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Kenninghall lies a few miles east of East Harling. The name is probably a corruption of 'Cyning-Halla' meaning King's Hall.

Kenninghall palace was originally the home of the Dukes of Norfolk before it was seized by Henry VIII and given to his daughter. Today, all that remains of the Palace is a rectangular earthwork. Kenninghall also has links with Queen Boadicea who may have lived at Candle Yards. It is also possible that Boadicea (Boudicca) is buried in a hill at nearby Quidenham.

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (?1517-1547) was probably born at Kenninghall Place - part of the original Palace. Howard, along with Sir Thomas Wyatt, played a vital role in pioneering the use of the sonnet in English. Both poets studied Italian sonnets - such as those by Petrarch. Howard also innovated the use of blank verse in his translation of the Virgil's Aeneid.

Howard was executed on the charge of quartering the royal arms and is buried in Framlingham Church in Suffolk. Howard also has links with Surrey Street in Norwich - where his father built 'Surrey House' - the site of which which became the location for G. J. Skipper's grand Norwich Union building.

Kenninghall Church

St. Mary's Church Kenninghall

In 1906 Virginia Woolf, who was staying at nearby Blo' Norton Hall, cycled to Kenninghall in search of a Saxon burial ground. However, she couldn't find the site and ended up visiting St. Mary's churchyard instead. Here is the entry from her journal:

'Yesterday, I took a bicycle ride to a place called Kenninghall. We will not talk about the bicycle; or there would be no time to deal with the church & the village, & some aesthetic outrage also would be committed on our senses. Now Kenninghall is famous in the Ordnance map for a Saxon burial ground: & readers of Jefferies will take their chance of a bask upon such smooth turf. But at Kenninghall the Christian church alone was obvious; the curiously moulded tower, with its gilt clock, showed itself most decorously gray against the soft plumage of the trees.

Headstone in Kenninghall Churchyard

Virginia Woolf was here in 1906

One of the epitaphs in the churchyard caught her eye and it belonged (we are told) to a Mrs Susan Batt: 'She nothing took that plainness could not get/ And most abhored the running into debt.' The headstone lies close to the church door and the epitaph is still readable today - however the stone actually belongs to a Sarah Lusher.





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