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Norfolk Place-Name Rhymes



Caistor was a city
When Norwich was none,
And Norwich was built
Of Caistor stone.


Rising was a sea-port
When Lynn was but a marsh,
Now Lynn it is a sea-port
And Rising fares the worse.

Rising was, Lynn is, and Downham shall be,
The greatest seaport of the three.
That nasty stinking sink-hole of sin,
Which the map of the county denominates Lynn.
There was a young lady of Lynn
Who was deep in original sin;
  When they said, 'Do be good!'
  She said, 'Would if I could!'
And straightway went at it again.
Gorleston was Gorleston ere Yarmouth begun
And will be Gorleston when Yarmouth is gone.
When the sea comes in at Horsey Gap
Without any previous warning,
A swan shall build its rushy nest
On the roof of the Swan at Horning.
And a bald headed crow, contented and merry,
Shall feast on the corpses that float by the ferry.
Gimingham, Trimingham, Knapton, Trunch,
Northrepps, Southrepps, lie all in a bunch.
When Keswick Church becomes a barn
Bromholm Abbey will be a farm.
He who would Old England win,
Must at Weybourne Hope begin.
Cromer crabs, Runton dabs,
Beeston babies, Sheringham ladies,
Weybourne witches, Salthouse ditches.
The Blakeney people
Stand on the steeple,
And crack hazel-nuts
With a five-farthing beetle.
Blakeney bulldogs,
Morston dodmen,
Binham bulls,
Stiffkey trolls,
Wells bitefingers.
London, Bristol and Coventree,
And the seven Burnhams by the sea.
Pakefield for Poverty
Lowestoft for Poor,
Gorleston for Pretty Girls
Yarmouth for Whores,
Caister for Water Dogs
California for Pluck:
Beggar old Winterton -
How Black she do look!
Halvergate hares and Reedham rats,
Southwood swine and Cantley cats,
Acle asses, Moulton mules,
Beighton bears and Freethorpe fools.
Blickling flats, Aylsham fliers,
Marsham peewits, and Hevingham liars.
Denton in the dale and Arborough in the dirt,
And if you go to Homersfield, your purse will get a squirt.
Blickling two monarchs and two queens has seen.
One king fetched thence, another brought a queen.
Were I in my castle
Upon the River Waveney,
I wouldne give a button
For the King of Cockney.

(Hugh the Bold 1173)

The man in the moon
Got up to soon
To ask the way to Norwich.
The man in the south
He burned his mouth
With eating cold plum porridge.
Norfolk Poems




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