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South Burlingham

South Burlingham is a small village which lies just to the east of Lingwood. The poet Peter Scupham (1933 - ) lives at the Old Hall (an Elizabethan manor house) - which he lovingly restored with Margaret Steward. The work was carried out by the Perry-Lithgow partnership as part of a grant aided programme.

Old Hall, South Burlingham (Photograph by Jim Rowe)

Peter Scupham with Pipe

Scupham moved into the hall in 1990 and in his 1994 collection The Ark - there are a number of poems which deal directly with the work he undertook. In particular, he discovered a number of fascinating paintings on the hall's lime mortar - including some hunting scenes.

Sadness, too, writes white:
Skin upon skin of lime,
nine skins to the long unmaking
for hunters lost in the snow.
Hammocks of dirt and frost
rock from the ghosts of trees
in cold Broceliande.
The room is a dark lantern
and something bays at the moon.
Peter Scupham's partner is a drama teacher and the grounds of the hall are sometimes used to host productions of Shakespeare.

In his sonnet sequence Backwaters: Norfolk Fields the Hungarian-born poet and translator George Szirtes (see Wymondham) also describes the revelation of finding murals in the hall.

A fifteen-eighties mural. A hunting scene
runs right around the room. A trace of Rubens,
Jordaens, a touch, even, of Chinese
in the calligraphic line. Experts clean
the powdery limewash, two PhD students
from the university, anxious to please.

A strange dome appears, out of period
somewhere near the top. Even here
there's something far flung in the code
of a different language, another God
extolling other virtues, a pioneer
morality just waiting to explode.

Flemish brickwork. Devastation. Riders
exploring hidden walls with snails and spiders.




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