The Moated Grange

A post today to congratulate Elaine Murphy on the launch of The Moated Grange this morning at Diss Publishing Bookshop.


(with thanks to Diss Publishing Bookshop for allowing use of the above photograph)

I am completely biased as I was a behind-the-scenes researcher on the book, but I think it’s a cracking read, telling the story not just of the house, but the people who lived within it, and the context they found themselves in. Not only is it a history of south Norfolk through the history of one house (in between Diss and Harleston), but the story takes us as far as Cambridge, the Fens, and the Inns of London.

The book has been an ongoing project for several years now – in that time I’ve completed a Masters, had my own work published, got married, moved house and held three different full-time jobs (not necessarily in that order!). It is wonderful to see the research in print: you can purchase it from several Norfolk bookshops – and online – and will shortly be able to borrow it through your Norfolk library.

I originally heard of the house as a child. My Great Great Grandfather was born there, and it had been in the Walne family for just under a century, although not always occupied by them. I grew up with tales of the Grove and the Grange in Brockdish which “had ‘W’s on the downpipes”.

It was a surprise to receive an email from Elaine, not long after this website first appeared online. She didn’t know at the time that us Walnes were still ‘about’ in the county. The research has come a long way since then.

I found the journey through the archives absolutely fascinating, and will never forget finding a key phrase in a Brockdish manorial volume which connected three families to the exact same piece of land. It was a great moment, linking together what was previously suspected, to something that could be satisfactorily proved. (At the same time, I found a reference to a Walne cousin, at the Grove, ploughing up the lane to the church and being repremanded. That sounded like something they would do…but that’s another story)

The acknowledgements (below) are very kind, as all the hard work taking research further and visiting archives up and down the country, not to mention all the writing up, story telling and editing, have been done by Elaine herself.

There will be an author talk, question and answer session and book signing at Norfolk Heritage Centre (upstairs at Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library) on Thursday at 2.30pm. All are welcome and it’s a free event.

To finish, I thought I’d post some pictures – I love the drawing of the Grange on the bookshop chalkboard, and here’s me with my copy, so you know what to look out for (the book, not me!) 

My grateful thanks to Elaine for the opportunity not only to visit a former family home, but to contribute to her project.

Hope you enjoy it!  

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