|East Harling lies in the
Brecklands a few miles west of
Kenninghall. East Harling
church has an impressive spire which may have provided
the inspiration for the one added to St. Peter Mancroft
in Norwich in the nineteenth century.
St. Peter and St. Paul
The author James
Pattinson was born in the village on December 15, 1915
and he spent much of his life here. He was educated at Thetford Grammar
School and then volunteered for the Royal Artillery in
1939 - transferring to the maritime arm in 1941. He
served at Murmansk in Russia and also carried ammunition
to Normandy for the D-Day landing.
He began writing in 1959 while working as a poultry
farmer and his first novel Soldier, Sail North
appeared in 1954. His third novel The Lost Convoy
became a best seller enabling him to become a full time
writer. In total he wrote 108 books - mainly thrillers -
but he also wrote at least 10 plays for the Harling
Players. He died in 2009 at the age of 93.
One of his novels - Dead Men Rise Up Never
is actually set in the village and features a
denouement by the weir on the River Thet close to
East Harling church.
The historical novelist George MacDonald Fraser was
based in the area during World War II and it provides
the setting for his story Mr America - which
concerns the visit of Mark J Franklin (from Nevada) to
Norfolk in search of his family's roots. The Franklins
come originally from the fictional Lancing Castle which
is located close to Harling Road Station.
A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling by Hans Holbein
Church has a fascinating link with the Dutch
painter Hans Holbein. For many years, art experts have
been baffled by the identity of the lady in Holbein's
picture A lady with a Squirrel and Starling -
but it is now thought that she may have been Anne Lovell
who was the wife of Francis Lovell who inherited the
family estate in 1542.
Some of the Lovell family are buried inside St. Peter
and St. Paul and their coat of arms features three red squirrels.
The starling in the picture is a rebus for East Harling.
The Lovell squirrel is also featured in one of the
church's stained glass windows.