Tag Archives: Thomas Paine

Not so Much Dads Army More War of The Rose

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.

The Ruins of Thetford Priory

The Ruins of Thetford Priory

The Ruins of Thetford Priory

The Ruins of Thetford Priory

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

The Last Resting Place of Henry Howard, The Earl of Sussex, The Poet Earl in The Church of St Michael, Framlingham, Suffolk

The Last Resting Place of Henry Howard, The Earl of Sussex, The Poet Earl in The Church of St Michael, Framlingham, Suffolk

The Ruins of Thetford Priory Showing the Position of The Second Duke of Norfolk Original Resting Place

The Ruins of Thetford Priory Showing the Position of The Second Duke of Norfolk’s Original Resting Place

The Prior's Lodging

The Prior’s Lodging

The Last Resting Place of The Third Duke of Norfolk, The Church of St Michael, Framlingham, Suffolk Henry Howard's Father who outlived his son thanks to dear old Henry VIII

The Last Resting Place of The Third Duke of Norfolk, The Church of St Michael, Framlingham, Suffolk
Henry Howard’s Father who outlived his son thanks to dear old Henry VIII


Web Links:

English Heritage


Honington and Sapiston: In Search of Robert Bloomfield

If you mention the name of Honington in Suffolk I would imagine that it is the RAF base that springs to mind and not the birthplace of a sadly neglected Romantic poet.

Honington lies to the North East of Bury St Edmunds and the South East of Thetford the birth place of Thomas Paine the author of the Rights of Man.

Although it is Honington Raf base which is most famous, the village which it takes it name from lies about a mile to the west of The RAF Base.

Robert Bloomfield the author of A Farmers Boy which was a publishing sensation was born here on the 3rd December 1766 he was educated by his mother who run the village school until he was a eleven when he was sent to work on his Uncle William Austen’s farm across the river Blackbourn in Sapiston.

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NEGLECTED now the early daisy lies:

Nor thou, pale primrose, bloom’st the only prize:

Advancing SPRING profusely spreads abroad

Flow’rs of all hues, with sweetest fragrance stor’d;

Where’er she treads, LOVE gladdens every plain,

Delight on tiptoe bears her lucid train;

Sweet Hope with conscious brow before her flies,

Anticipating wealth from Summer skies;

All Nature feels her renovating sway;

The sheep-fed pasture, and the meadow gay;

And trees, and shrubs, no longer budding seen,

Display the new-grown branch of lighter green;

On airy downs the shepherd idling lies,

And sees to-morrow in the marbled skies.

From A Farmers Boy, Spring by Robert Bloomfield


In The Footsteps of The Good Doctor

Langton by Spilsby Lincolnshire Wolds.

Langton by Spilsby Lincolnshire Wold

“Early in 1764 Dr Samuel Johnson paid a visit to the Langton Family, at their seat of Langton, in Lincolnshire, where he passed some time, much to his satisfaction.”

Quoted from The Life Of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell

Although Langton Hall in Langton by Spilsby in Lincolnshire no longer stands the church of St Peter and St Paul and its environs are a delight to explore and if you feel energetic you can emulate the good doctor and roll down the sheep walks.

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Dr Johnson is said to have visited The church of St Peter and St Paul while visiting his good friend Bennet Langton a founder member of the literary club.

The present church was erected by Bennett’s grandfather George in 1725, when the great man of letters visited the roof would have been covered in lead unlike today, it is said that the lead was removed to be turned into bulletts for use in the Napoleonic Wars.

“War involves in its progress such a train of unforeseen circumstances that no human wisdom can calculate the end; it has but one thing certain, and that is to increase taxes.”

Thomas Paine

St Peter and St Paul Church

The setting and the exterior of the church building is extremely charming but it is when you enter that you experience the full impact and appreciate why it has gained its reputation with the great and good.

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