Category Archives: Snapshots from the Archive

The Life of Ellenor Fenn – One Woman: Three Identities.

Lady Ellenor Fenn is listed in the Norfolk Record Office as the wife of Sir John Fenn. He found fame through his work transcribing the 15th century Paston Papers. The first two volumes were published in January 1787 and led … Continue reading

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The Clandestine Marriage of 1774

The Norfolk Record Office (NRO) holds a large series of correspondence of Elizabeth Leathes, formerly Elizabeth Reading, later Elizabeth Peach, but known to her friends and family as Betsy. Part of the Bolingbroke Collection, these letters (BOL 2 link) give … Continue reading

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From Tram Conductor to Chief Inspector: The Police Registers of Great Yarmouth and Kings Lynn

From Norfolk Record Office documents C/PO 1/58 & C/PO 1/46 Brief History of the Police Force The first official police force was the London Metropolitan Police set up by Sir Robert Peel in 1829.  The County and Borough Police Act … Continue reading

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The Ghostly Mystery of Mannington Hall

With the nights drawing in and a distinct chill in the autumnal air, our thoughts turn towards all things ghoulish, ghostly and spectral. If you’re looking for a spine-chilling tale to tell by the fireside on a dark winter’s evening, … Continue reading

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Snuff in 19th Century Norfolk

Snuff, high society’s choice of tobacco inhalation, first appeared in England in the middle of the sixteenth century, along with tobacco imports from America.  Sir Walter Raleigh is usually supposed to have been the first to bring it home to … Continue reading

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Caught Red Handed: Duck Feathers and all!

Looking through the archives can lead to some interesting stories. Take, for example the case of Robert Goffin. He was convicted of larceny at the Norfolk Quarter Sessions in January 1843 .  A contemporary report from the Norwich Mercury newspaper … Continue reading

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‘Too common amongst young people’

These words relate to having sex outside of marriage. They were written in a letter of support, dated 3 May 1760, for a James Lacey of Scarning. The letter is just one of several thousand documents which form the archive, … Continue reading

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Shenanigans in Southrepps: Adultery in the Norwich Consistory Court Depositions

The jurisdiction of church courts used to cover many aspects of human activity. They heard causes, the church court term for cases, on such matters as marriage, defamation and probate. As part of their activity, the courts collected witness statements, … Continue reading

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