Literary Norfolk Header and Logo


Colney (pronounced 'Coney') is a small village which lies 3 miles west of Norwich. It stands on higher ground above the River Yare and historically was little more than a cluster of cottages and a Saxon round-towered flint church. Today, there are still relatively few houses but the village is home to the Norwich Science Park (The Food Research Institute and the John Innes), the BUPA hospital, the new Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and the Norwich City Football Club training ground. The link with the football club is commemorated on the village sign

Colney Village Sign

Colney Village Sign (with NCFC logo)

The village, as it existed in the nineteenth century, is beautifully captured in Percy Lubbock's memoir Earlham (1922). Lubbock, who later in life became an art critic and biographer, grew up at Earlham Hall. (The hall is now occupied by the University of East Anglia's law school.)

St. Andrew's Church, Colney

St. Andrew's Church, Colney

In chapter 9 he describes the village and the church:

'Then we wander on towards Colney (be sure to call it Co'ney), which is upon higher ground and is rather more of a village than Earlham. There were scattered old cottages, red and grey, with vines and pear-trees trained about their windows, and presently a big farm to the left of the road; but especially there was the church-tower, soon in sight, which was a curiosity we were proud of. It is one of those round towers of flint, smooth and bare, that are not uncommon in East Anglia, I know; but to our eyes it was rare and strange, and it gave character to a village that otherwise hadn't really very much.'

In chapter 10 - he describes how Colney was at the edge of his known universe as a child:
'Yet the village of Colney always seemed to me slightly foreign and strange. It lay upon the very limit of our ordinary beat; our straggling walks took us no further out into the world in that quarter, as it happened. The road ran on, but so much had always delayed us by the way, in a short mile or so, that it was time to turn round and go home; beyond Colney was the unknown, and Colney itself, I felt was never completely mine.'

Above the church porch there is a fascinating memorial stone to a waggoner called John Fox who lost his life when his horses bolted.

John Fox Memorial, Colney

In Memory of John Fox

The final section wisely states: 'If thou drivest a team be careful & endanger not the Life of another or thine own.'


Read Earlham Online

More photographs of Colney




Supported by Norfolk County Council logoSupported by Norfolk Tourism


Home | About Us | Advertise on Literary Norfolk

©Cameron Self 2007-2014                                                                                                                Hosted by UK Web.Solutions Direct