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West Dereham

West Dereham lies four miles south-east of Downham Market.

St. Andrew's Church, West Dereham

West Dereham Church

The poet Thomas Tusser (?1524-1580) moved to West Dereham in 1559. He was the author of A Hundreth Goode Pointes of Husbandrie which was published in 1557. The collection was later expanded to become Five Hundred Pointes of Good Husbandry united to as many of Good Huswifery. It was written in verse and was a series of maxims relating to farming and gardening. It also contained many proverbs - some of which we still use today - such as 'sweet April showers'.

The book was written at Cattiwade in the Stour Valley near Manningtree where Tusser had a farm. However his first wife contracted malaria and Tusser was forced to move to Ipswich where his wife died. He then married Amy Moore and moved to Abbey Farm at West Dereham. The farm was located in the grounds of a previous Premonstratensian Abbey which had been founded by Herbert Walter in 1198.

Then did I dwell in Diram sell,
A place for wood, that trimlie stood,
With flesh and fish, as heart would wish:
     but when I spide
That Lord with Lord could not accord,
But now pound he, and now pound we,
Then left I all, bicause such brall,
     I list not bide.

However, he encountered quarrelling landlords here (as recorded in the above verse from his autobiography) and soon after he moved to Norwich. He was impressed by Norfolk's capital, but warned that it wasn't a good place for the poor.
At length by yew, to shore I drew,
Discharging straight both ship and fraight,
At Norwich fine, for me and mine,
     a citie trim:
Where strangers wel may seeme to dwel,
That pitch and pay, or keepe their day,
But who that want, shall find it scant
     so good for him.

With the help of John Salisbury, he joined the Norwich cathedral choir as a lay clerk. Tusser had a been a chorister as a boy and possessed a good singing voice. While in Norwich he also suffered from a bladder complaint which meant that for '138 houres' he did not pass water.

Tusser was buried in the (now demolished) church of St Mildred in the Poultry in London - where his epitaph was as follows:
Here Thomas Tusser, clad in earth, doth lie,
Who sometime made the Points of Husbandry:
By him, then, learn thou may'st, here learn we must,
When all is done, we sleep, and turn to dust:
And yet through Christ to heaven we hope to go,
Who reads his books shall find his faith was so.
More photographs of West Dereham




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