The MadGang Do Winterton-On-Sea And Visit A Brewery

Tuesday was the windiest day I have ever camped in. It was like being in a storm at sea and sitting in the caravan was actually quite frightening. Needless to say we did not walk far that day. However, the weather on Wednesday was forecast to be more clement, especially in the morning. So we set out early and headed for the coast.

Winterton-on-Sea is an ancient fishing village some eight miles north of Great Yarmouth. It has around six hundred and fifty houses and fifteen hundred inhabitants. The hazardous nature of the coastline at Winterton is marked by its lighthouse whose history extends from James I to the First World War.

Between 1851 and 1861 a number of Winterton families migrated south to Caister-On-Sea. Many of those families joined the Caister Beachmen and founded arguably the basis of the modern lifeboat service. The most notable of these men was James Haylett.

Looking over the dunes towards the village of Winterton-On-Sea and Holy Trinity and All Saints, its parish church.

Holy Trinity dates from the middle of the fifteenth century (maybe) and is one of several churches along the Norfolk coast whose towers were intended and maintained to serve as a landmark from the sea which explains why the tower is so large and out of proportion to the rest of the church building. The sea of graves around the church include a number for people drowned at sea, or killed in accidents on boats. One, to two brothers aged fourteen and fifteen, is particularly heartbreaking. Inside the church, at the west end of the aisle, is another poignant memorial. It is in "Proud and Loving Memory of Clarence Albert Pratt Porter, Rector of this Parish" and it records that he gave his life rescuing one of the choirboys from drowning on Winterton beach, July 7th 1932. He was just 47 years old. (Norfolk Churches)

Winterton Lighthouse behind the Hermanus holiday camp; a popular holiday destination, complete with restaurant, bar and thatched accommodation referred to locally as "roundhouses." These unusual buildings were inspired by a previous owner's trip to Hermanus Bay in South Africa.

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The picturesque ruins of Saint Mary's Church, East Somerton. the substantial remains of a fifteenth century perpendicular church. St Mary's survived the Reformation, but the parish was subsumed into that of neighbouring Winterton, and it operated as a chapel of ease to the local hall until the seventeenth century Commonwealth, before falling into disuse. It is likely that the chancel was lost and in ruins even before that, and probably this accelerated its demise. There is no trace left of the chancel at all. (Norfolk Churches)

Looking south along the beach at Winterton Ness. This area was described by Daniel Defoe during the first of his trips for his account "A tour thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain."

Looking north along the beach at Winterton Ness.

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Quiz and Delphi go crazy on the beach.

Approaching Winterton-On-Sea along the dunes from the north.

When Mrs MP and myself first started visiting the county of Norfolk together, some thirty years ago now, the area was a real ale desert. The only beer generally available was the pish brewed by Watney's Mann who owned most of the pubs at that time. There were a couple of real ale breweries in Suffolk (Adnams and Tolly Cobbold) but, as far as I can remember, no similar enterprise in Norfolk. Then a miracle occurred. In a small industrial unit in the village of Drayton, two enthusiastic home brewers, Ray Ashworth and Dr David Crease, started a micro-brewery which they named Woodforde's Brewery, after Parson Woodforde, a noted eighteenth century Norfolk clergyman whose diaries reveal his passion for good food and good ale, which he often brewed himself. Once we discovered it we would drive miles across the countryside to visit the few pubs that sold their ambrosian product. So good was their ale (in 1990 they won the Camra award for ‘New Breweries Champion Beer of Britain’ for their Wherry Bitter which they followed by winning the ‘Champion Beer of Britain’ award for 1992/93), and with absolutely no competition, Woodforde's Brewery went big very quickly and they had to move to larger premises in Slad Lane in the village of Woodbastwick, also in Norfolk. At the brewery there is a shop and the brewery tap, the Fur and Feather pub. On most of our vists to Norfolk we make a pilgrimage to this shrine to the rebirth of proper beer in East Anglia. This year was no different.

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Woodforde's Brewery and Tap on a rainy day in May, 2015.

Woodbastwick is a quaint estate village with an attractive green surrounded by thatched, redbrick cottages. It is located on the River Bure between Cockshoot Broad and Salhouse Broad, within The Broads National Park and close to Bure Marshes national nature reserve. The city of Norwich lies just over six miles to the south-east.

Its name relates to bast, a pliable substance found under the bark of the lime tree. Danish and Saxon invaders used bast as a form of binding to tie leggings and other items. As a consequence, Woodbastwick's village sign shows two invaders tying their leggings.

The estate belongs to Woodbastwick Hall, the seat of the Cator family (richus bastardi).

The village pump, on the green, Woodbastwick.

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Thatched cottage on Woodbastwick green, with motto.

You can rent Church Farmhouse, in Woodbastwick, from the first of July onwards for a mere £1800 per calendar month if you so wish.

Woodbastwick parish church is the only one in the country to be dedicated to both Saint Fabian and Saint Sebastian. Woodbastwick was the home of Anglo-Catholic enthusiasts, the Cator family, and in the 1870s they paid for a massive rebuilding here. There had been a stump of a tower, and the nave had rather attractive stepped gables, which have been retained, as has much of the window tracery. The budget was a massive five thousand pounds, about a million in today's money. (Norfolk Churches)

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Uninspiring Victorian stained glass above gorgeous reredos.

I assume that this memorial is for a member of the late Queen Mother's family.

Superb art nouveau war memorial.

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Crucifix above screen.

Saint Fabian

Quite right! You've got to keep those pesky fisherman and cub scouts out.
You don't want to catch fishy boy cooties.


The MadGang Do Winterton-On-Sea And Visit A Brewery — 3 Comments

  1. Once again … perfectly serene surroundings … Thx

  2. “Its name relates to bast, a pliable substance found under the bark of the lime tree.” Is this the citrus tree (which I didn’t think could grow in your cold climes), or some other kind of “lime tree”?

    Happie Doggiez!

    Beautiful church, but Jesus is a little blond & pasty for my tastes (no offense to the blond&pasty parishioners! ;-p)