Bottom   :  (B) Potted History   :  Full Contents

Norfolk Tales

Chapter C : The Region

(Paras. 1 to 5)

2. Boundaries   4. Conclusions :  5. Place Names

1 : The Kingdom

The  Iceni Kingdom  has long since been
absorbed into England. Mercifully, much of the
independence of mind  (Do Different)  remains,
and some of the insularity (mental & physical).
An aggravating or "difficult" person is
still termed  ickeny.

The geographical insularity survives, despite a
good? rail service to the Capital, because other
transport links are well below modern standards
(esp. road and rail to the Midlands and North).

[ It is not our present purpose to argue for
closer integration, using better roads or rail;
nor, conversely, for  less  inter-dependence
(via Regional Government) - although such
demands are not mutually exclusive, nor
at all unreasonable !

We have noted instances of both kinds
of influence upon the dialect:-

    (a) Independence (originality?) of thought
          gives : he goo; the booy John;
          and Next Monday.

    (b) Insularity  holds onto archaic forms :
          (durs(t) no(t); he wri(t); do you goo) -
          long after others have abandoned them.

The unique vocabulary (e.g.  dwile)
owes something to both factors.

We have also noted how the mental insularity
is being steadily eroded, both by the "media"
and patterns of immigration.

But it can take generations to change outlooks . . .

2 : Boundaries

Tantalising questions remain:-
    (a) Where exactly was the Iceni Kingdom?
          (i.e. what were its boundaries?)

    (b) What are the limits of the present-day
          East Anglia?

    (c) Why don't they match
          (assuming they don't)?

    (d) How widespread is the "Norfolk" dialect,
          in reality?

Following the excellent example of the "media"
(e.g. with local  place-names - D.2),  we will not
bother to answer  (a)  by doing any historical
research; which avoids answering point  (c)  too.

The "media" companies are probably the most
autocratic and prescriptive on the subject of
where the boundaries should be nowadays.
Nevertheless, it is a very welcome fact that
Anglia TV  is still based in Norwich,
rather than Cambridge or Ipswich.

Most other public or quasi-public bodies are
fairly defensive about their geographical
decisions (partly because they are always
upsetting borderline folk by making changes).
They are usually happy to detail the numbers
and locations of all their major resources
(hospitals, reservoirs, courts etc.) - as "reasons" . . .

This does not alter the fact that these bodies
- almost without exception - are  different
in area and boundary terms; so they cannot
all  be "right" in historical or cultural terms.

As for  (d)  we are taking a "rain-check"
on that too !! Which just leaves  (b) . . .


3 : The Piece Of String

No need to go back to the Romans, to see the
Region in clear perspective - except that
Colchester  must fall outside the region,
given  Venta Icenorum  (Caister-on-Sea)
and other settlements to the North
[of Colchester, that is].

Before the railways, and before the Dutch
engineers drained the Fenlands, will do nicely.

Main Rule  (repetition of) :-
"West of Downham Market is North of Norwich".

After the railways, a later Main Rule
does just fine :

    "Norfolk is cut-off -
    to the N. and E. by the sea;
    to the S. and W. by the
    London and N. Eastern Railway".
If your only practicable land crossings lie to
the south (or south-west?), you have to go
South(ish) in order to turn North or West.

Sadly, Dutch engineers notwithstanding
(or with drowning), little enough has
changed on the transport front.
A train-journey to London is usually the
precursor to going anywhere else - adding
time and expense.

4 : Conclusions

    First Conclusion :-
    The region does not extend westwards
    beyond the Marshlands.
The  Isle of Ely  isn't called that for nothing!

So really only "Silly Suffolk" stands between
"us" and the rest of the UK land-mass.
Perhaps this is why our ancestors so readily
took to the seas . . .

Which just leaves the question :
how far south of Ipswich before
you become a  Cockney?

Well,  elsewhere  (D.1) I have indicated zero
miles; which I will now graciously modify to
50% of the Ipswich to Colchester distance.
Ungraciously I will not attempt the calculation,
as I am pretty sure the difference between

  • that 50% distance and
  • the distance from Ipswich
    to the Suffolk/Essex border,
is quite footling.
    Conclusion Two :-
    East Anglia is only Norfolk and Suffolk
      (at a pinch).
There - I've actually  said it !!
(But poor old Essex used to be partly inside
the fold, until swamped by overspill from the
Great Wen).

For anyone still in doubt, I recommend
a visit to the  Sutton Hoo  exhibition centre.

5 : Place Names

Some of these are simply mis-pronounced by
"foreigners". Others depart so radically from
the written (signpost) form, that strangers can
be forgiven.

The following is very far from an exhaustive list.
See below.

Acle : Aircl
Alburgh: Arbrugh
Cley : Cly (as in buy)
Costessey : Cossey
Garboldisham : Garbleshum
Great (or Little) Hautbois : Gri(t) Hobbus
Happisburgh : Hairsbrugh
Hunstanton : Hunstun
Panxworth : Parnser
Postwick : Pozzick
Raveningham : Ranningum
Sheringham : Sherranum
Stiffkey : Stukey
Wymondham : Windum
Sheringham inhabitants are known as "Shannocks" - maybe as in Chapter I, para. 4 ???
Top   :  (D) The Land