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The Tale of Christopher and Alice Burroway

The Tale of Christopher and Alice Burroway

There’s a perplexing inscription on Alice Burroway’s gravestone at St Mary’s, Martham. ‘And there lyes Alice, who by hir Life was my Sister, my Mistres, My Mother, and my Wife.’ Confused? Well, you know what they say about Norfolk. But joking aside, there’s a harrowing tragedy hidden in the riddle of poor Alice Burroway’s 18th century grave.

Once the nuns of Norwich Cathedral found a baby left on the steps. Strong with loud cry, he had a distinctive birthmark just under his shoulder blade. Who would abandon this bonny little lad? It seems a teenager called Alice had become pregnant by her own brutish father, who forced her to abandon the child and never speak of him again. Years later, after her father’s death, Alice inherited the family estate and hired a farm hand called Christopher. A hard worker, he became her steward. And her lover. Alice was no longer a young woman so was surprised by a late pregnancy. The couple married. On their wedding night, they undressed fully for the first time. In the firelight, Alice saw Christopher’s birthmark, a distinctive shape just under his shoulder blade. Stricken, Alice collapsed. How appalling it must have been for Alice to tell her new husband he was also her long lost son, born from the horror of incest. The shock killed Alice and within months Christopher was dead too, victims of a truth too terrible to endure. And no, this tragic story is far from being normal for Norfolk.


Norwich Cathedral or St Marthams Church, Norwich


30 mins


Sensory Experience






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