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Tour Through the Eastern Counties of England Daniel Defoe


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Besides this, they carry on a very considerable trade with Holland, whose opposite neighbours they are; and a vast quantity of woollen manufactures they export to the Dutch every year. Also they have a fishing trade to the North Seas for white fish, which from the place are called the North Sea cod.

They have also a considerable trade to Norway and to the Baltic, from whence they bring back deals and fir timber, oaken plank, balks, spars, oars, pitch, tar, hemp, flax, spruce canvas, and sail-cloth, with all manner of naval stores, which they generally have a consumption for in their own port, where they build a very great number of ships every year, besides refitting and repairing the old.

Add to this the coal trade between Newcastle and the river of Thames, in which they are so improved of late years that they have now a greater share of it than any other town in England, and have quite worked the Ipswich men out of it who had formerly the chief share of the colliery in their hands.

For the carrying on all these trades they must have a very great number of ships, either of their own or employed by them: and it may in some measure be judged of by this that in the year 1697, I had an account from the town register that there was then 1,123 sail of ships using the sea and belonged to the town, besides such ships as the merchants of Yarmouth might be concerned in, and be part owners of, belonging to any other ports.

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To all this I must add, without compliment to the town or to the people, that the merchants, and even the generality of traders of Yarmouth, have a very good reputation in trade as well abroad as at home for men of fair and honourable dealing, punctual and just in their performing their engagements and in discharging commissions; and their seamen, as well masters as mariners, are justly esteemed among the ablest and most expert navigators in England.

This town, however populous and large, was ever contained in one parish, and had but one church; but within these two years they have built another very fine church near the south end of the town. The old church is dedicated to St. Nicholas, and was built by that famous Bishop of Norwich, William Herbert, who flourished in the reign of William II., and Henry I., William of Malmesbury, calls him VIR PECUNIOSUS; he might have called him VIR PECUNIOSISSIMUS, considering the times he lived in, and the works of charity and munificence which he has left as witnesses of his immense riches; for he built the Cathedral Church, the Priory for sixty monks, the Bishop's Palace, and the parish church of St. Leonard, all in Norwich; this great church at Yarmouth, the Church of St. Margaret at Lynn, and of St. Mary at Elmham. He removed the episcopal see from Thetford to Norwich, and instituted the Cluniack Monks at Thetford, and gave them or built them a house. This old church is very large, and has a high spire, which is a useful sea-mark.

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Tour Through the Eastern Counties of England
Daniel Defoe

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