Search

Norwich Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 6°C

Happy Days celebrating St Valentine the Norfolk way

PUBLISHED: 14:55 30 January 2018

Vintage Valentines Cards.

Source: Library

For: EDP2

Vintage Valentines Cards. Source: Library For: EDP2

Good morning Valentine!

Jack Valentine playing tricks on local children. Illustration: Annette HudsonJack Valentine playing tricks on local children. Illustration: Annette Hudson

God bless the baker

You be the giver

I’ll be the taker.

Please sir, please sir

Undated handout photo issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport of a birthday card from a young woman called Hetty to William Crawford, a Scottish-born soldier who served in the Household Calvary, which is among a series of love notes and letters a century old, preserved by families and in archives, have revealed the resilience of romance through wartime. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday February 13, 2016. Three collections of letters are being shared with the public this Valentine's Day to inspire people to find out about and share stories of their families in the Lives of the First World War project, a digital memorial by the Imperial War Museums. See PA story HERITAGE Letters. Photo credit should read: Crown Copyright - courtesy of The National Archives/PA Wire

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the pictUndated handout photo issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport of a birthday card from a young woman called Hetty to William Crawford, a Scottish-born soldier who served in the Household Calvary, which is among a series of love notes and letters a century old, preserved by families and in archives, have revealed the resilience of romance through wartime. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday February 13, 2016. Three collections of letters are being shared with the public this Valentine's Day to inspire people to find out about and share stories of their families in the Lives of the First World War project, a digital memorial by the Imperial War Museums. See PA story HERITAGE Letters. Photo credit should read: Crown Copyright - courtesy of The National Archives/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the pict

Would you be so kind.

To give me something

For a Valentine?

Good morrow Valentine

An East Anglian Notebook feature back in 1928. Photo: Archant LibraryAn East Anglian Notebook feature back in 1928. Photo: Archant Library

A happy New Year

A pocket full of money

And a cellar full of beer.

The Lovers Walk. Courting seemed rather popular at Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich, in 1912. Photo: Archant LibraryThe Lovers Walk. Courting seemed rather popular at Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich, in 1912. Photo: Archant Library

Good morrow Valentine

Wow it do hail

When father’s pig die

You shall ha’ the tail.

Bridewell museum curator of community history Hannah Henderson with a selection of the Victorian Valentine's cards from a time when Norwich had its own tradition of St Valentines Eve. Photo: Steve AdamsBridewell museum curator of community history Hannah Henderson with a selection of the Victorian Valentine's cards from a time when Norwich had its own tradition of St Valentines Eve. Photo: Steve Adams

Good morrow Valentine

How thundrin’ hot

When father’s pig die

You shall ha’, the jot.

Man in row boat enjoying the view of Marlingford Mill.   pic taken sept 1952   c12223    pic to be used in edp2 17th august 2009
DML Aug 2004Man in row boat enjoying the view of Marlingford Mill. pic taken sept 1952 c12223 pic to be used in edp2 17th august 2009 DML Aug 2004

Valentine comes once a year

Makes me think of you my dear

Here be I, and so you see –

Youngsters enjoying the Valentine day free buns at Somerleyton Hall pic taken 15th feb 1967 m4676-25 pic to be used in lets talk feb 2017Youngsters enjoying the Valentine day free buns at Somerleyton Hall pic taken 15th feb 1967 m4676-25 pic to be used in lets talk feb 2017

Good morrow Valentine.

Hail, Bishop Valentine whose day this is

All the air is thy diocese

And all the chirping choristers

And other birds are thy parishioners:

Thou marriest every year

The lyric lark and the grave whispering dove:

The sparrow that neglects his life for love

The household bird with the red stomacher:

Thou mak’st the blackbird speed as soon

As do’th the goldfinch or the halcyon

This day more cheerfully than ever shine,

The day which might inflame myself,

Old Valentine!

The roses are red

The violets blue

Pinks are sweet

And so are you.

What wonderful and wise words we used to describe a day in Norwich and across Norfolk which was almost as important as Christmas itself - St Valentine’s Day.

Today it is far more commercial with flowers and chocolates being exchanged and restaurants putting on special events but more than a century ago the city and county would be in turmoil on the evening of February 13 – St Valentine’s Eve.

A time when Christmas was more for feasting and February 14 or 13, this was a time for giving presents – and for expressing your love for another.

This part of the country was the one which took Valentine to its heart thank than any other, we carried on the old traditions for longer and I suspect many of our more senior of our citizens will remember St Valentine’s with great warmth and affection.

The oldest known valentine was sent in 1477 from Topcroft, near Bungay. Margaret Brews wrote to her “right well beloved Valentine” John Paston. He was enchanted and they went on to marry.

Up and down the streets of the city, the towns and villages there would be double knocks on doors by young “strangers” who left presents on the doorstep and then ran away before it was opened.

They were often “large” presents and once the unwrapped, which could take some time, contained a very small gift.

It is the thought that counts and valentines were supposed to be anonymous.

Then there were the naughty boys who knocked on doors and scarpered without leaving any presents or pranksters who left a worthless parcel with a long piece of string and they snatched it away when the person went to pick it up. A touch of “knick-knocking.”

This practice was known as “snatch” Valentine although the young lads had to be pretty quick under threat of a “clip round the ‘lug.”

Then there was another trick with the little pranksters loved and could sometimes get away with on the eve of St Valentine’s.

They would knock hard on two front doors opposite each other on streets and then find a suitable hiding place to watch as the owners opened their door - and stared at each other.

The tradition of giving presents was not confined to love-struck boys and girls, parents would give presents to their children and it was said that Mother Valentine was the wife of Father Christmas.

Now there’s a thought.

Many towns and villages had their own wonderful traditions to celebrate this special day.

At Marlingford the older children at the school, we are talking about the time when the school leaving age was 13, would be in charge of a great walk around the village involving up to 50 boys and girls.

They would gather at the crack of dawn and start the trek chanting “Good Morrow Valentine”.

Hall Farm was the first port of call where gifts of buns or fruit would be handed out. Past the church, the next stop was Marlingford Hall.

The shout went up “Good Morrow Valentine”, and out popped the squire Benjamin Fletcher, founder of the Norwich printing firm and donor of 
the Cromer Convalescent 
Home.

Members of his family joined in, a queue formed, and more presents were handed over.

Then it was off to Marlingford Mills where Mr and Mrs George Thompson and their children handed out brand new pennies “straight from the Mint” were given out.

And so it went on. The Rectory, the Bell Inn, the Old Hall and, last but not least, the village shop where Mrs Emmerson had large bags of boiled sweets to hand out.

This would also happen at Somerleyton where children at the village called at the hall to be presented with a bun and a newly-minted penny. A tradition going back more than a century. Afterwards they were treated to a visit in the intricate Somerleyton Maze.

More than 20 years ago May Ayers of Sheringham reminded our readers how important Valentine’s Day was.

“Early in the evening there would be a knock at the door and some small presents thrown in; oranges, sweets and perhaps a parcel if we were lucky.

“We always heard it was Father Valentine but of course this was father or uncle. I remember once getting the grand gift of a scooter,” said May.

“We would have to grab for the gifts if they were on string, this was Snatch Valentine. And when we were old enough to play at Father Valentine ourselves we collected all sorts of things together, dummy packets of chocolate or lumps of coal wrapped up and threw them indoors,” she added.

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Norwich Evening News daily newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the Evening News
digital edition

Subscribe

Show Job Lists