What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk
THE BIRTHPLACE OF NELSON
=How to get there.=–Train from Liverpool Street or St. Pancras. Great Eastern Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Burnham Market (1 mile from Burnham Thorpe). =Distance from London.=–122 miles. =Average Time.=–Varies between 3-3/4 and 4-1/2 hours.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 19s. 10d. ... 10s. 3d. Return 34s. 0d. ... 20s. 4d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"Hoste Arms” at Burnham Market.
Burnham Thorpe, the native village of the great Admiral Nelson, is within walking distance of either Holkham, Burnham Market, or Wells-next-the-Sea. Horatio Nelson, the fourth son of Edmund and Catherine Nelson, was born on September 29, 1758, at the Parsonage House, which has unfortunately been pulled down. There are, however, many interesting relics of Nelson in the village church, and it is interesting to see the surroundings among which Nelson’s childhood was passed. In the parish register may be seen the signature of Nelson as a witness to a marriage in the year 1769, when he was eleven years old. There is a lectern constructed from the wood of the old Victory, which was presented by the Lords of the Admiralty in 1881. The old Purbeck marble font in which Horatio was baptized is still to be seen in the church. How much Nelson loved his native village can be understood from his remark as the Victory was going into action, “This is the happiest day of my life; what a happy day, too, for Burnham Thorpe, for it is the day of their fair.”
Nelson’s father was not by any means well off, and the question of providing for his sons was a very serious one. Horatio, however, solved the question as to his own career. At the Grammar School at Norwich, Nelson said to his brother, “Do, William, write to my father and tell him that I should like to go to sea with Uncle Maurice.” Captain Maurice Suckling is said to have heard of Horatio’s decision with some surprise, for he said, “What has poor Horatio done, who is so weak, that he, above all the rest, should be sent to rough it out at sea? But let him come, and the first time we go into action a cannon-ball may knock off his head and provide for him at once.”
In January 1771, when at school at North Walsham, Nelson heard that he was to join the Raisonnable, of 64 guns, at Chatham. He was then only twelve years old.
[Illustration: G.W. Wilson & Co. BURNHAM THORPE CHURCH.
It still contains the old marble font in which Nelson was baptized.]