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Tasburgh

Tasburgh lies in the Tas valley, ten miles south of Norwich. Its name derives from 'Taesa's fort' and the earthworks of an iron age fort are still visible on the hilltop close to the church.

In the churchyard of St. Mary's lies the grave of the novelist Malcolm Bradbury who, together with Angus Wilson, founded of the MA Creative Writing course at the University of East Anglia in 1970.

Malcolm Bradbury's Grave

Malcolm Bradbury's Grave

Bradbury was an academic, a literary critic, a TV script writer and a novelist. He is probably best remembered for his novel The History Man (1975) - which featured Howard Kirk a hypocritical sociology professor who worked at the fictional University of Watermouth.

Although Bradbury lived in Norwich (close to the university) he also had a second home at Tasburgh. His headstone bears the epitaph: 'Warm and generous, Famous and friendly, Wise and witty'

Bradbury is often compared to David Lodge (another university English lecturer) - as they both wrote satirical, campus-based novels. Bradbury also adapted two works for TV by Tom Sharpe: Porterhouse Blue and Blott on the Landscape.

Rainthorpe Hall (Photo © www.johnevigar.com)

Down in the valley, next to the river stands Rainthorpe Hall which was built by Thomas Baxter who died in 1611. The hall is occasionally open to the public and, following a visit in spring of 1991, I wrote the following poem about the River Tas:
 

River

You flow endlessly.
Over you your lights are beautiful—luminous and dark, moving and still, broken and whole.

In summer, columns of light—mottled by leaves.
In winter, the bleak light over farmland, the frosted-grey depth.
Today, in spring, lights dancing in and out of shadow—concealing and revealing.

In your course you are infinitely changing—neither crooked nor straight.
You fit your banks.
Running you are beautiful—slow in the deep pools—vociferous and fast in the shallows.

In private land you are hidden.
In public land you are open.
Beneath bridges you reflect back the faces of watchers.

In winter, you fill with water and become clouded.
You race between alders, pound through sluices, tumble over fords.
You wear a sullen expression.

In summer, you slow up and become limpid.
You display your weed in long floating trails.
You glitter past grazing cattle.

Then after long concealment your fish  appear—sparkling-sided, melting and merging, vanishing and visible.

 
 

 

 

 

 

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