Thetford Priory, Thetford, Norfolk
I have visited but more often than not driven through Thetford on many occasion in the pursuit of more exotic destinations (should read business trips) or so I thought. It is only when you take time to stop and stare (shorthand for Google it) that it is not just a stopping place on your way to Norwich or Great Yarmouth, it has a history both modern and ancient running in its environs.
Our interest on this occasion was not Dads Army or even Thomas Paine but the remains of Cluniac Priory of Our Lady of Thetford, the burial place of the Earls and Dukes of Norfolk before they were removed to Framlingham Church in Suffolk by The Third Duke on The Dissolution of The Monasteries.
Being a Scot and having an interest in The Howard Family may strike some as less than patriotic as The Second Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Howard was instrumental in the defeat of The Scottish Army at the battle of Flodden. I could claim the higher ground and maintain that we Scots forgive and forget old grievances (permission to laugh, question or agree if desired) but I have to admit that my justification is perhaps not so laudable.
I have to confess a partiality for a sonnet or two particularly the Shakespearean variety, all thanks has to go to the great grandson of The first Duke of Norfolk John Howard who fought and died at the Battle of Boswell Field, The Earl of Surrey, Henry Howard who was responsible for refining the form.
Brittle beauty, that Nature made so frail,
Whereof the gift is small, and short the season;
Flowering to-day, to-morrow apt to fail;
Tickle treasure, abhorred of reason:
Dangerous to deal with, vain, of none avail;
Costly in keeping, past not worth two peason;
Slipper in sliding, as is an eel’s tail;
Hard to obtain, once gotten, not geason:
Jewel of jeopardy, that peril doth assail;
False and untrue, enticed oft to treason;
Enemy to youth, that most may I bewail;
Ah! bitter sweet, infecting as the poison,
Thou farest as fruit that with the frost is taken;
To-day ready ripe, tomorrow all to-shaken.
Brittle Beauty by Henry Howard