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A Guide to Cromer and its Neighbourhood

A Guide to Cromer and its Neighbourhood
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Author: Visitor A
Title: A Guide to Cromer and its Neighbourhood
Release Date: 2018-10-17
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, A Guide to Cromer and its Neighbourhood, by AVisitorThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and mostother parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms ofthe Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org.  If you are not located in the United States, you'll haveto check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.Title: A Guide to Cromer and its NeighbourhoodAuthor: A VisitorRelease Date: October 17, 2018  [eBook #58122]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A GUIDE TO CROMER AND ITSNEIGHBOURHOOD***

Transcribed from the 1841 Leak edition by David Price, [email protected]

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A
GUIDE TO CROMER
AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD.

 

BY AVISITOR;

 

                              “Musicis in thy billows,
Grandeur doth walk thy beach, sit on thy cliffs,
Wave in thy woods, and Nature’s smile or frown,
As cast o’er thee, is beautiful.”

 

PUBLISHEDAND SOLD BY
LEAK, CROMER;
JERROLD, AND STEVENSON, MATCHATT, & STEVENSON,
NORWICH;
SHALDERS, HOLT;
BLYTH, NORTH-WALSHAM; CLEMENTS, AYLSHAM;
AND SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, & CO. LONDON.

 

1841.

 

p. iiLONDON:
PRINTED BY JOSEPH RICKERBY
SHERBOURN LANE.

 

p.iiiPREFACE.

A Guide to Cromer and its immediate neighbourhoodhaving been long desired, the following is presented to thePublic.  The Author pretends to no originality, nor offersthe present as perfect in its kind.  It was undertakensimply because a deficiency was expressed, and a few hours ofrecreation gave the opportunity of attempting to supply it. All criticism therefore, it is hoped, will be spared as to theexecution of the design, and that the intention only will beregarded.  Sincere thanks are returned to those individualswhose information has proved of such material assistance towardsthe completion of the work, with a full acknowledgment, that, ifany worth be attached to it, that worth is due to them.

Cromer, August 3, 1841.

p. 1A GUIDETO CROMER
AND
ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD.

There are few places in thiskingdom which combine to a greater degree the advantages of asalubrious and invigorating air, a fine and open sea, or morepleasing scenery than Cromer.  The lover of nature, thestudent, or the invalid may frequent its shores with equalbenefit, and with equal gratification.  That it is not moreknown, or become a place of more general resort, is the resultrather of circumstances, than of any deficiency in itself. True, indeed, it has not the metropolitan luxuries of Brighton,or the elegances of some of our more southern favourites torecommend it, neither does it offer any resources of gaiety forthe amusement of its visitors; but nevertheless, it will neverwant admirers, so long as an unvitiated taste, a desire ofscientific knowledge, or a wish for the renovation of healthshall exist.

Cromer is situated on the most north-easterly p. 2point of theNorfolk coast, nine miles N. N. W. of North Walsham, ten miles E.N. E. of Holt, eleven miles N. by E. of Aysham, twenty-two milesnorth of Norwich, and one hundred and thirty N. E. by N. ofLondon.  It is built on lofty cliffs, not less than sixtyfeet high, nearest the town, and is sheltered on three sides byan amphitheatre of hills, partly covered with woods, andcommanding a view of the wide waters of the German Ocean, nowhereto be excelled in extent or sublimity.  Its population hadincreased between the years 1801 and 1836, from six hundred andseventy-six souls to twelve hundred and thirty-two: by the lastcensus it appeared that it was twelve hundred and twenty-nine;but this apparent decline may be accounted for by the time ofyear in which it was taken, when no visitors were in the place,and the greatest part of the fishermen were absent at Yarmouth,engaged in the mackerel fishery, where their business frequentlytakes them.  The parish now comprises only about sevenhundred acres of land, mostly belonging to the Countess ofListowel, (widow of the late George Thomas Windham, Esq., ofCromer, and one of the daughters of the late Admiral Windham, ofFelbrigg,) who is also the Lady of the Manor, and the owner ofCromer Hall.

For some centuries the sea has continued to make considerableencroachments on this part of p. 3the coast.  Cromer itself wasformerly situated at some distance from it, and formed in thereign of the Conqueror, as appears from the Doomsday Survey, apart of the lordship and parish of Shipden, a village of someimportance, which, with its church, dedicated to St. Peter, wasswallowed up by the sea about the time, as it is supposed, ofHenry IV.; for a patent to exact certain dues for the erection ofa pier at Shipden was granted in the fourteenth of Richard II.,and two years afterwards, Sir William Beauchamp alienated, to apriory of Carthusians, a piece of land in Shipden, adjoining therectory.

At very low tides, large masses of old wall are still to beseen nearly half a mile from the cliffs, which the fishermen callthe Church Rock, from the supposition that they formed part ofthe old church at Shipden; but some have discredited the idea, onthe ground that the constant action of the sea for so many agesmust have destroyed all vestiges of the building.  We have,however, seen a fragment of the wall which was lately obtainedfrom the mass during a very low tide; and it is undoubtedlycomposed of the squared flints, such as are used in the presentchurch of Cromer.

The sea has continued to make rapid encroachments on thecliffs.  Many large portions of land were washed away in1611, previous to which the inhabitants had endeavoured, butfruitlessly, although p. 4they bestowed much labour andingenuity in the attempt, to maintain a small harbour.  Inthe winter of 1799, the Light-house cliffs, which rise from thebeach to the height of two hundred and twenty feet, made severallarge slips, or shoots as they are called, one of which broughtwith it, at least half an acre of ground, and extended aconsiderable way into the sea at low water-mark.  On January15, 1825, a similar occurrence took place.  An immense masswas detached from the cliff, which fell with tremendous force onthe beach, extending in breadth above five hundred yards from thecliffs, covering an area of about twelve acres, and containing,it was supposed, not less than half a million of cubic yards ofearth.  Nothing had been observed which could raise anysuspicion of what was about to take place, but providentially nolives were lost, nor did any accident occur, although thecoast-guard had to pass in the night the very spot where itfell.  A large and rapid stream, the cause in allprobability of the catastrophe, immediately after the fall,issued from the bank, discharging itself down upon the beach withgreat violence.

In the morning of August 19, 1832, the Lighthouse hill againsustained a similar loss.  This shoot was so considerable asto cause serious apprehension for the safety of the light-houseitself; in consequence of which the master and elder p. 5brethren of theTrinity House, London, under whose superintendence all suchmatters are directed, determined on erecting a new one on thehill, two hundred and eighty yards further inland.  Theformer one, which is partly dismantled, stands aboutthree-quarters of a mile east of the town: both houses are in theparish of Overstrand.  The first was built of brick in 1719,by Edward Browne of Ipswich; the present tower is alsoconstructed of brick and stuccoed.  It is fifty-two feet inheight, and about three hundred above the level of the sea,surmounted with a lantern lighted by thirty lamps in threedivisions, placed in plated copper reflectors, which revolve onan upright axis; the whole making a revolution in three minutes,consequently a full light is exhibited to the mariners everyminute, consuming about eleven hundred gallons of oilannually.  The gleam of light is perceptible abouttwenty-seven miles distant.  The lamps all the year arelighted up at sunset, and extinguished at sunrise.

Many years ago, the first house was lighted up with coals,which was not only an uncertain light, but also a fixed one, andwas frequently mistaken.  The labour and expense likewiseattendant on this method were very great; for the light was keptup by means of a large bellows, which was incessantly worked likea blacksmith’s forge, and the coals, which article isalways at a high price in Cromer, could be brought up the hillonly by small p.6quantities at a time.  In addition to which thesmoke and dirt caused by their consumption, made the office oflight-house-keeper a most disagreeable and an unhealthyone.  The lamps require to be trimmed every three hours; butas the attendance is shared by two persons, a comfortable portionof sleep is allowed to each, the night being divided betweenthem.

The annual salary formerly paid by the Trinity House to thelight-house-keeper, was fifty pounds, it is now one hundredpounds.  When the writer of this article first visitedCromer, many years ago, the situation was held by two females, bywhom the house was kept in such beautiful order, as to form ofitself, an object of attraction and admiration.

The floating-light off Mundesley, twelve miles to the east,may be distinctly seen in the night from the town, where thecliffs are not so lofty as those near the light-house.

Within the last five years the appearance of Cromer, viewedfrom the beach, has been materially changed.  Before thattime the undefended cliff alone presented itself to the eye, andthe town seemed to stand much further back.  A largesubscription-room, bath-house, and other edifices, wereconstructed on the beach and side of the cliff, and apparentdistance was given to the whole.  At present the jettyappears buried under the town, and the tower of the church to p. 7frown overit—this change is owing to the following circumstance:

In the month of February, 1837, an extraordinary high tideoccurred, accompanied with a furious gale from the north-west,which washed the whole of the above-mentioned edifices away, andeven for a time threatened the destruction of the town andchurch.  For two days, the 17th and 18th of February, thestorm continued to rage.  The day previous had beenparticularly fine, and the wind was gentle;—all had retiredto rest in apparent security, fearless of the grand butcapricious element which rolled near them.  In the middle ofthe night, however, an alarm was given;—the tide was risingto an unprecedented height, threatening to engulph all within itsreach.  In a few moments all was terror and confusion; thecliff was crowded with spectators, every assistance was affordedto those immediately exposed to the fury of the mighty billowswhich poured in, and happily the loss of one life alone is to bedeplored.  This poor man was left in charge ofSimons’s bathing-house; he was aroused, but whether he gaveno heed to the admonition, or remained too long on the premises,is uncertain.  He was borne away by the waters, togetherwith the house, and his body was afterwards picked up at Bacton,near Mundesley, a distance of ten miles.

Morning presented an awful spectacle, and p. 8scarcely couldthe inhabitants recognize their own beach.  But the alarmand the danger had not yet subsided; the wind continued to blowfrom the same quarter with equal violence throughout the day, andthe tide was equally high.  On the morning of the 18th, thecliff being undermined, fell in, bringing down with it one house;at the same time two vessels were lost, the one off thelight-house hill, the other on the western edge of thetown.  The crew of the former were saved; five of those ofthe latter perished in an attempt to reach the shore by means ofthe boat.  They were both from South Shields, which placethey had left only forty-eight hours before the awful catastropheoccurred.  The report of what had happened was speedilycirculated through the neighbourhood, and such was the interestthat it excited, that the town for many days afterwards wasfilled with persons anxious to behold the devastation.

From that time till the following year no steps were taken toprotect the town from the increasing advance of the sea; but inthe year 1838, a proposal was made to erect a safety wall for itsdefence.  Accordingly the inhabitants subjected themselvesto a rate in order to defray the expense, and the remainder ofthe sum estimated was raised

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