: Red haired or someone with a high colour.

Athill: Someone who lived on a hill.

Deville: From the town.

Walsingham: From Walsingham.

See what you can find out about the origin of your own surname and, if you have any problems, let me know and I’ll see if I can help.

Ginger beer sellers Norfolk

When it comes to finding where your family originated from, you may think that you will never find out because the records in the libraries don’t tell you anything. Don’t give up as some names are typically from Norfolk: Rallison, Frary, Bennefer, Cason, Gurney, Grimmer, Filby, Hipkin, Howling, Foulger, Gotts and Skipper, are all names which are very common in Norfolk. In fact, if you are a Benefer, I can guarantee that your ancestor came from King’s Lynn! My great Grandmother was a Benefer and I have not yet found any Benefer who isn’t related to me.

Norwich Market

So, how do we find where our family name originated from? Obviously, if it is a name like Smith or Jones, it will be very difficult but if you have an unusual name, it is always worth putting the name in an early census search on a family history index site and see what comes up. If 99% of the hits are from one area, it could be a good place to start! If I put Rallison or Benefer into a search for the 1851 census, the only hits are people born in Norfolk.


I have been researching my own family history since 1977 and I have found that all of my ancestors lived within 50 miles of where I live today, even the families I have traced back to the 16th Century. Some are rare names, like Goll, Benefer and Ebdale but others are quite common like Burrows, Harvey and Claxton. How far have your ancestors travelled?


Ten Reasons to Visit Norfolk.

There are many reasons to visit this area of England but here, I have selected just ten things which may surprise you about this County.

Ten Reasons to Visit Norfolk, England.


1: The Queen of England has her own private home here and you can visit it and see where the Royal Family spends Christmas. Walk around the beautiful gardens and enjoy the favourite home of our Monarch. This is where King George V died and where his son, King George VI was born and also where he passed away.


Sandringham Norfolk-Tours

Sandringham House

2: There are over 700 Medieval Churches in the County, which is an area a little bigger than the Grand Canyon National Park. (Norfolk is 5,371 km² and the Grand Canyon National Park is 4,926.7 km2. but Norfolk is roughly oval in shape and is about 50 miles North to South and 75 miles East to West.


Egmere Norfolk-Tours

There are many ruined Churches in Norfolk

3: There are at least a dozen Medieval Castles in Norfolk and some are still substantial buildings; Castle Rising, Caister Castle and Norwich Castle, some are ruins; Castle Acre and Baconsthorpe Castle and some are just earthworks; Mileham, Horsford etc.


Norwich Castle Norfolk-Tours

Norwich Castle

4: Local food is superb. We have an abundance of game, with Pheasants, Deer and Partridges available in season. As we are on the coast, our fish restaurants are very special and our Cromer Crabs are amazing. We have a wide selection of home-cooked food available in our pubs and restaurants and often the food miles of meals can be counted on one hand.

Norfolk-Tours Pleasant

Cock Pheasant


5: Life is calm. We have no motorways (freeways) and, because of that, we are a relaxed bunch. Not much rushing about in Norfolk! We do have some dual carriageway roads but our Country Lanes are often single file and we drive on the “wrong side of the road”, so if you decide to take a hire car, please do keep to our pace on the lanes because, as we are a farming community, tractors and animals are often around the next corner.


Norfolk-Tours lane

A quiet country lane

6: We have lots of small villages and towns to visit and even our County Capital City of Norwich is tiny compared to your cities. The population of Norwich is around 215,000! This means that you will find that, even if you stay in the centre of our largest City, you are no more than a mile from open fields!

Norwich Norfolk-Tours

The view from Norwich Castle.


7: Birders can relax and watch birds in our many bird reserves. Welney, Cley, Brancaster and Pensthorpe are all very popular places with many types of birds. With so much countryside, the whole area is a birder’s paradise!

Birding Norfolk-Tours

Even in our gardens, we are never far from beautiful birds, like this Woodpecker.


8: Artists and writers can join their historic brethren and get inspiration from the beautiful surroundings and serenity of the countryside. Norwich School was a famous group of painters including Crome & Cotman and Munnings has to have been one of the best painters of working horses. The skies of Norfolk are popular with artists because of the low horizon and the coast, with the many different seascape and landscape combinations. Literary figures include Anna Sewell, George Borrow and, of course, Thomas Paine.

Wells Norfolk-Tours



9: Spiritual connectivity is easy, surrounded by so many historic Churches, Priories, Abbeys and the Cathedral at Norwich. Ruined religious houses are also all over the County, thanks to King Henry VIII and one of England’s most important Medieval Pilgrimage sites, at Walsingham, is a must for those who wish to connect with their spiritual side.

Walsingham Abbey Norfolk-Tours

Walsingham Abbey


10: Norfolk is a great escape from the rat-race. It is only two and a half hours from London by car and less by train, yet it is as far removed from the metropolis as it is possible to get.

Poppies Norfolk-Tours



Very few tourists have found us yet and, if you don’t understand what you are hearing when you’re sitting in the pub, enjoying your pint, it isn’t because it’s a foreign tourist you’re hearing, it’s because it’s someone talking “Norfolk”.


Time Travel Norfolk-Tours

Norfolk-Tours, your personal guide to the REAL England.



Anna Sewell letters found in Norfolk!


Who would have believed it? Previously unknown correspondence relating to the world-famous Norfolk Authoress has been discovered by this very excited local historian!

This eagle-eyed and passionate local historian has discovered a cache of letters and writings which have lain hidden for years, unknown to researchers and writers. It just goes to show that not everyone who sells on internet auction sites know what they are selling and not everyone who searches these sites know what they are looking at. How could such an important collection be found after so many years? We will never know. The person selling them, bought them in a job-lot and didn’t know what they were.

The collection of over fifty personal, family papers, include a corrected draft of a poem, written by Anna, after the death of her little niece, Blossom Johnson.

The published poem is copied below but the one in this collection has the crossings out and insertions of the writer.

“Seven young trees grew close together,

All fresh and green in the summer weather.

A little one, beautiful, tender, and tall,

Grew in the middle, the joy of them all

And lovingly twining their branches together,

They circled it round, in the fine summer weather.

On the Sabbath eve of an autumn day

The beautiful plant was taken away,

And left a lonely and leafless space

And nothing was found to fill the place —

Nothing of rich, nothing of rare,

Could fill the spot that was left so bare,

Nothing below, nothing above,

Could fill this empty spot but love.

Then closer the young trees grew together,

In the chilly days of that autumn weather

And every branch put forth a shoot,

And new life quickened at the root.

They grew in the winter, in spring they grew,

Silently nourished by heavenly dew

And when they came back to the summer weather,

One beautiful group they stood together

And their greenest leaves hung o’er the place

Where the youngest had stood in its tender grace.

Nothing below, nothing above,

Nothing can heal the hurt but love.”

What a great insight to the thoughts of this wonderful Norfolk woman, at a time of such great sorrow.


I show, below, the signature of this great author, in a letter to her brother, Philip.

Anna Sewell, Norfolk, Letters, Family history, Sewell, Philip Sewell, Sewell Barn,

Signature of Anna Sewell

Norfolk-Tours is an #SBS Winner

#SBS, Theo Paphitis, Norfolk, Vacations





Well, this week has turned into a real hum-dinger to say the least!

Theo Paphitis, one of the famous “Dragons” from TV’s Dragons’ Den, is a great supporter of Small Businesses and, every Sunday, he has what is called “Small Business Sunday” or “#SBS” for short. He asks such businesses to tweet him a message, using the SBS hashtag and he then re-tweets his favourite six to his followers. This last week, Norfolk-Tours was one of those lucky six and life has been one big whirlwind ever since!

Catching up with the tweets, emails and messages has been a full-time job and I’m hoping that it will be a great boost for Norfolk-Tours.

Watch this space.