New wonder women website puts Northrepps’ unknown Benanna alongside Boudicca and Delia



A little-known independent woman of her time from north Norfolk is featured on a new website which promotes and celebrates the role women have played in the history of the county.

Delia Smith

Delia Smith - Credit: Andrew Partridge

Benanna Summers from Northrepps, who was widowed at the age of 25 in 1850, went on to work as a farmer, grocer and laundress to support her three children.

She appears alongside more famous characters ranging from Queen of the Iceni Boudicca and TV cook and Norwich City Football Club shareholder Delia Smith.

They are among dozens of biographies on the Norfolk Women in History Timeline, which is an ongoing project designed to encourage people to find out more about some of the well-known and not-so-well known women who have links to Norfolk.

Benanna Summers lived from 1825 to 1884. Records show Benanna was the daughter of farm John Golden and his wife Elizabeth and was baptised on January 17 1825 at Northrepps.

She married Edmund Summers, described as a 'fish driver' from Overstrand in Northrepps on January 12 1848 - but tragically he died two years later

and was buried on June 21 1850. Census records in 1851 show Benanna, aged 26, living in Overstrand, farming 12 acres with daughter Mary, aged two, son Edmund, aged 22 months, and daughter Ester, aged 15 months. Twenty years later she was living in Northrepps, still a retired grocer, with son Edmund, now 20, logged as a carpenter. By the census of 1881 Benanna was living at Bulls Row, Northrepps, with nephew Maurice Wagg, and was working as a laundress. Benanna died in December 1884, and was buried in Northrepps on 11 December.

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The new website, launched to coincide with International Women's Day, included women who 'haven't had widespread acclaim but have had really remarkable lives and whose stories deserve to be told', said Barry Stone, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for cultural services.