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Low Tharston

Low Tharston is a tiny village which lies on the River Tas approximately one mile west of Tasburgh. The name probably derives from 'Therir's enclosure'. Despite its small size, the village has been home to two significant modern poets: Anthony Thwaite and Edwin Brock.

The Mill House

Tharston Mill


Anthony Thwaite (1930 -

In the 1970s the poet and editor Anthony Thwaite moved into the Mill House here along with his wife, the literary biographer, Ann Thwaite. (The Mill House is the pink building in the background.)

It provided them with a refuge from London life and they soon fell in love with the building and life in South Norfolk. Admittedly, Norfolk was not a major influence on Thwaite's poetry, but he did write a fine poem about the lost village of Eccles.

Thwaite was educated at Christ Church College Oxford and held academic posts in Japan, Libya and Kuwait. He was also Philip Larkin's editor and literary executor and Larkin visited The Mill House. In fact, there is a wonderful photograph of Larkin reclining in a punt on the river which appeared in his volume of Selected Letters 1940-1985.

Philip Larkin on the River Tas

Philip Larkin and Anthony Thwaite on the River Tas
(Photograph by Ann Thwaite)

While staying with the Thwaites - Larkin also visited Forncett St Peter - no doubt because of its connection with William Wordsworth.


Edwin Brock (1927-1997)

Originally based at Brundall, the poet Edwin Brock moved into 'The Granary' - next door to the Thwaites - when it came up for sale. Born in South London, Brock worked as a policeman and an advertising executive while pursuing his own poetry. He was also the editor of Ambit for 40 years.

Edwin Brock: Poet

He moved to Norfolk with his second wife Elizabeth Skilton and the landscape and, in particular, the River Tas provided him with inspiration for his work. In 1993 he suffered a stroke and for a number of weeks was unable to speak or remember anything. He gradually recovered his health and spent time convalescing on the north Norfolk coast. The final years of his life proved to be very productive and his final collection And Another Thing (1998) - published posthumously - contains poems that were inspired by locations such as Cromer, Winterton, Burnham Overy Staithe, Wells  and Morston.  Here is the opening verse of his poem The Ghost Dancer:
 

It is surprising to be here, now,
among these people at the end.
Far away, or so it seems, from
anywhere where anything happened.
The tiny river Tas drags its heels
past our windows, barely able
to push aside the willowherb and reeds.
The swans have flown to deeper water
and one pike has cleared the pond.

Unfortunately, Brocks' Norfolk-inspired poems have not received the attention they deserve.
 
Links:

More Edwin Brock Norfolk Photo Locations

 

 

 

 

 

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