Book tells tales of medieval north Norfolk port
- Credit: Supplied by Jonathan Hooton
The fascinating history of a thriving medieval port on the north Norfolk coast is explored in a new book.
Jonathan Hooton, 69 and from Norwich, has written This was formerly a port called Blakeney and Cley, which builds on his longstanding interest in the area's maritime history.
Mr Hooton said: "I was always fascinated at how such a little place with small, shallow channels could have once been an important harbour, so I chose it as the subject for my dissertation when I was studying geography at Cambridge."
Mr Hooton's first book on the topic, called Glaven Ports, was published in 1996.
He said: "That book sold out, and I thought it was time I brought out a cut down version with all the important facts.
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"The ports were very important during the time of the sailing ship.
"This was when overland transport was difficult and expensive and you stood a much better chance moving goods by ship. I was also fascinated by how the changing landscape changed the ships themselves.
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"But over the years we got better at reclaiming land and turning it into areas suitable for grazing and growing crops, and that led to the marshes getting silted up. The battles between the landowners and the ship owners I found fascinating."
Mr Hooton said it was the development of the railways in the 19th century that dealt a real death blow to the Glaven ports.
The book covers key dates in the history of the ports from the time of their medieval prominence to their gradual demise by the First World War.
Wars, piracy, wrecks, dramatic rescues and entrepreneurial skills are some of the topics touched upon, along with descriptions of some of the characters who were involved.
There are also details of the remaining traces of the ports that can still be found int the area.
"It's a guide to some of the stories that lie behind these captivating tourist destinations," Mr Hooton said.
The book, published by Poppyland Publishing, is available on Amazon or at The Holt Bookshop.