Copyright
A. D Bayne.

Royal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) online

. (page 2 of 70)
Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 2 of 70)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


castles, abbeys, jiriorics, churches, monasteries, bishops, and eminent
men.

5. The Twelfth Century, including the leading events in the reigns
of Henry I., Stephen, Henry II., Richard I. ; historic scenes in Suffolk,
state of agriculture, state of society and religion in that century, county
families, and eminent men.

(). The Thirteenth Century, including the leading events in the reigns
of John, Henry III., Edward I. ; eminent men, state of agriculture,
state of society and religion in that century, county families in Eastern
England.



HISTUKY or EASTEKN ENGLAND. 7

7. Tlie Fourteenth Century, including the leading events iu the reigns
of Edward II., Edward III., Richard II. ; industrial progress, state of
agriculture, state of society and religion, county families, and eminent
men of the period.

8. The Fifteenth Century, including the leading events of the reigns
of Henry IV., V., and VI., of the House of Lancaster ; also of Edward
IV., Edward V., and Richard III., of the House of York ; state of agri-
culture, society, and religion, commencement of the Reformation, county
families, a,nd eminent men. It is shown that the Reformation commenced
in England in the fourteenth century, and extended to Eastern England in
the fifteenth century.

9.- The Sixteenth Century, including the progress of the Reformation,
the leading events of the reigns of Henry VII., Henry VIII., Edward VI.,
Mary, and Elizabeth, all of the House of Tudor; stat« of agriculture,
society, and religion, county families, and eminent men of the period.

10. The Seventeenth Century, with the leading events in the reigns
of James I., Charles I., Charles IL, James II., all of the House of Stuart ;
the Commonwealth, the Revolution, state of agriculture, society, religion,
county families, and eminent men of the period. The progress of society
is traced iii the government, laws, legislation, literature, religion, in-
dustry, and trade of the period.

11. The Eighteenth Centmy, including the leading events in the reigns
of George I., George IL, George III., all of the House of Hanover ; the
lives of eminent statesmen. Sir Robert Walpole, Lord Townshend, and
others ; state of agriculture, society, and rehgiou, county families, and
eminent men of the period.

12. The Nineteenth Century, with the leading events in the reigns
of George III., George IV., William IV., and Queen Victoria; sketches
of the progress of agriculture, of society, of religion, literature, science,
and art in Eastern England.

If the history of a nation can be fitly exhibited in the lives of its
eminent men, if the charms peculiar to biography can be transferred to
national annals, and if the unity of purpose so necessary to history can be
imparted to biography, the same may be done in a provincial history of
the Eastern Counties. Therefore, memoirs are introduced of eminent men
and county families in this work. All the memoirs given are grouped



» HISTORY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

togetlier in different periods after tlie Norman Conquest^ forming as many-
distinct epochs in tlio narrative down to the accession of Queen Victoria.
All the eminent men and county families are noticed in the periods when
they flourished, and thus greater interest is conferred on the narrative
of leading events.

These memoirs show not only the characteristics of each epoch,
but the details of the lives of men Avho guided the course of events, and
were instrumental in producing changes in the state of society. These
memoirs are drawn from many sources, and constitute what properly
belongs to the history of each county. There are few eminent, men or
distinguished ancient county families to bo noticed in Esses or Cam-
bridgeshire, compared with the number of those in Norfolk and Suffolk,
and therefore those in the last-named counties are the most prominent in
this work.

Norfolk can boast of the most distinguished historical characters
and ancient families in Eastern England. The Dukes of Norfolk are all
historical, and some of them are identified with the general history of
the country for many ages. They had large possessions in both Norfolk
and Suffolk, and lived in palaces at Norwich and Kenninghall till a late
period. The Jerninghams, Le Stranges, Fastens, "Walpoles, Towns-
hends, Windhams, Cokes, Mortimers, and many others, were historical
characters of rank and station, and filled conspicuous positions in public
life at various times.




HISTOEY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.



NATURAL HISTORY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

When we travel over any district of any extent in this island^ we first
observe its physical features, and the more prominent objects, the moun-
tains, hills, valleys, rivers, and lakes ; but there are few of these remark-
able in Eastern England, which is a vast projection of undulating land,
s]3reading out from London to the North Sea. The whole area, including
the Counties of Essex, Cambridge, Suffolk, and Norfolk, is the largest
level tract of land in Britain, and it is all cultivated like one vast garden,
diversified by woods and plantations, rivers, streams, hills, and dales.

There is a natural history of every country and every district which
should be first investigated. The physical influences which have affected
any people must not be overlooked. What nature has done for the in-
habitants of any country should be an enquiry preceding every other. If
there be any purely natural causes, arising from geographical position,
climate, soil, productions, or other circumstances, they must form the basis
of any history. We may find that in these natural causes and influences,
the history of any people has been pre- determined in a particular direction.

First, then, we find that Eastern England possesses all the advantages of
this island, as to its position, its insularity, and its climate. The district
is in the. temperate zone, and has all the benefit of the Gulf stream, a broad
warm river in the ocean, flowing from the Gulf of Mexico, round Great
Britain. Thus we have here a warmer temperature than we should be
otherwise entitled to in our nothern latitude, for the gulf stream flowing
round our island keeps back the icebergs, which would otherwise come
down upon us and dash against our coasts.

THE GEOLOGY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

Geologists, after exploring a gTeat part of the earth, arrived at the con-
clusion that it has existed in five or six difierent states or conditions, in as
many periods of vast duration, long before the present state of our planet.
These periods were divided into primary, secondary, and tertiary, the last,
though very remote, being as it were only the yesterday of geology. The
special interest of the study of the geology of the eastern district is that
of the tertiary strata. At one time it was thought that the geological
divisions termed Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, &c., represented separate
periods of time, and at the close of each period great changes of the earth
and of its flora and fauna were followed by a new world called suddenly
into existence by the Almighty Creator. But geologists were then



10 iriSTOKY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

groping ill the dark, and now believe that the natural history of our island
is a continuous and unbroken one, and shows a very gradual progress of
nature, the gaps which exist merely arising from the destruction of
physical records in this small part of the earth. The earliest geological
formation, near enough to the surface in Norfolk, for us to know anything
about, is the chalk, the uppermost member of the Cretaceous series in
England. Beginning with the Cretaceous series, we have the Eocene, the
Miocene, and the Pliocene, or the less recent and the more recent forma-
tions. In the Eocene formation we have the London Clay and the Plastic
Clay. In the Pliocene we have the Coralline Crag in Suffolk, the Eed
Crag, the Norwich Crag at Bramerton, the Forest Bed along the coast
from Southwold in Suffolk to Cromer in Norfolk. The chalk extends
under the bed of the German Ocean, and forms the under strata of a
great part of Europe ; and wherever it is found it proves that the land
composed of it was for myriads of ages under the sea, because chalk is
the deposit of marine animalculas in the lowest form of animal life.
There is evidence that at one time, before man appeared on the earth, the
Straits of Dover did not exist, the greater part if not all the bed of the
North Sea was dry land, that into one vast estuary between Norway and
North Britain flowed all the rivers of North-eastern Europe, the Elbe, the
AVeser, the Eliine, the Scheldt, the Seine, the Thames, Ouse, Welland,
Nene, Cam, and Humber. The first proof of this is from what may be
seen in the rivers of the Eastern Counties. The Hivers Yare, Ouse, and
Cam contain bream, roach, and other white fish, and the pike which feeds
on them. Now this class of white fish is peculiar to one class of rivers.
Their principal home is in the rivers of North-eastern Europe. They
must have come into this island by fresh-water streams when the bed of
the Xorth Sea was dry land, and were the original progenitors of the fish
in our rivers in Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire. After these white
fish got into our rivers, the land of this island appears to have been raised
on the eastern side, and the whole of the present bed of the North Sea
was overflowed from the Atlantic Ocean, which spread over the vast jjlain
for 100 miles in breadth from south to north, and floAved in broad arms
up the valleys of Norfolk and Suffolk. Then whole forests were sub-
merged on the Norfolk coast, as proved by the Forest Bed near Cromer.

East Anglia, including Norfolk and Suffolk, is one compact region,
geologically and ethnologically, and forms part of the slope of the North
Sea basin, for the North Sea valley is a true physical depression, compared
with its breadth, and the depth of the North Sea is very small. The
channel running j)arallel with the coasts of Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk
has a maximum depth of only 180 feet, so that a change to that amount
of sea level would lay bare the whole of the sea bed from the coast of



HISTOUY OF EASTERN ENUJAND.



11



Norfolk across to Holland. A depression of 120 feet would extend the
great Germanic plain nearly to our area. A deep submarine trough has
been traced at a mean disttoco of fifty miles from the coast of Norway.

Across the line of greatest depth the change is abrupt. This curious
feature is just what would have been produced by the subsidence of the
whole of the southern portion of the Scandinavian region, together witli
fifty miles of area around to a depth of 600 or 700 feet. There are
good grounds for supposing that such has been the process ; and the
geological history of the basin seems to supply the precise date of the
subsidence in question.

The whole of the eastern district lies in a vast basin of chalk, above
which there is every variety of strata and soil. Above the chalk in Norfolk
and Suffolk, there are extensive beds of crag, which is a name for any
sandy or gravelly soil, but the early geologists soon found that it was
something more ; its very perfect shells were recognised as similar to those
in the neighboring seas in part as foreign or unknown. Mr. Charlesworth
proposed a sub-division of the crag in 1834, and it was amended in 1838
as follows : " Upper Crag of Norfolk and Suffolk, without mammalian
remains; beds with mammalian remains: Red Crag, containing 150 to
200 species of marine shells ; Coralline Crag, containing 300 to 400 marine
shells.^' Thus far back Mr. Charlesworth separated the Norwich Crag
from that of Suffolk. The Eed Crag at Tattingstone, Rumsholt, and
Sudbourne was said to overlie a worn and uneven surface of the White or
Coralline Crag ; and from this consideration their relative dates and ages
was inferred. This nominal sub-division has been adopted from 1838 to
the present time. The Bryozoan Crag overlies London Clay, and is under
twenty feet thick. It is a good division, because it is an indication of a
definite range of depths, where the sea bed was not within reach of surface
disturbance, yet where the drifting power was considerable, and haviug
its own proper fauna, of which the Bryozoa form a very large propojiion.
The examples of this condition of sea bed occur only in Suffolk, where
they are now about forty feet above the sea level. Assigning to these
beds depths of forty fathoms, a difference of 300 feet is the least that can
be assumed as that of their original, compared with their present positions.
It is the lowest condition or the deepest of which our English area offers
any illustration. The Red Crag is a complex assemblage in spite of its
small vertical dimensions. Of all that was so grouped, originally a very
small portion only can now be referred to as such ; namely, the crag at
Walton-on-the-Naze. In this alone is to be found an old sea bed, a
marine life zone, undisturbed since its original accumulation. The Red
Crag beds of the valleys of the Stour, Orwell, and Deben, though referable
to some part of the same general period, are wholly re-arranged beds,



12 HISTOKY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

.and of the later stages of the crag sea. They are, relatively to the
Waltou beds, very shallow water accumulations presenting that diagonal
mode of accumulation in varying directions indicative of surface distur-
bance and tidal movements. Above them in places, and on the land side
of them, are certain accumulations of red coarse sands which have also
been refeiTed to the Bed Crag. The shell gravel of Antwerp corresponds
with the Eed Crag of Suffolk. Additions were subsequently made, as in
the case of the Chillesford Crag of Prestwick and the Bridlington Crag.
With respect to the recognition of the fossil shells of the crag, and the
use made of such guides, M. Deshayes, in 1831, proposed three zoological
groups for the whole of the marine series of formations above the chalk.
The oldest or Nummultic contains a marine fauna wholly extinct. The
middle may be termed older Kainozoic, and it was in this upper or modern
group, Avhich included the sub-Appennine and other continental sea beds,
that the whole jof the English Crag was included as comprising a large
proportion of marine forms.

The Norwich or Fluvio-marine Crag was for many years the subject of
various opinions as to its value and distinctness as a division. It had also
been made to include any bed containing either mammalian or molluscan
remains, or even an admixture of fresh and salt water molluscse, in any
part of Norfolk or Suffolk. General opinion seems now to have come
round to the view which some geologists had long since taken. Mr. S.
Wood, writing in 1865, states that "the Norwich Crag is not geologically
distinct from the Red, but the Fluvio-marine condition of the same period,^'
He considered the Fluvio-marine accumulation in some parts of Suffolk to
be of the same age as that of Norwich. More recently, the Norwich sec-
tions, as at Bramerton, have been subjected to a closer examination; and
according to Mr. J. E. Taylor, a diligent explorer, these admit of a twofold
division. The upper is a coarse and rubbly accumulation, -svith well-rounded
pebbles of flint ; the lower consists of finer sands. A band of white cross
bedded sand intervenes. Such a change in the character of successive
beds would not by itself have been of much importance, but zoologically
the differences they present are much more significant.

In 1819, Mr. Prestwick made known some marine beds in the parishes
of Iken and Chillesford. At Iken, these beds are superposed upon a worn
surface of the older or Bryozoan Crag. There is no such direct evidence
as to their relation to the Red Crags, but there is no doubt that they are
unconformable to both divisions. These beds are in striking contrast to
the true crag in respect of their composition and the condition of the shells
which they contain ; they were tranquil depositions, the bivalves at every
place constantly exhil)iting the two shells in contact, and in the position
in which the animals lived.



HISTORY OF EASTERN ENGLAND. 13

Mr. 0. Fisher, from a careful study of the country from Orford to
Thorpe, convinced himself that the Chillesford Crag was in an interme-
diate position between true Red Crag and the Fluvio-marine Crag at
Thorpe, near Aldborough, in Suffolk. Bridlington Crag was a name given
to a set of marine clay beds occurring at that place, about thirty feet
thick, that overlie an accumulation of chalk flints derived from the subja-
cent chalk.

Mr. S. P. Woodward first directed attention to these fauna beds in his
general list of the Norwich Crag accumulations.

Mr. Trimmer adopted the theory of submergence and emergence, which,
guiding his observation, enabled him to arrange and harmonise all that
confused mass of materials called ''drift.'^ For the whole of the period
and its products, he proposed two groups of drift — a lower and an upper.
He seems to have recognised certain distinctive characters in the lower
drift, which are the indications of the different conditions of accumulation
concerned, such as " the masses of fragmentary chalk with little or no
admixture of other matter," ''^angular fragments slightly worn," &c. The
lower drift overlaid the chalk, except near Norwich, where it had been
designated the Norwich Crag, at its base. Beyond, and on to the coast,
the lower drift is of sand ; above, on the coast section, is a blue till with
boulders, horizontally bedded, passing up into very contorted beds.
These lower sands west of Cromer contain the cUhris of the underlying
lignite beds. In the Nene Valley which joins the Ouse at Lynn is met
with a set of marine depositions of this age. They extend some miles
along its course, and occupied what had been a creek when the whole
of the Bedford Level was covered by the sea. In West Norfolk, near
Lynn, the geological formation is called " the lower or inferior green
sand," usually 100 feet in thickness, frequently of a green colour (whence
its name), but generally of the usual dingy brown and white, like any other
bed of sand. Sometimes it is full of fossil shells, and remains of fishes
are in the vicinity of Cambridge, The quantity of fossils is so great as to
cause some portions of this deposit to be worked for artificial manures.
The coprolite beds occur in the green sand, and their value is well known.
The green sand lies beneath the chalk and rests upon a formation called
the " Upper Oolite."

The inferior green sand commences near Lynn, and trends along the
shore as far as Hunstanton on the coast. It extends inland to a distance
of about four or five miles, and forms a belt bordering the Norfolk side
of the Wash. On account of the softness of this deposit, we find the
country which it underlies chequered by a series of hills and dales,
distinguishing it from the flat tracts which indicate a chalk district. The
upper beds of green sand are composed of " car stones," which are used



1 1 IIISHJUY or EASTERN ENGLAND.

for house building. These car stones lie in the higher grounds, and we may
see the pits dug there from which these flat stones are quarried.

The centre of Suffolk is composed of a substratum of chalk, and the
crag or gravel full of fossil shells is found in the eastern part of the county.
The crag rests on the London Clay, which extends to Southtown and
Yarmouth. When an Artesian well was bored at Lacon's brewery some
years since, the men bored through 300 feet of solid clay, which contained
few shells to distinguish it. After passing through about 320 feet, they
came to the Reading and Woolwich series, formerly called the Plastic Clay,
and it was then determined that the clay was in Norfolk and Suffolk. This
informs us what was the climature of the period, and what was the flora and
the fauna in former ages. It was almost a tropical climate, with a tropical
flora and fauna. The Coralline Crag rests upon the London Clay in
Suffolk, and sometimes on chalk. The Red Crag rests on the Coralline
Crag, and the Mammalian Crag rests upon the Red Crag, which
contains very perfect shells. A considerable interval has elapsed
between the Coralline Crag and the London Clay. For instance, the
upper and middle portions of the London Clay of the Eocene period
have been washed away or never laid down, and thus we have the
Coralline Crag resting on the London Clay. The Coralline Crag-
consists merely of a very indurated mass of beautiful shells cemented
with lime. No mammalian remains have been found as yet in the
Coralline Crag. In this crag the percentage of shells is 52, but it is
much less in the London Clay, so that an enormous interval must have
intervened between them. As soon as coprolite nodules were found in
the Coralline Crag, geologists began to sift it, and then the bones of
animals of the mammalian order were found — the Hippotherium and others.
By this system it was proved that they were in a matrix, differing from
the Red Crag, and which has nothing to do with it. They were washed
out of the London Clay or one of the Miocene formations, and were
probably so destroyed. But in the crag at Bramerton the remains of the
Mastodon and the Hippopotamus have been found, and of these Mr. Roper,
of West Tofts, has a fine collection. The Norwich Crag^ as at Bramerton,
rests on the same kind of crag as that at Aldborough in Suffolk. The
Norwich Crag contains a bed of shells firmly compacted together,
sometimes very friable and sometimes very perfect, breaking out here and
there ; but sometimes we may travel many miles without seeing any shells
at all.

At the bottom of the Norwich Crag there is invariably a bed of lai-ge
stones, and it is in that bed that the most ancient remains of mammals
have been found. The percentage of recent to extinct species is 60 in the
Red , Crag and 89 in the Norwich Crag. Some of the most eminent



HISTOKY OF EASTERN ENGLAND. 15

geologists are of opinion that there is very little difference between the
Eed Crag and the Norwich Crag ; but others, after minute examination,
thought they were very different. Mr. J. E. Taylor, indeed, proved a
great difference between them.

That gentleman found many specimens of the remains of mammals
in the Norwich Crag, which as yet has been very imperfectly worked.
Most beautiful specimens of the Mastodon have been found in the Stone
Bed. A few years since, five teeth of the Mastodon and of the
Elephas, like the Mastodon, were found. Eemains have been discovered
of the lion, the boar, the fox, and several species of the deer, in the
Stone Bed.

The first Mastodon was found in Norfolk by the celebrated William
Smith, the father of modern geology. He was on a visit to Norfolk, and
at Whitlingham he met with a specimen of the Mastodon. He took it to
London and gave it to Cuvier, who said it never could have been found
at so late a period as the Norwich Crag, and that it had been found in
the Miocene. There is an immense difference between the first Mastodon
and the last Elephant, and yet it is impossible to define where one
begins and the other ends. They are a proof of the wisdom of the
Creator, who gave such a plasticity of nature to those animals that they
were able to adapt themselves to changes of climate and changes of
food, and it is in a marvellous manner that the Mastodon gradually grew
into the Elephant. The Rev. J. Gunn found many bones of the Elephant
in the Forest Bed, and he made a collection from it which now occupies
a room in Norwich Museum.

Remains of the Mammoth and of other extinct animals have been found
along the Suffolk coast, especially in Lothingland. Indeed, this part of
Suffolk has afforded several specimens of the Mammoth or fossil elephant,
which geologists believed to be formerly a native of this island before it
was separated from the continent. The upper part of the femur of one of
these animals was taken up before 1826 on a manor belono-ino' to the late
Sir Thomas Gooch, Bart., of Benacre, in Suffolk.

The remains of the Mammoth have been found in all the diluvian beds
of this island, as well as the rest of Europe, generally in a decayed state,
owing to the percolation of water through these beds, which usually con-
sist of gravel and sand. The fragments are never rolled or worn by the
action of water, which proves that they were not brought to us from the
tropics by the current of some great cataclysm, but that the animal lived
to a good old age, and perished on the spot where his remains were
discovered.

The Forest bed near Cromer is one of the most interesting points in
Norfolk geology. It is the proof of a terrestrial surface before the period



Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 2 of 70)