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About East Anglia

Map of East Anglia and surrounding counties

East Anglia, bounded in the east and north by the North Sea, comprises Norfolk in the north and Suffolk in the south, but Cambridgeshire on the western side and Essex in the south-east are occasionally included. The climate in this area is quite pleasant, being warmer and drier than in other parts of England. The skies are bright, beautifully illuminating the landscape, the houses and lands with clear light. The views of the sky alternate quickly as the often brisk winds bring in clouds and equally dispatch them to distant destinations.

The gently sloping and hilly landscape is interspersed with sunken roads, along which trimmed hedges hide the farming land, the houses and gardens from a direct view; the reclusive aspect is strengthened by curved or s-shaped paths leading to the houses, with bushes in the border, protecting the house from the prying eyes of passers by. Elsewhere, however, houses line the roads and are in full view. One is struck by the fact that the often age-old houses are so small.

Kerk van Blythburg, Suffolk
Blythburgh's Holy Trinity church, with the characteristic
architecture of an English church: a clerestore with high
clear windows under the roof that illuminate the interior
well and evenly, a square tower, and surrounded by a
well-kept cemetery.

When you walk around the graveyards that go with the numerous old churches you are struck by the observation that, whilst many children were born most died at a young age, so that the houses must have provided a roof over the head of mostly small families. Even so it seems they were densely packed. Apart from old and small dwellings you come across many larger ones, often timbered houses, well preserved and with plasterwork painted in a whole spectrum of beautiful pastel colours. Even now these larger mansions radiate grandeur that impresses upon you the status, the rank and the standing of the original inhabitants, who lived in these houses some 4 to seven centuries ago. Blythburgh church exhibitis the characteristic architecture of an English church with large windows under the roof transmitting the light to the interior, a truncated tower, and surrounded by the cemetery.

Huis met rieten dak nabij Orford, Suffolk
Thatched roof of a house near Orford.
The decorative pattern is characteristic
of many thatched roofs in East Anglia.

An interesting and attractive aspect of many houses is the roof. Many a house has a thatched roof, but interestingly the ridge as well as the lower part is often very nicely decorated by cutting patterns into the upper coat which enhance the cottage's elegance. And then, of course, the chimneys: large and heavy structures, often dominating the roof; it is not seldom that you cannot see the house from the street but do see the impressive chimney with complicated brick patterns, giving away the location of the dwelling.

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