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Rollesby lies north-west of Great Yarmouth in the Norfolk Broads.

Rollesby Hall

Research undertaken in the 1980s by the late Bernard Davies of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London has suggested that Donnithorpe Hall in The Gloria Scott may have been modelled on Rollesby Hall.

'Donnithopre is a little hamlet just to the north of Langmere, in the country of the Broads. The house was an old-fashioned, widespread. oak-beamed brick building, with a fine lime-lined avenue leading up to it. There was excellent wild duck shooting in the fens, remarkably good fishing, a small but select library, taken over, as I understood, from the former occupant, and a tolerable cook, so that he would be a fastidious man who could not put in a pleasant month there.'

Davies worked out the location by looking at the Norfolk railway network during the Victorian period and also factored in the speed of horse and buggy transport and the alignment of the sunset.
'We were dashing along the smooth white country road, with the long stretch of the Broads in front of us glimmering in the red light of the setting sun. From a grove upon our left I could already see the high chimneys and the flagstaff which marked the squire's dwelling.'

The Gloria Scott is notable in that it was Sherlock Holmes' first ever investigation and confirmed his interest in pursuing a career as a detective. Holmes narrates the story to Dr Watson and explains how he visited Donnithorpe as the guest of a college friend, Victor Trevor, and how he subsequently uncovered a dark secret about Trevor's father.

Unfortunately Rollesby Hall is no longer standing as it was demolished in 1950.

Norfolk also provided the inspiration for two other Sherlock Holmes locations - namely Cromer Hall which Conan Doyle visited in 1901 and which was the blue-print for Baskerville Hall in The Hound of the Baskervilles and Happisburgh (fictionalised as Ridling Thorpe) which furnished both the plot and the setting for The Dancing Men.


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