Literary Norfolk Header and Logo


Northwold lies in west Norfolk - approximately ten miles south-west of Swaffham.

John Cowper Powys (1872-1963), the eldest of the Powys brothers, used to spend his summer holidays with his grand parents in the rectory at Northwold.

John Cowper Powys

Northwold Rectory

Northwold Rectory

The Breckland landscape provided him with the setting for the start of his famous novel A Glastonbury Romance (1932). John Crow arrives at Brandon station in order to attend the funeral of Canon William Crow (a thinly disguised version of his grandfather) - who is rector at Northwold.

Northwold Church

St. Andrew's Church, Northwold

The novel also contains a beautiful description of the River Wissey - a chalk stream which flows out of Norfolk and onto the fens where it eventually joins the the Great Ouse. John rows down the Wissey (starting at Foulden Bridge) with his cousin Mary and the couple later get married in Glastonbury.

'The river weeds below the tide that bore them on, gleamed emerald green in the warm sunshine. Across and between the weeds, darted shoals of glittering dace their swaying bodies sometimes white and sometimes slippery black as they turned and twisted, rose and sank, hovered and flashed by. Beds of golden marigolds reflected their bright cups in the swift water; and here and there, against the brownish clumps of last years reeds, they caught passing glimpses of pale, delicate-tinged cuckoo flowers.'

The novel, which is widely regarded as Powys' best work centres upon Arthurian grail legends.

Powys also used to stay in Norfolk with his maternal grand parents at Yaxham - so he was very familiar with the county.





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