Tuesday, 5 January 2016

I Will Say Zis Only Once!

On Saturday, we went down to Mundford, and using my book of Norfolk Walks, we had a lovely stroll round Lynford Arboretum. The rain held off, and the ground was OK underfoot. We parked in the main Carpark, just past the Lynford House Hotel. The walk skirts the hotel, and the arboretum is on part of the old estate. Back in the mists of time, the woolly rhinoceros, brown bear and reindeer are believed to have been here.
Then the house was built 150 years ago for Stephens Lyne-Stephens [a millionaitre who had made his money importing Portuguese glass] He had a chapel built in the grounds [from Norfolk flint] for his Roman Catholic wife, ballerina Yolande Duvernay. It was designed by the great Victorian architect Augustus Pugin.
In the twentieth century, under subsequent owners, guests included members of the Kennedy family and Ernest Hemingway. One [Protestant] owner planted tall trees to screen the chapel from view, as he did not like it!
Then more recently, Perry and Croft used the area for filming two popular TV series - Dad's Army, and 'Allo, 'Allo
I did feel as we walked among the tall trees that a Gruffalo might appear at any moment. We found the chapel - it is well screened, we were within yards of it before we saw it.
We had a pleasant conversation with the lady who lives next door in the former priest's house. She said the chapel is Grade 2 listed, and now under the care of the Norfolk Historic Churches Trust - but sadly is rarely open for viewing inside. It is properly called "The Chapel of Our Lady of Consolation" That little chap is carved at the bottom of the buttress beside the door [next to Bob's left foot!]
Back to the car, and we drove down to the Lynford Stag. Forestry Commission workers discovered the life size metal stag when the area was being planted and cleared a few years ago. It belonged to Sir Richard Sutton, former owner of the Hall and Master of the Hunt - it is a 'target stag' and you can still see scars of his shooting practice. Nowadays there is a proper car park and picnic area, and children can play on the giant wood play sculpture nearby.
Finally we drove into Thetford for a sandwich. I somehow feel this town does not make enough of its history - Thomas Paine, political activist, Charles Burrell, Victorian industrialist and engineer, and Captain Mainwaring and his Home Guard, Thetford Grammar School [dating back a thousand years]... They are currently rebuilding at the back of the town centre. Poor old Captain M is sitting on his bench with his back to the river - staring at a building site!

The rain was getting heavier - and we went back to Cornerstones, then had a lovely meal over with Adrian and Marion in the evening. The final event of our 'family Christmas'


  1. OOoh, it does sound really interesting!!! I love the look of that chapel!
    Allo, allo, I think you mean!x

  2. That little chapel looks amazing, such at shame you couldn't peek inside I bet it's beautiful!

  3. You echo my own feelings about Thetford also! I love your Irish blessing in your previous posts - I once put that onto a piece of pottery and it sold in no time - thanks for your kind comment and may 2016 rise up to meet us all!

  4. You are the perfect walk journalist- so much interesting material! Would you believe that the D's A film crew parked up in our church car park for a day or so while they were filming at an old house round the corner?! Can't wait to see the movie just to house-spot!


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