Syderstone – Village History
village of Syderstone is situated in the county of Norfolk within in the United
Kingdom, midway between Kings Lynn and Norwich, about five miles west of the
town of Fakenham. It is about ten miles
inland from the North Norfolk coast, see
village dates back well over a thousand years.
It is recorded in the Domesday
Book of 1066, but the village pre-dates even this. The original Anglo Saxon name was Sidsterne,
which means “large estate”, from the Old English “sid” meaning broad or
extensive and “sterne” meaning property
the 16th century Syderstone Hall was the home of Sir John Robsart, Sheriff of
Norfolk and Suffolk, and his daughter, Amy, whose initials are still to be seen
in the churchyard gate and over the entrance to the Norman church tower. The
present village hall is named after her. In 1549 Amy Robsart married Robert
Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and her mysterious death in 1560 led to suspicion
that she had been murdered so that Robert might marry Elizabeth I - a suspicion
which became the subject of Sir Walter Scott's novel “Kenilworth”.
Amy’s ghost was
seen at the Old Hall shortly after her death and continued to appear there
until the Hall was demolished, whereupon her ghost moved across to the nearby
Rectory, where windows opened of their own accord and other poltergeist
activity was reported. But Amy is not
the only ghost of Syderstone, the village is also haunted by a phantom
highwayman, who has been seen on his ghostly mount, silently galloping towards
the village green.
The present day
village hall is named after Amy Robsart, and is still very much in use for
Parish Council meetings and village social occasions.
The present Earl
of Leicester, whose wife is alive and well, resides a few miles north-east of
the village at Holkham Hall.
--- to be continued.
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