The Great Cley Floods 12
Later that evening Mary approached Martin. “I know you don’t believe my story, but if there was some way of proving it was true, would that convince you?”
“I don’t know how you can prove something about people who lived 100 years ago. Are you thinking of having a séance?”
“I’ve been talking to Miss Starr. I forgot to tell you that I made a list of the names that Rebecca Jackson mentioned, and put it in my trouser pocket. I found it today and mentioned a few of them to Miss Starr. Some of the names were the same.”
“That is very interesting. Can I see your list?”
He looked slowly and carefully at the list, and said, “Well, they are fairly common names, and it all could just be a coincidence. There probably were Gardners living in Cley in 1853 but they had nothing to do with us.”
“I just thought of something. If I found a book, one that I had never read, and it substantiated the evidence that I was given that night that might be proof that you would believe.”
“Well, it would be interesting all the same. How do you intend to go about doing this research?”
“Well, I would think that Norwich must have books about what happened in Cley one hundred years
ago. I don’t know what they would be called, but perhaps I could write to the Norwich Library and ask for their help. I don’t need to say why I want the information.”
“I don’t see how it can hurt, and if it makes you happy, then certainly do it.”
So early the next morning, Mary wrote off the Norwich Library, asking if they could tell her how she
might go about finding out what was happening in Cley 100 years ago and who the people were who lived in the various homes.
Several weeks passed and Mary had almost given up hope of hearing from the Library when she
received a letter.
“Dear Mrs. Gardner,
Thank you for your letter of May 10th instant. I hope I can give you some answers to your questions. First of all several books were published about Cley at the time you mentioned. I have listed them here.
Bloomfield F, An essay towards a topological history of the County of Norfolk Vol 9 2ndEd.
by Charles Parking, London.
Cozens-Hardy, E. “The Maritime Trade of the Port of Blakeney which includes Cley and
Mr. Cozens-Hardy has also written a number of other books which might be of interest to you about the Glaven Valley and Topographical Notes and Havens in North Norfolk.
And there is Mary Hardy’s Diary.
We also have the National Records Office books on Cley next the Sea Parish Registers. There are also some letters from the Customs and Excise departments at that time that mention Cley. We also have a book called, Harman J, Account of wrecks and disasters that have taken place on the North Norfolk Coast since 1850 from the National Maritime Museum and Williams N.J, The
Maritime Trade of East Anglian Ports 1550-90,
Unpublished D Phil thesis, Oxford.
We do have copies of the Norfolk and Norwich Historical Directories which cover that period, but not all of them mention Cley specifically. We also have the 1869 Post Office Directory of Cambridge, Norfolk, Essex and Suffolk, and the 1839 Directory by Pigotts. In these you will find Cley people mentioned who were in trade, but also the clergy and landed gentry.
We have very little room in our library for records, only one strong room and a basement dungeon.
Some of our records are stored at the castle and Norfolk Council Council do keep some records too. We do have an incomplete electoral register from 1830 and also Poll Books to 1865. You would of course have to search these yourself and I cannot guarantee that the names you are searching for will be included.
If you could manage a trip to Norwich, please let me know and I will attempt to secure these books
or records for your investigations.
Mrs. J. Oltman, Librarian,
Mary couldn’t wait for Martin to come home that night. “Look at my letter,” she said pushing it
under his nose. “I can find out who lived here. I can verify what happened to me. I must go to Norwich to look up this information. Please say I can go.”
Martin looked at her list. “There are Cozen-Hardy’s who live in Letheringsett, that big house on the corner that juts into the road. Why don’t you go there first and find out if they are the right ones? It would save you a lot of work.”
“I will do that, but they won’t have copy of the historical registers, and that is what is going to have names of the people that I want to find, so I think I must go to Norwich first. But I will follow up your suggestion later.”
Martin thought it was all a likely goose chase, but he knew that Mary would hold it against him
if he refused her the chance to prove her point, so he agreed. It would have to be in holiday time, so that he could look after the children. Mary was very advanced in her pregnancy, but was very
determined that this was something she needed to do.