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Learn about Winterton's history

PUBLISHED: 11:10 01 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:17 03 July 2010

With its thatched cottages and well-tended greens, Winterton is the perfect picture- postcard Norfolk coastal village popular with trippers.

And as visitors look around the tranquil community, near Yarmouth, they may be unaware of its prominent role in shaping the region's nautical prowess.

With its thatched cottages and well-tended greens, Winterton is the perfect picture- postcard Norfolk coastal village popular with trippers.

And as visitors look around the tranquil community, near Yarmouth, they may be unaware of its prominent role in shaping the region's nautical prowess.

But now the village's special place in maritime history is the subject of a new 100-page book by Norfolk historian David Higgins.

The Winterton Story traces the village's humble beginnings as a small medieval farming community with a population of 250 to becoming the fishing hub of East Anglia.

To illustrate how Winterton men became prized fishing boat skippers across the region, the book features William 'Wilks' Larner, who become known as the Fisher King of Yarmouth in the late 19th century.

Described as a legend in his own lifetime, Mr Larner topped the Yarmouth earning list from fishing for seven years.

Mr Higgins' book also details how, from the 1800s, Winterton become famous for its longshoremen, lifeboatmen and salvage men - known as beach men.

The village was so linked to the sea that the author of Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe, is quoted as saying: “I was surprised to see that the farmers and country people had scarce a barn or a shed, or a stable that was built of old planks, beams, wales and timbers - the wrecks of ships and ruins of mariners.”

In another tribute to the seafaring exploits of Winterton menfolk, the book features the role of villager Wee Green in inventing anti-submarine nets during the first world war.

Mr Higgins, who has written books on the history of King's Lynn and the fishing industry, said: “Winterton is a beautiful village with a great nautical history.”

tThe Winterton Story will be launched during a talk by Mr Higgins at the parish church at 7.30pm on Friday, July 10. Tickets cost £5 for adults and £2.50 for children. For details, call 01493 393480.

He will also be signing his £9.95 book on July 11 at the Church Room, Beach Road, Winterton, from 2pm to 4.30pm. Money from the book's sale and talk will go to the Winterton church restoration fund.

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