Lunch at the beach in Hunstanton

After we were finished exploring Castle Rising Castle, we talked to a local couple in the parking lot, who recommended we go to Hunstanton for lunch and try one of the fish and chip places on the beach.  So we bypassed Sandringham Palace, which is not open to the general public anyways, although much of the countryside nearby the grounds are, and were quite crowded with picnickers and walkers enjoying the sunshine.  We passed directly by the main gates, and waved, but the royal family is usually only there between Christmas and February.

Enjoying the sunshine at Hunstanton

Hunstanton had a rocky beach, divided into sections, and very hardy Brits “paddling” (as they say) in the water, which must have been just a few degrees above the freezing mark.  The air temperature was barely a sunny 17 degrees, and I did not remove my polar fleece jacket for the wind!  But the fish and chips were very hot and very fresh, as promised.

Besides fish and chips, Hunstanton boasts traditional British sweet shops.
The stony beach and wooden structures that divide the beach into numbered sections.

From there we took a scenic road to Wells, stopping at Brancaster St. Mary church along the way.  I loved the 13th century windows in the porch.

Brancaster St. Mary – the square tower attracted us.
“Quatrefoil” windows dating from the 14C in the south porch.

I also enjoyed puzzling out some of the Latin words in the brass floor inscription in the chancel (the part at the front where the altar is).  This was for William Cotyng, rector of the church, who died in 1485.  It contained some strange-looking numbers.  They looked like Roman Numeral II’s to me at first, but by comparing them with the “C” in Cotyng’s name (top line at the right), I was able to surmise that they were actually Roman Numeral C’s, standing for the number 100.  Thus four of them were 400.  So, apparently we have some sort of an abbreviated word for a thousand (millennium? My latin is garbage), and then four 100’s and then – something that must stand for 85, since that’s when Cotyng died.

The front entry, with steps that have been used for 700 years. The wooden structure is the 16C(?) rood screen, which used to separate the part of the church with the altar from the congregation. With the Reformation, people were given more direct access to the “holy” areas of the church, and rood screens went out of fashion.
Interior view. On the floor in the chancel, at the very front, are some old brasses, including the one for William Cotyng, former rector, who died in 1485.
Part of the brass inscription for William Cotyng. It needs a better scholar than me to decipher it, but I believe in the top line the first word may be “Orate” (pray), and the last word “Cotyng.” Which means the word before it must be William, obviously abbreviated. Bottom line: Anno domini (the year of the Lord) (and some abbreviation for a Latin word meaning thousand) and four c’s, and then something meaning 85. Please let me know if you can work it out!

This lovely church also has a plain 14C baptismal font with the most fantastic wooden cover, donated in 1493.  The cover is attached to a telescoping mechanism which raises the entire cover so the font can be used.


I just can’t get over the fact that this church has been in continuous use for 700 years!