Wroxham: jewel of the Norfolk Broads: home to the largest village store in the world; and, for lovers of the weird and wonderful, the centre of a rift in the time-space continuum.
Strange things happen at Wroxham Broad. There are several documented occasions when unsuspecting souls have apparently drifted back in time to be confronted with… well, that would be telling. Here’s what happened to the Reverend Thomas Josiah Penston and his good wife when they decided to have a picnic by the Broad, back in April 1709.
THOMAS: Another cucumber sandwich, dearest Petunia?
PETUNIA: Thank-you dear. Would you like some more ginger pop?
THOMAS: Thank-you dear. I’m so glad we stocked at the largest village store in the world before we came here. This really is the most beautiful spot.
PETUNIA: Yes, it is dear. It really is the most beautiful spot. Apart from that very undesirable-looking person over there. Oh dear, it seems he is coming towards us. My, what strange clothes he is wearing.
THOMAS: Fear not, my dear, I shall protect you. Wait, behind this unpleasant person there seems to be more men approaching. What the deuce, do my eyes deceive me?
PETUNIA: They do not, my dear. It is certainly a procession of regal splendour. Look at the golden chariot containing a hideous looking man dressed as a Roman General being drawn by ten white prancing stallions.
THOMAS: And look, there’s about a dozen lions being led in chains by stalwart Roman soldiers. My ears! My ears! The great noise from the trumpeters and drummers.
PETUNIA: Look at them. There must be seven or eight hundred horsemen in this long procession of archers, pike-men and ballistic machines.
THOMAS: But although they are close to use, no-one can apparently see us. Whither they are going or from whence they came I know not, yet they vanish at the lake side.
PETUNIA: This is certainly most confounding my dear. Some more ginger pop?
THOMAS: No, my dear. I think I’ve had quite enough.
Time and time again, a procession of Roman Legionnaires have been seen at Wroxham Broad. A sighting back in 1603 not only featured the soldiers, but the Broad actually vanished and was replaced by a Roman amphitheatre. Yes, there is more to Wroxham than the biggest village store in the world.
So with thanks to the Reverend Lionel Fanthorpe, who has documented the Wroxham Broad timeslip at length, the phenomenon is best summed up in a obscure poem, “Legend of the Lake”, attributed to a chap named Calvert, written in the early nineteenth century. However, I should be honest and state that the final line has been slightly rejigged, courtesy of myself.
While through the trees of yonder lake,
There comes a cavalcade of horsemen near.
Gaze not upon these Romans, friends,
For thine eyes may meet in fear.
Licence : All Rights Reserved