Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Dereliction of Norwich Castle

Norwich Castle as it appears today - re-faced with Bath stone
during the 1830s restoration. 

John Kirkpatrick (1687-1728)...

Rummaging through my various notes on Tuesday last, I happened upon this interesting letter that I transcribed some years ago from an archive held at the Norfolk Record Office. Those with an interest in the antient county of Norfolk remain much indebted to the archival endeavours of the Eighteenth century antiquarian/historian, John Kirkpatrick. Whilst it remains an aching regret that so much of his excellent work has been lost, we are still most fortunate for that which survives to provide insight into a lost world. Here is one such instance - a letter recorded by him around the year 1725. 

Letter to the King...

Letter by Edmond de Thorpe, Sheriff on Norfolk & Suffolk, to King Edward III, 1371 
[Source: John Kirkpatrick's Notes, NRO, RQC 368, 491x3]

'To our most redoubted Lord the King & his good Council. Edmond de Thorpe, Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, showeth that whereas our said Lord the King hath committed to him by reason of his office the Custody of the Castle of Norwich, the which Castle is so consumed and spoiled in the houses & habitation as well as in the walls, timber, lead as also in other things, so that no man can dwell in it for the safeguard of the Castle, nor reside for any other occasion[my emphasis]. Wherefore may it please our said Lord the King to assign some certain person in whom he can confide to survey the said Castle - & the defaults of it. And, moreover, to enquire in whose time & by whom & by what default the said Castle is thus consumed & spoiled, and by whom the stones, timber and lead, & other things of the said Castle have been broken down, carried & conveyed away, so that Edmond for his time may bear no other blame nor charge than what of reason he ought.'

Translation: 'Some thieving bastards have nicked everything and it wasn't me governor!'

~ Munro Tweeder-Harris Esq. ~

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