Mundesley is a charming seaside village which lies on the
North Norfolk coast between
Paston and Trimingham. The
diminutive River Mun enters the North Sea here - passing
through Mundesley Mill which, although no longer
working, was once the only overshot mill in the county.
Mundesley's church - which is tower-less - is perched perilously close to
the cliff edge and may, in time, become another casualty
of coastal erosion.
In 1795 the poet William Cowper
came to stay with his
cousin John Johnson in a house on the High Street. It is
now known as 'Cowper House'. At this stage, Cowper was
suffering from severe depression and it was hoped that
the sea air would help him recover.
Cowper House, Mundesley
Cowper House Mundesley
Unfortunately, however, the air only served to inflame
his eyes - as the following letter to Lady Hesketh
'My walks on the sea-shore have been paid for by swelled
and inflamed eyelids, and I now recollect that such was
always the condition of mine in the same situation, - a
natural effect, I suppose at least upon eyelids so
subject to disorder as mine, of the salt spray and cold
winds, which on the coast are hardly ever less than
While staying in Mundesley, Cowper used to walk along the
coast to Happisburgh where
he visited the Hill House Pub. On
one occasion, he also went by boat to see Happisburgh
Lighthouse - a journey which may have inspired his late,
desolate poem The Castaway.
also immortalised in the Singing Postman's best-known
song Hev Yew Gotta Loight Boy as it provides the
location for his meeting with the cigarette-smoking
Then one day, she went away, I dunt see har no more,
Till by chance, I see har down along th' Mundesley
She wuz there, twice as fair, would she now be trew?
So when she see me passin' by she say 'I'm glad thass
Hev yew gotta loight, boy? hev yew gotta loight?'
Molly Windley, she smook like a chimley,
But she's my little nicoteen gal.
My own poem, Mundesley, recalls childhood
holidays in the village:
We used to walk down the old zig-zag path
To the beach there - loaded down
With wind-breaks and buckets and towels
And set up camp among the concrete blocks
Left over from the last war.
And on that beach, you and I
Would play for hours in the low-tide lagoon,
Pushing our shrimp-nets happily along
Or go off in search of pointed belemnites
That glistened when the tide came in.
And then, late in the afternoon,
After swims between the breakwaters,
We'd return bare-foot to the car -
Its metal still sizzling hot
And in the back seat, we'd half-sleep
As dad drove us back across Norfolk
Under the enormous, dazzling blue skies
Into the gloominess of home.
More photographs of Mundesley