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Catfield lies in the Norfolk Broads - approximately 4 miles north-west of Potter Heigham.

The tortured poet William Cowper used to spend childhood holidays at the Old Rectory in the village. The current rectory was built in 1852 - but stands close to the site of the Old Rectory. Cowper experienced some happy times here and once said: 'In all places in the earth, I love Catfield'.

Catfield Rectory

Catfield Church

Catfield Church

Roger Donne, who was Cowper's uncle, was the rector at the time. His daughter Ann subsequently became the recipient of many of Cowper's letters. She remained in Norfolk after her marriage to Thomas Bodham and lived for many years at South Green, Mattishall.

While staying at Catfield, Cowper also made visits to Happisburgh on the Norfolk coast - an area he would return to much later in life when his mental state had deteriorated.

Cowper's mother, who grew up at nearby Ludham Hall, died when he was only 6 years old - an event which had a profound influence on his personality. His grief at the event is recorded in his poignant poem On the Receipt of My Mother's Picture Out of Norfolk.  The picture was sent to him by his cousin Ann Bodham.

It was claimed by Cowper's mother that the Donne family were descended from the poet John Donne (1572-1631).


More William Cowper location photographs




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