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Lothingland being put back on map for Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft area

PUBLISHED: 16:22 22 November 2012

St Mary's church Somerleyton , Suffolk.  Picture: Nick Butcher

St Mary's church Somerleyton , Suffolk. Picture: Nick Butcher

© Archant 2012

It is a name that is gradually disappearing from local vocabulary and memory.

But Lothingland has been put back on the historical map thanks to a Corton author who has published a comprehensive guide to the area, which stretches from Lowestoft to Gorleston.

David Butcher, 70, has spent five years researching and writing The Island of Lothingland – A Domesday and Hundred Roll Handbook.

As well as being a one-stop shop for people researching their family history using the 1086 Domesday Book and 1274-5 Hundred Roll, the book also aims to show how villages and communities, such as Akethorp, Caldecot, Newton and Dunston, vanished in medieval times as Lothingland evolved and was shaped by coastal erosion and population growth.

Among Lothingland’s Domesday settlements listed in the book are Lowestoft, Flixton, Corton, Somerleyton, Lound, Herringleet and Fritton.

Mr Butcher’s book shows how communities may have acquired their names – with Gunton and Oulton possibly deriving from the Danish names Gunni and Ali respectively. There are also maps and lists detailing the origins of people’s names, and details of Lothingland’s free tenements, freemen and landholders. Names such as Hakon still live on in Waveney in some form, albeit with a different spelling, and names in the Hundred Roll for Lowestoft also include Richard of the Woodhouse, William Reynald and Richard Thomas.

Today, Lothingland is connected to the mainland by four bridges –Lowestoft’s bascule bridge, Great Yarmouth’s Haven Bridge and those at Oulton Broad and St Olaves.

In recent years, Lothingland has slowly disappeared from the local glossary; Lothingland Rural District Council ceased to exist in 1974 and Lothingland Middle School at Lound closed last year as part of the school reorganisation.

There is still a Church of England Lothingland Deanery, which has more than 20 churches, including St Mary’s at Somerleyton, and Lothingland Community Unit, formerly Lothingland Hospital.

The book costs £10 and is available from the Lowestoft Heritage Workshop Centre in Rant Score and the Lowestoft Record Office.

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