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Cawston lies 4 miles south-west of Aylsham.

John Betjeman famously said that: 'Lovers of Norfolk churches can never agree which is the best and I think one is either a Salle or a Cawston man' - though ironically his favourite church was actually Walpole St. Peter.

St. Agnes Church Cawston

St Agnes' Church was built in the early 15th-century by Michael de la Pole and has a 119 foot tower of French stone which dominates the surrounding countryside.

The novelist, actor and TV presenter Stephen Fry attended Cawston Primary School for a short period of time in 1965. His family had recently moved to a house in the nearby village of Booton and Fry records his first impressions of the school in his autobiography Moab is My Washpot. Many years later he also opened a fete in the village which prompted him to recall Norfolk fetes from 20-30 years ago. Here is his wonderful description:

'At East Anglian country gatherings there was dwile flonking - now sadly replaced by the more self-conscious urban appeal of welly throwing. There was bowling for a pig - in those days country people knew how to look after a pig, I expect today's average Norfolk citizen if confronted by such an animal would scream, run away and sue. There was throwing the wet sponge at the rector (or vicar - generally speaking Norfolk villages thought it smarter to have a rector than a vicar - I believe the difference is, or was, that the bishop chooses a vicar and the local landowner chooses a rector). There were bottle stalls, bran tubs filled with real bran, Guess the Weight of the Ram for a Penny competitions, coconut shies and tractor or traction engine rides for sixpence.'

Plough Inn, Sygate

God spede the Plow

In the north aisle of St Agnes' is the old sign from the Plough Inn of Sygate - a street to the west of the church - which has an interesting piece of verse:

'God spede the Plow
and send us Ale Corn enow
our purpose for to make
At Crow of Cok
of the plowlete of Sygate:
be mery and glad
wat good ale yis work mad.'

The mystery writer Kate Charles set her 1995 novel Evil Angels Among Them in the fictional village of 'Walston' - which is probably based on Cawston.


More photographs of Cawston





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