On this day from the Norfolk Annals

17th August, 1802
Aug 17 all-day

A duel was fought on Mousehold Heath, Norwich, by Mr Robert Alderson, a well-known barrister, and Mr Grigby.

“The latter conceived he had been unfairly treated in cross-examination by Mr Alderson at the Suffolk Assizes, and, refusing to accept his explanation, sent him a challenge.

“Mr Alderson was attended to the field by Mr Mackintosh and Mr Grigby by Mr Turner. Two shots were exchanged, with no effect than that of Mr Grigby’s first ball passing through the skirts of Mr Alderson’s coat. A cordial reconciliation was afterwards effected.”

26th September, 1818
Sep 26 all-day

The Phenomena day coach was advertised to run from the Angel Inn, Norwich, and the One Bull Inn, Bury, to the Bull Inn, Aldgate, London, in fourteen hours. It set out from Norwich at a quarter to six. The proprietors prohibited racing on the part of their coachman. The rival coach, the Norwich and London Original day coach, started from the Norfolk Hotel every morning at a quarter to seven and ran to the Spread Eagle, Gracechurch Street and the Swan with Two Necks, through Bury, Sudbury, Chelmsford and Romford.

2nd October, 1825
Oct 2 all-day

It was quite a family affair in East Anglia two centuries ago. This excerpt from the Norfolk Annals marks the death of Mrs Hannah Want, of Ditchingham, aged 106. “She was born on August 20, 1720. On the anniversary of her 105th birthday she entertained a party of her relatives, who visited her to celebrate it. She lived to see five generations, and at her death there were living children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren to the number of 121.”2

9th October, 1600
Oct 9 all-day

A brutal duel took place in Norwich. Just outside the city’s Ber Street gates, Sir Robert Mansel and Sir John Heydon set to with rapiers. The result was a severed limb, and a scrap that went down in Norfolk legend.

Heydon was a member of a distinguished Norfolk family, and a supporter of the Earl of Essex. Mansel was a naval captain who had been present at the sack of Cadiz in 1596, an Elizabethan sea dog, and supporter of Queen Elizabeth I.

The cause of their dispute was linked to the waning fortunes of Essex, former favourite of the Queen, who was on his way to rebellion and ultimate execution.

The two men fought on October 9. There were no seconds present. By Mansel’s account it was a vicious battle, which ended with Heydon losing a hand. The severed limb was mummified, and is today in Norwich Castle Museum.

As for Mansel, he was elected MP for King’s Lynn, his naval career went on, and he lived until 1656.

11th October, 1830
Oct 11 all-day

The new Beerhouse Act came into operation. At King’s Lynn “the day was kept as a jubilee by all the devotees of Sir John Barleycorn. Nearly 50 new houses were opened for the sale of beer, and drunkenness, rioting and fighting were prevalent in many of the streets.”

The Act liberalised the brewing and sale or beer, the aim being to make it more popular than cheap, rot gut spirits such as gin. Critics said it led to more alcohol being consumed. Certainly, a lot more pubs opened as a result, many of them named after the reigning monarch of the day, William IV.