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Merton is a village lying in the Brecklands - a couple of miles south of Watton.

Merton Old Rectory

The poet and translator Edward FitzGerald (1809-1883) died in the Old Rectory at Merton (actually located in nearby Thompson) in 1883 while visiting his friend George Crabbe (the grandson of the poet). However, his body was taken back to Suffolk and is buried in Boulge churchyard next to other members of his family. FitzGerald visited Merton every summer  - a journey of sixty miles from Woodbridge - which involved him in five station changes and took the whole day. The rectory is now known as Silver Dale.

Fitzgerald is best remembered for his free translation of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.

Edward FitzGerald

Edward FitzGerald

Chapter 8 of W.G. Sebald's book The Rings of Saturn is devoted to FitzGerald. Here is the section relating to his death:

'At Merton Crabbe met him from the train in his dog cart. It had been a long and especially hot day, but FitzGerald remarked on the cool air and remained wrapped tight in his plaid as they drove. At table he drank a little tea but declined to eat anything. Around nine he asked for a glass of brandy and water and retired upstairs to bed. Early next morning, Crabbe heard him moving about his room, but when he went somewhat later to summon him to breakfast he found him stretched out on his bed and no longer among the living.'

More photographs of Merton

Edward FitzGerald's Grave





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