This week we are on holiday in the Broads National Park. We are not on the Broads because, at this present moment in time, we are not in the socio-economic group that is conducive to the hiring of pleasure craft, but our caravan is pitched very close to the water. We have already been out walking along various riverbanks which is an activity our canine companions believe to be infinitely more interesting than sitting aboard a boat all day.
Yesterday, as soon as it had stopped raining, we drove the few miles to the hamlet of Waxham situated on the Norfolk coast just south of Sea Palling. Waxham is renowned for its beautiful, extensive and completely dog friendly beach. It is also in the tourist guides due to being the location of the largest thatched barn in Norfolk, Waxham Great Barn. Our lazy afternoon in Waxham consisted of a look around the barn, a stroll along the beach and a return to the barn for a pot of tea and a toasted teacake (me) and local strawberry ice-cream and a Fentimans' ginger beer (Mrs MP). All in all it was a lovely, low key start to our week in Norfolk.
Waxham Great Barn was built in 1583/4 by the Woodhouse family who then held the lordship of the village (a title that predates the Norman Conquest of 1066). Following Norfolk County Council's compulsory purchase of the building in the 1990s it has been restored to its original condition. Entry is free and there is an excellent cafe in one of its wings.
Saint John's Church, Waxham, built during the Fourteenth Century.
Looking over the fields towards Saint Margaret of Antioch, the parish church of Sea Palling.
East Anglia is gradually disappearing due to the winds and tides of the North Sea relentlessly battering its soft coastline. Over the centuries whole villages, even major towns, have literally slipped under the waves, the most famous example being Dunwich in Suffolk, the ancient capital of the kingdom of the East Angles and a medieval port that rivalled London in size and importance. Waxham is protected from suffering a similar fate by substantial sea defences as can be seen in the above photograph.
Waxham Manor, like the great barn, was built by the Woodhouses during the last quarter of the sixteenth century although the building has been extensively altered over the years. It is now a farmhouse and is reputedly haunted by the ghosts of six members of the Brograve family, all of whom died in battle. It is said that an 18th-century owner of the house once invited them all to dinner.