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Martham lies ten miles north-west of Great Yarmouth.

St. Mary's Church, Martham

Martham Church

In his memoir Earlham (see Earlham), Percy Lubbock describes how his great-grandmother lived at Martham Rectory and how, in her spare time, she wrote a novel entitled Earthly Idols. This is how he records it:

'I think she did not write more than one; but one novels makes a novelist, after all, and a novelist she became, she was, she remained. Earthly Idols, two volumes in pink cloth - it was a story of a dreadfully (but justly) afflicted heroine, who set her heart upon idols of clay, who saw them torn from here one by one, and who perished at last, she herself - with a heart, I hope and think, finally chastened and purified - in a storm at sea.'

In the book, Lubbock also provides a rather bleak description of the village in his great-grandmother's day:
'The outer edges of Norfolk can be dreary, in the barer regions towards the sea. You reach Martham after leaving everything else behind, and only then; it is a cluster of cottages round a straggling green, and the diminutive parsonage stands under the morning shadow of a great square church-tower. A gaunt and dilapidated old pile the church must have been, when Earthly Idols was composed in its shadow; and the village had no picturesque attraction. The sea-wind whines, though the sea is not in sight.'


More photographs of Martham

Read Earlham Online





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