Description of Norfolk, in 1842


From Barclay's Complete and Universal English Dictionary, 1842

A county of England, lying on the German Ocean; bounded by Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, and Suffolk. It extends 70 miles in length and 40 in breadth. It contains 33 hundreds, 1 city, 32 market towns, and 660 parishes.

The face of this county varies less than in most tracts of equal extent in England. Not one hill of any considerable height is to be seen in the whole county; yet, in most parts, its surface is broken into gentle swells and depressions. At the western extremity is a considerable tract of flat fenny land, which is part of the Bedford Level; and, on the east, a narrow tract of marshes runs from the sea, near Yarmouth, to some distance up the country. Between Lincolnshire and the western extremity, is a broad but shallow arm of the sea, called the Wash.

The south western part is very sandy and light land, not very easy nor profitable for husbandry; but the rest is a good mixed soil, generally very productive in corn of all kinds, mangold-wurzel, turnips, &c. Excellent butter and cheese is made, especially in the marshlands, and is sold in London as Cambridge butter and Stilton cheese. Cattle, sheep, fowls, &c. are abundant. Game and rabbits are too plentiful by far for the farmers. A few bustards yet live in the western parts.

On the sea-coast, herrings and mackerel are caught in great plenty; and Yarmouth, in particular, is noted for the curing of red herrings.

The air of this county is sharp and piercing, which throws the seasons more backward than in other counties under the same latitude; but it is very wholesome, particularly in the inland parts.

Its principal rivers are the Great Ouse, Nen, Little Ouse, Waveney, Wensum, Yare, and Bure. Norwich is the capital. Population, 412,664. It sends 12 representatives to parliament.

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Copyright © Pat Newby.
December 1995.