Literary Norfolk Header and Logo


Ketteringham is a small village which lies six miles south-west of Norwich.

Ketteringham Sign

Ketteringham Village Sign

In 1960 Owen Chadwick - a history professor at Cambridge University - published Victorian Miniature - a remarkable book which combined the diaries of two Ketteringham characters: the squire (Sir John Boileau) and the vicar (the Revd. W.W. Andrew). In this quiet village in South Norfolk hatred and animosity flowed between the manor house and the church. Sir John and his family lived at Ketteringham Hall while Rev Andrew controlled the church of St Peter which stood next to the entrance to the hall.

Ketteringham Church

St. Peter's Church

In his book Chadwick writes with great detail about the clash of personalities, the class distinctions in the village and the surrounding rural life of 19th century Norfolk. The style is reminiscent of Anthony Trollope. The sections of the book are as follows: 1. Squire and Parson; 2. Andrew; 3. Ketteringham; 4. Sir John Boileau; 5. The submission of the clergy; 6. James Rush; 7. Ama; 8. The Coffins; 9. Charles; 10. Caroline; Epilogue.

Here is the opening paragraph of the book, in which the battle-lines are clearly drawn:

'Until yesterday, as it seems, the squire and the country parson were with us, the rulers of the parish in their different spheres. The manor-house would stand near the church, and sometimes the villagers, living outside the park, needed to pass through the park to their Sunday services. In its dim origins the country church had often been a chapel which the lord had founded and of which he was proprietor. In the earliest days the distinction between the landlord's private chaplain and the vicar of the landlord's parish had been blurred. But then the lawyers recognised the parson to have such a free-hold of his benefice that he could not be ejected without a court of law; and once the parson could not be dismissed, even by his landlord, there were two independent powers in the parish, and we have the relationship between squire and parson familiar to English history and the English novel.'

In the graveyard there are a number of graves belonging to the Boileau family and also a Boileau family mausoleum.  Ironically, members of Mr Andrew's family lie buried close by.

Boileau Mausoleum

Boileau Family Graves and Mausoleum

Owen Chadwick, who has written a number of books on English religious history,  was the Master of Selwyn College and later became the Vice Chancellor of the University of East Anglia (1984-1994).





Supported by Norfolk County Council logoSupported by Norfolk Tourism


Home | About Us | Advertise on Literary Norfolk

©Cameron Self 2007-2014                                                                                                                Hosted by UK Web.Solutions Direct