Norfolk Tourist Information
Norfolk Tourist Information
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    Norfolk Tourist Information / Towns & Villages

    Burnham Thorpe
    Burnham Thorpe is famous for being the birthplace of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson (born:1758), victor at the Battle of Trafalgar and one of England's greatest heroes.

    An old rhyme: "London, York and Coventree, And seven Burnhams by the sea..." indicates that Burnham once held an important place in the country's economy.

    But the landscape was much altered by the time Horatio Nelson was born in 1758.

    A few centuries before, the sea came much further inland, when the River Burn, now a stream, was a tidal river. Then, some time before 1400, a change in the sea scour off Lincolnshire brought millions of tons of shingle across the Wash, choking the river's mouth.

    Nelson's father, Revd. Edmund Nelson was rector of the Church of All Saints in Burnham Thorpe, and the church can still be seen. The lectern is made with oak from the HMS Victory. There is a small exhibition inside detailing Nelson's career.

    In the village is 'The Lord Nelson' pub which Horatio frequented (it was then known as The Plough Inn). The pub is much as it was in Nelson's day, and you can drink spiced ales and spiced rum.

    Nelson's birthplace, The Parsonage, was knocked down in 1803, but in the old grounds (signposted from the road) you can see the pond that Nelson dug.

    It is probable that Horatio first saw the sea and ships at Burnham Overy Staithe, and may even have learned to sail thereabouts. In his youth, he would ride to Wells, then a busy sea port, where he would watch the ships come and go, and listen to the sailors' stories.

    When raised to the peerage in 1798 he took the title Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe. In 1801 he became Viscount Nelson of the Nile and Burnham Thorpe.

    On May 11, 1804, he wrote: "Most probably I shall never see dear, dear Burnham again, but I have satisfaction in thinking that my bones will probably be laid with my father's in the village that gave me birth. The thought of former days brings all my mother into my heart, which shows itself in my eyes."

    Burnham Thorpe is a small village on the River Burn and near the Norfolk coast. Burnham Thorpe is part of a group of parishes called The Burnhams.

    It lies about a mile to the east of the larger village of Burnham Market, a mile south of the village and tiny port of Burnham Overy Staithe and four miles west of the town and larger port of Wells-next-the-Sea.

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