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Tour Through the Eastern Counties of England Daniel Defoe


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From High Suffolk I passed the Waveney into Norfolk, near Schole Inn. In my passage I saw at Redgrave (the seat of the family) a most exquisite monument of Sir John Holt, Knight, late Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench several years, and one of the most eminent lawyers of his time. One of the heirs of the family is now building a fine seat about a mile on the south side of Ipswich, near the road.

The epitaph or inscription on this monument is as follows:-

M. S.
D. Johannis Holt, Equitis Aur.
Totius Anglioe in Banco Regis
per 21 Annos continuos
Capitalis Justitiarii
Gulielmo Regi Annoequr Reginae
Consiliarii perpetui:
Libertatis ac Legum Anglicarum
Assertoris, Vindicis, Custodis,
Vigilis Acris & intrepidi,
Rolandus Frater Uncius & Hoeres
Optime de se Merito
Die Martis Vto. 1709. Sublatus est
ex Oculis nostris
Natus 30 Decembris, Anno 1642.

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When we come into Norfolk, we see a face of diligence spread over the whole country; the vast manufactures carried on (in chief) by the Norwich weavers employs all the country round in spinning yarn for them; besides many thousand packs of yarn which they receive from other countries, even from as far as Yorkshire and Westmoreland, of which I shall speak in its place.

This side of Norfolk is very populous, and thronged with great and spacious market-towns, more and larger than any other part of England so far from London, except Devonshire, and the West Riding of Yorkshire; for example, between the frontiers of Suffolk and the city of Norwich on this side, which is not above 22 miles in breadth, are the following market-towns, viz.:-

Thetford, Hingham, Harleston,
Diss, West Dereham, E. Dereham,
Harling, Attleborough, Watton,
Bucknam, Windham, Loddon, etc.

Most of these towns are very populous and large; but that which is most remarkable is, that the whole country round them is so interspersed with villages, and those villages so large, and so full of people, that they are equal to market-towns in other countries; in a word, they render this eastern part of Norfolk exceeding full of inhabitants.

An eminent weaver of Norwich gave me a scheme of their trade on this occasion, by which, calculating from the number of looms at that time employed in the city of Norwich only, besides those employed in other towns in the same county, he made it appear very plain, that there were 120,000 people employed in the woollen and silk and wool manufactures of that city only; not that the people all lived in the city, though Norwich is a very large and populous city too: but, I say, they were employed for spinning the yarn used for such goods as were all made in that city. This account is curious enough, and very exact, but it is too long for the compass of this work.

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Tour Through the Eastern Counties of England
Daniel Defoe

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