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Norfolk to become Rider Haggard Country?

PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 January 2009 | UPDATED: 07:56 01 August 2010

CLASSIC author Sir Henry Rider Haggard who lived at Ditchingham for much of his life should be officially recognised in Norfolk, his devotees believe.

The Rider Haggard Society is calling for Norfolk to be called Rider Haggard Country, and has written to Norfolk County Council asking it to consider the idea.

CLASSIC author Sir Henry Rider Haggard who lived at Ditchingham for much of his life should be officially recognised in Norfolk, his devotees believe.

The Rider Haggard Society is calling for Norfolk to be called Rider Haggard Country, and has written to Norfolk County Council asking it to consider the idea. But it has had a lukewarm reception.

The society's secretary, Shirley Addy, who lives in Lancashire, said Sir Henry, who lived at Ditchingham House, where he wrote many of his novels and his Farmer's Year diaries, was one of Norfolk's most beloved and industrious sons.

“He wrote many novels, including King Solomon's Mines, and She, and the classic work on farming, A Farmer's Year, based around his farm at Ditchingham. Between writing novels, he did much work on farming and the countryside, for which he was knighted,” she said.

And in her letter to the county council she said: “I am writing to ask if there are any plans to create a Rider Haggard Country in Norfolk. The Brontes and Thomas Hardy are strongly promoted in their counties, and I feel that Haggard should be given similar treatment in Norfolk. He was born in Bradenham and lived in Ditchingham.

“Haggard has been given recognition at local level. Bradenham has a portrait of him on its village sign, Ditchingham's pyramid shaped village sign recalls Haggard, and the South Norfolk Council published a walk round Bedingham and Hedenham; Haggard's portrait appeared on the notice board to a wood trail there. Even Wartnaby in Leicestershire mentions Haggard in its parish guide, and Canada has a glacier name after him.”

The county has been slow to response to Mrs Addy's suggestion, which she first made last August, but she is still hoping to get a reply.

Norfolk is currently designated Nelson's County, as a tribute to its most famous son, Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, who commanded the British fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: “Norfolk is already designated as 'Nelson's County' in honour of Norfolk's most famous son.

“Any other official county association would be confusing.

“Plus we have a number of famous authors - and other individuals - who have links to the county, that others would argue also deserve the same level of association.

“Rider Haggard's links to the county are quite rightly marked however - in village signs, local walks, and in other ways, and we hope that his popularity continues for many years to come.”

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