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Friends' Meeting House, Lamas
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Meeting House, Lamas
Lamas is just across the river from the larger, busier village of Buxton, but there is a remote rural feel to it that probably belies a busy past; at one time, the Bure was navigable up this far, and enabled the export of goods down the river to Norwich, Yarmouth and beyond. Once, so much of rural Norfolk was busier than it is now.
The red brick Friends' Meeting House is now a private dwelling, and is anyway unremarkable; Pevsner thought its early date of about 1700 suggested that it had an earlier, agricultural use before the Quakers took it over, but I could see no reason to think this. But the building is actually a site of pilgrimage, because stalwarts of the Quaker community here in the 19th century were the Sewell family, and one of their number, Anna Sewell, the author of Black Beauty, is buried here. She was 57 when she wrote the book, and died a year later.
The new owners of the building have reset the relettered Sewell family graves in the outside wall, so fans of that enduring novel - the most famous first-person animal narrative in the English language - can come and pay their respects. I thought that was rather lovely.
Simon Knott, April 2005
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