The Civil War Comes to Norwich

The Great Blow: Examinations and Informations relating to the Great Blow in Norwich, 1648 On 24 April 1648 a rioting crowd unwittingly unleashed the largest explosion in seventeenth-century England, detonating ninety-eight barrels of powder in the house rented to Norfolk’s County Committee, very close to Norwich market place. The blast was heard throughout Norfolk and caused damage to many of the city’s buildings. It occurred when the nation was poised on the brink of the Second Civil War. Despite it being such a dramatic moment in Norwich’s history, the episode has been overlooked by many national narratives of the Civil Wars. Norwich is usually considered a strongly parliamentarian city, ‘puritan’ in its sympathies and deep within the powerful Eastern Association, a distant backwater from the theatres of war in which armed royalism presented a military threat. The evidence generated by the ‘Great Blow’ challenges that perception. The subsequent investigation by

Architecture and family life in early-Georgian Norfolk

John Buxton, Norfolk Gentleman and Architect, Letters to his son 1719-1729 Reading other people’s letters is not obviously legitimate, but past collections can fairly be explored to illuminate the lives of individuals and their families. Between 1719 and 1729, John Buxton (1685-1731), a south-Norfolk landowner remembered as a gentleman-architect, exchanged letters with his eldest son Robert (1710-1751). The letters begin when Robert left home as a nine-year-old for boarding school in Suffolk, and end with his graduation from Clare Hall, Cambridge. The collection is complemented by John Buxton’s account of a tour he made in 1720, visiting country houses, and the record of Robert’s visit to Oxford in 1729. This was early-Georgian England, before industrialisation and the development of modern communications. The documents have been published by the Norfolk Record Society as their volume 69, 2005, edited by Alan Mackley, John Buxton, Norfolk Gentleman and Architect. John Buxton, his wife