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Archaeological and Local History Society

PUBLISHED: 10:27 16 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:41 06 July 2010

In last week's talk David Butcher described scenes of mishap and misdemeanour that occurred around Lowestoft and its foreshore from Domesday through the early part of the last millennium.

In last week's talk David Butcher described scenes of mishap and misdemeanour that occurred around Lowestoft and its foreshore from Domesday through the early part of the last millennium. A look at ancient records showed that growth of population and levels of taxation were not aligned, perhaps because of creative accounting locally. He then drew on several case histories uncovered in his research into the published calendars of patent rolls, close rolls and fine rolls, copies of which, written on vellum, are retained at the Norwich Records Office. Amongst other items the rolls record the granting of charters, privileges and crown commissions, letters and patents (foreign and domestic), plus royal grants and appointments of royal officers. When transcribed, this heavy-sounding list revealed a period of mystery and intrigue with a population controlled and governed by a set of local characters who might be compared to the mafia of later generations. David outlined the development and migration of Lowestoft town from its early site near Cemetery Corner to the cliff at the top of what became the High Street. Customs officers were then based in Lowestoft and the offences became less frequent. The talk also covered the long running “herring wars” and local rivalry with Great Yarmouth.

The next meeting is Thursday, October 22. Members will meet at the Cine and Camcorder Club Theatre in the Sparrows Nest at 7.30pm.

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