Back to the Flatlands.

Let the rehabilitation begin!


Having got through a sufficient number of days of physio exercises for the Achilles' without any pain I'm now permitted to get back on the bike. No long rides and no massive loading/power output, not that the latter has ever been a possibility for me, just an easy twenty minutes of gentle spinning.


Hmmmm? An easy twenty minutes of gentle spinning with no significant power output? In the Peak District? The Peak District's got hills. Quite a lot of hills. Hills need power. That means, depending upon which route I choose, that I either can't get out of the village, or I can't get back into it. It seems that a return to the flatlands of the Californian desert is in order. It's either that or ride repeatedly back and forth along Main Street past the primary school, raising suspicions that I could be some sort of Lycra-clad paedophile eyeing up the seven-year-olds as they complete their soft football penalty shoot-outs.


Back to California's virtual flatlands it was. Twenty minutes of gentle spinning with the occasional twenty second burst of slightly less gentle spinning. Just what the doctor ordered. OK, let's be precise. Just what the physio ordered.



Not a hill in sight around Borrego Springs.

With getting in or out of the village still off the cards it will have to be a return to Norfolk's flatlands for this bike-based bygone. It's one that Mrs. Bygone Boozer and I pedalled past on quite a few occasions during our spring break back in Norfolk – the one-time Red Lion in Costessey.


Red Lion Costessey
Costessey's former Red Lion.

This Grade II listed building on West End in Costessey dates from the seventeenth century and was a pub from at least as early as 1841 when shoemaker John Sadler and family were in residence. Note how the correct spelling of the village – Costessey – is at the top of the census book's page but the manner of its pronunciation – Cossey – is written in the left-hand margin above the pub's name.


Extract from the 1841 census.

From the mid-1850s until its closure it was run by two generations of the same family, the Guntons. The 1861 census records brickmaker Edward Gunton living there.


Extract from the 1861 census.

Edward was from a family of brickmakers, but not just any old brickmakers. Gunton's decorative bricks, known as Cosseyware, adorned many grand properties throughout the land which were constructed through the nineteenth and first part of the twentieth centuries. The chimneys below appeared in the company's 1904 catalogue when they were priced at £3 15s 0d each.


Associated with the Gunton's Costessey brickyard was a carver named James Minns and it is he that is credited with producing the carved lion which adorned the front of the pub.





When Edward died in 1888 his widow Charlotte took over, with the licence eventually passing to their son, also called Edward.


In the 1911 census Edward jnr. simply records himself as a joiner...




...but his address gives away his other source of income.




Red Lion Costessey
Charlotte and Edward jnr's daughter, Florence, outside the Red Lion.

Edward continued to live in the Red Lion until it closed in 1931 and then in what became known as Lion House after that. Its closure resulted from Norwich brewers Youngs, Crawshay & Youngs surrendering its licence, along with that of the Crown in Newton St. Faiths, to get one at their new pub in Costessey. Originally called the New Inn it had become the Crown by the time that it opened. Newton's Crown has gone and Costessey's Crown lives on, but only the carved sign gives any indication that 64 West End is a bygone boozer.



The image of the chimneys is copyright and is reused under this licence.



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