'Ye Towne' & Later                        

'Ye Towne' & Later

Queen Elizabeth I cemented the Reformation begun by her father and brother after her half-sister Mary had returned England and Wales to the Roman Catholic church. Mulbarton needed new Communion plate, and the task was given to silversmith William Cobbold of London Street, Norwich. The paten (dish) is clearly inscribed 'Ye TOWNE OF MULBARTON 1567'. Town?! Probably not the term we would use today, but the settlement must have had enough people, and enough variety of local services to warrant the title over 450 years ago.

Above: Queen Elizabeth I on horseback,
as depicted on the back of the Great Seal of England, 1584

Queen Elizabeth did visit Mulbarton in person - well, she passed through on her way to Norwich on Saturday 16th August 1578. She had stayed with Thomas Townsend in Bracon Ash, almost certainly in Mergate Hall, but there would not have been enough accommodation for her vast retinue: whenever she went on her annual 'progress', the Court, all the Household departments, her Council of Ministers and Advisers went, and sometimes foreign ambassadors had to tag along, too. No doubt may were accommodated in Mulbarton and camped on our common, along with the horses and carts. It must have taken awhile for everyone to gather for the late morning meal and be ready to set off for Norwich. excitement in Mulbarton must have been palpable, and no doubt many followed the procession into the city.  Queen stayed there until 22nd August, and Mulbarton folk must have stayed or returned for the festivities. Unfortunately the visit was followed by an outbreak of plague.

The merry crowd who met their monarch must also have dropped a number of items, if local finds are anything to go by.... Above is part of a silver sixpence dated 1565, found in the field behind what is now the veterinary surgery. Another Elizabeth I silver sixpence was found in the orchard behind the World's End, and a silver groat from the reign of her father, Henry VIII, in the same field.

Since the first Elizabethan Age

Dateable finds from the period since 1600 are surprisingly few compared with those of the Medieval period. Maybe Mulbarton was firmly settled along the Norwich Road and any interesting finds will be in the gardens of the houses that exist there now. Probably most of the large quantity of buttons and bells that have been found date from these last 400 years. There are coins for every reign since Charles II and even a medallion commemorating the completion of Nelson's Column in London in 1843 (item 3 below). This came from field 11, where various other Victorian items were found: the field with a footpath that starts at Catbridge Lane and continues into Swardeston.

Some of the items found in field 11:
1. Copper sou of King Louise XIV of France, 1643-1715
2. George II halfpenny 1746-1759
3. Nelson's Column medallion, 1843
4. Queen Victoria penny dated 1862
5. Medallion commemorating the marriage of Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) to Princess Alexandra, 1863
6. Victorian gilt pendant with turquoise, pearls and garnets
7 - 9. Harness rings
10. Key handle
11. Assorted buttons