Following the recent Coronation of King Charles III a search through the History Centre records has identified the following information on earlier Coronations although it is probable that there is further material.
Queen Victoria, 28th June 1838
The account below was first published in Glaven Historian Issue 2 (1999). This version has been transcribed as the Glaven Historian is not a digital copy.
This first item is one account amongst many recorded in the papers of the day describing the jollifications which marked the coronation of Queen Victoria on 2o June 1838. The report for Cley is longer than most and the details provided enable the reader to form a good mental picture of the day’s events, which began at the Salt Pans by the Mill and finished in a barn at the Old Hall. Will three quarters of the village population ever again assemble for such an entertainment?
Norwich Mercury, 7th July 1838
The coronation of her Most Gracious Majesty was celebrated in this town in a most spirited manner, nearly 600 persons (being three-fourths of the entire parish) sat down to an excellent dinner of plum pudding and roast beef. From the very short time allowed to provide for so large a party it is almost surprising how the arrangements were so well completed; suffice it to say, from the commencement the committee devoted all their energies in endeavouring to promote the happiness of their poorer townsmen, all minor differences ceased, and loyalty reigned in every breast. The day commenced under the most favourable auspices, and by twelve o’clock every arrangement was complete. At half-past two o’clock the presidents and vice- presidents each wearing a blue sash, attended by a band of music, proceeded to the “Salt Pan”, a piece of grass land admirably adapted for the occasion, where nine long tables covered with white cloths were judiciously set out. The entrance to the ground was a triumphal arch; at the opposite end was a booth decorated with evergreens, flowers, garlands, &c, extending the extreme length was “Victoria our Queen, long may she reign,” in the centre, an arch, “peace and plenty”, the whole surmounted with a superb crown. Flags waved in different parts of the ground, the whole forming a most pleasing spectacle. To the ladies of Clay great praise is due not only for their indefatigable exertions in furnishing the decorations, but for the excellent manner in which the dinner was cooked, and the regularity with which it was conveyed to the tables Not the slightest accident or confusion occurred. By four o’clock every person was comfortable seated, and in about five minutes every dish was on the tables. Mr. John Ebbets was appointed general chairman, and Mr. W. T. Smith his vice. At about a quarter past four the welcome gun gave the signal, at which the assembled multitude stood silent and uncovered, during which the Rev. Mr. Norgate invoked a blessing on the dinner.
The important work immediately commenced, the carvers and assistants sufficed to keep every plate well filled till every appetite was absolutely exhausted. The committee furnished everything in the greatest abundance, and it is pleasing to remark that from every table respectable fragments, both of meat and pudding were removed, and which were distributed to the poor the following morning. About five o’clock dinner was concluded, and everything having been removed, another gun was fired, and grace again said by the Rev. Mr. Norgate.
The mugs were now again filled, and soon the chairman gave the Queen, and nine times nine – a gun followed the announcement of this toast, which was heard far and near, and the cheers of the people were most enthusiastic. Other loyal and appropriate toasts followed in quick succession. Then came enjoyment of both old and young in smoking and dancing, and many a one who have seen three score years joined the lads and lasses in the merry dance – joy seemed depicted in every countenance, various amusements continued until late in the evening, when the rain became too heavy for out-door sports, but the worthy chairman with his accustomed hospitality, immediately had his large barn prepared, and thither all bent their course, where quadrille and country dance were kept up till about eleven o’clock, all classes joining in the latter. The greatest good humour prevailed throughout the day, and it is but justice to remark the people generally conducted themselves in the most orderly manner, and proved by their peaceable behaviour, their good sense and gratitude. They dispersed in as good order as they assembled, and it is worthy of notice, not a single brawl or accident occurred to mar the pleasures of the happiest day known for many years in Clay.
Edward VII, 9th August 1902
George V, 22nd June 1911
Blakeney Parish Council Minutes, 13th December 1911
George VI, 12th May 1937
There is some confusion regarding the membership of the committee. The back of the photograph shown above lists four names with another two names unknown. The note for this item in the History Centre has the same names but in a different order (standing from left: Herbert John Pye, Not known, Billy Beck, Young Bill [ ]unell (Westgate). Sitting from left: Not known, Andrews). Finally, the Coronation celebrations programme above is at odds with this as it lists four totally different names! This is being investigated.
Women’s Institute Village Notebook
Blakeney School Logbook
The following page is from the week of the Coronation.