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Buxton

Buxton lies on the River Bure approximately 4 miles south east of Aylsham. The name derives from a 'buck deer' enclosure.

The village has a strong connection with Anna Sewell, the author of Black Beauty.

Anna Sewell Portrait

Portrait of Anna Sewell

Dudwick Park in Buxton was almost certainly the inspiration for 'Birtwick Park' in her famous children's story. The original house has been demolished - but the park and a new house still remain. There is a footpath which leads from the Black Lion Pub in the village (towards Hevingham) which takes you through the heart of the estate.

Dudwick House and Park

Dudwick Park and House Today

Dudwick House was originally owned by Anna's uncle John Wright and her brother Philip inherited it in 1856. The Sewell family also owned nearby Dudwick Cottage. Below is a fascinating black and white photograph of the Sewell family in the garden of the original Dudwick House.

Sewell Family at Dudwick House

Anna learned to ride while staying with her grandparents who owned a farm on the Dudwick estate. Here is an extract from chapter 4 of Black Beauty which describes the fictional Birtwick Park:
 

'Squire Gordon's park skirted the village of Birtwick. It was entered by a large iron gate, at which stood the first lodge; and then you trotted along on a smooth road between clumps of large old trees. Soon you passed another lodge and another gate, which brought you to the house and gardens. Beyond this lay the home paddock, the old orchard, and the stables. There was accommodation for many horses and carriages; but I need only describe the stable into which I was taken. This was very roomy, with four good stalls. A large swinging window opened into the yard; this made it pleasant and airy.'


Anna Sewell Gravestone

Anna Sewell's Gravestone


Anna was buried at the Quaker Chapel in nearby Lamas. The chapel has now been turned into a house - but her gravestone has been mounted into a wall by the roadside. She was originally buried among the yew trees at the back of the chapel. Anna died a year after Black Beauty was published and so never lived to see how popular it would become - its sales equalling even those of Charles Dickens.

See also Great Yarmouth, Norwich and Old Catton.
 

Links:

More photographs of Anna Sewell locations in Norfolk

 

 

 

 

 

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