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East Harling

East Harling lies in the Brecklands a few miles west of Kenninghall. East Harling church has an impressive spire which may have provided the inspiration for the one added to St. Peter Mancroft in Norwich in the nineteenth century.

St. Peter and St. Paul East Harling

The author James Pattinson was born in the village on December 15, 1915 and he spent much of his life here. He was educated at Thetford Grammar School and then volunteered for the Royal Artillery in 1939 - transferring to the maritime arm in 1941. He served at Murmansk in Russia and also carried ammunition to Normandy for the D-Day landing.

James Pattinson

He began writing in 1959 while working as a poultry farmer and his first novel Soldier, Sail North appeared in 1954. His third novel The Lost Convoy became a best seller enabling him to become a full time writer. In total he wrote 108 books - mainly thrillers - but he also wrote at least 10 plays for the Harling Players. He died in 2009 at the age of 93.

One of his novels - Dead Men Rise Up Never - is actually set in the village and features a dramatic denouement by the weir on the River Thet close to East Harling church.

The historical novelist George MacDonald Fraser was based in the area during World War II and it provides the setting for his story Mr America - which concerns the visit of Mark J Franklin (from Nevada) to Norfolk in search of his family's roots. The Franklins come originally from the fictional Lancing Castle which is located close to Harling Road Station.

A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling by Hans Holbein

East Harling Church has a fascinating link with the Dutch painter Hans Holbein. For many years, art experts have been baffled by the identity of the lady in Holbein's picture A lady with a Squirrel and Starling - but it is now thought that she may have been Anne Lovell who was the wife of Francis Lovell who inherited the family estate in 1542. Some of the Lovell family are buried inside St. Peter and St. Paul and their coat of arms features three red squirrels. The starling in the picture is a rebus for East Harling. The Lovell squirrel is also featured in one of the church's stained glass windows.

More East Harling Photographs




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