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Wiveton

Wiveton lies in the Glaven Valley just inland of Cley-next-the-Sea and Blakeney. Like Cley it was once a port which exported wool to the continent, but in the 17th century the land around the mouth of the Glaven was reclaimed and access to the North Sea was lost.

6 Marsh Lane, Wiveton

Stevie Smith

Stevie Smith

The eccentric poet Stevie Smith (1902-1971) used to spend her holidays in a house on Marsh Lane in the village. (The house lies on a track leading to Wiveton Hall.)

She fell in love with the scenery of the north Norfolk coast and found inspiration for her poetry - in particular The Old Sweet Dove of Wiveton:
 

The gray of this heavy day
Makes the green of the trees' leaves and the grass brighter
And the flowers of the chestnut tree whiter
And whiter the flowers of the cow-parsley.

So still is the air
So heavy the sky
You can hear the splash
Of the water falling from the green grass
As Red and Honey push by,
The old dogs,
Gone away, gone hunting by the marsh bogs.

Happy the retriever dogs in their pursuit
Happy in bog-mud the busy foot.

Now all is silent, it is silent again
In the sombre day and the beginning soft rain
It is silence made more actual
By the moan from the high tree that is occasional,

Where in his nest above
Still sits the old dove,
Murmuring solitary
Crying for pain,
Crying most melancholy
Again and again.


Stevie Smith spent most of her life in Palmer's Green in London where she lived with her aunt. She was one of Philip Larkin's favourite poets.

Wiveton Hall is also thought to have been the inspiration for Meltham House in Jack Higgins' wartime thriller The Eagle Has Landed. The novel, which is set along this section of the Norfolk coast, feattures an attempt by German parartroopers to assinate Winston Churchill.
 

 

 

 

 

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