Lucky John The Lighthouse Keeper

DrPaulLee

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This was posted on Facebook's "Norfolk Tales, Myths and More." I personally think it's rubbish as surely a keeper would be sacked for leaving his lighthouse unattended, especially in bad weather!

THE MYSTERIOUS LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER

Many years ago, there was talk of a large and seemingly lonely lighthouse on a bend of the River Wensum as it leaves Norwich and heads towards Great Yarmouth. Tales were often told of “Lucky John” the lighthouse keeper, who often made his way down to the local pub at Trowse on wet and windy nights.

John would sit in the corner of the bar near the fire smoking a pipe which gave off a large smoke screen and he also enjoyed regularly playing cards or dominoes with the locals. He often bought a raffle ticket on a Saturday night and nearly always won the first prize – a bottle of whisky. It was said that John would bet on who would catch the biggest fish and never lost. Nobody knew which part of the counter John came as he wasn’t a Norfolk man, but he must have lived here for several years. Rumour had it he was once married but he never talked of it and if children were ever mentioned, he would just smile.

It was in January 1935 during a bad winter’s night that it just wouldn’t stop snowing. The wind had blown snow up into drifts of over three feet high. Back at the lighthouse, John always kept the light shining bright come what may and every night at nine o’clock, he would walk into his local pub for his beer and a tot of whisky. Then one night, it was very bad weather-wise and only two people turned out to sit huddled around the fire. Soon after his arrival, John said he wouldn’t stop long, so left just after ten.

Considering the weather conditions outside, the pub landlord invited John to stay overnight, but John thanked him and said “No, he must return to the lighthouse and duly left, waving his usual goodnight. But from that moment on, John was never seen again. The villagers searched for weeks looking for either him or his body but neither were found. So, the lighthouse eventually became a ruin as no-one would take on the role of replacing John.

Today, the lighthouse has also long gone without trace, but tales still continue of a lonely figure sometimes walking along the riverbank and disappearing into the mist. One night however, a dark stranger asked some visitors where the lighthouse had gone and then requested a match to light his pipe, before smiling and walking away, heading towards that well-known bend on the River Wensum.
Christopher Weston, 2020.
 

RaM

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The Vanishing about the 3 keepers that disappeared from the Flannan Isles, light
was on Filme4 9th of july, may be on catch-up.
 

Nosmo King

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This was posted on Facebook's "Norfolk Tales, Myths and More." I personally think it's rubbish as surely a keeper would be sacked for leaving his lighthouse unattended, especially in bad weather!

THE MYSTERIOUS LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER

Many years ago, there was talk of a large and seemingly lonely lighthouse on a bend of the River Wensum as it leaves Norwich and heads towards Great Yarmouth. Tales were often told of “Lucky John” the lighthouse keeper, who often made his way down to the local pub at Trowse on wet and windy nights.

John would sit in the corner of the bar near the fire smoking a pipe which gave off a large smoke screen and he also enjoyed regularly playing cards or dominoes with the locals. He often bought a raffle ticket on a Saturday night and nearly always won the first prize – a bottle of whisky. It was said that John would bet on who would catch the biggest fish and never lost. Nobody knew which part of the counter John came as he wasn’t a Norfolk man, but he must have lived here for several years. Rumour had it he was once married but he never talked of it and if children were ever mentioned, he would just smile.

It was in January 1935 during a bad winter’s night that it just wouldn’t stop snowing. The wind had blown snow up into drifts of over three feet high. Back at the lighthouse, John always kept the light shining bright come what may and every night at nine o’clock, he would walk into his local pub for his beer and a tot of whisky. Then one night, it was very bad weather-wise and only two people turned out to sit huddled around the fire. Soon after his arrival, John said he wouldn’t stop long, so left just after ten.

Considering the weather conditions outside, the pub landlord invited John to stay overnight, but John thanked him and said “No, he must return to the lighthouse and duly left, waving his usual goodnight. But from that moment on, John was never seen again. The villagers searched for weeks looking for either him or his body but neither were found. So, the lighthouse eventually became a ruin as no-one would take on the role of replacing John.

Today, the lighthouse has also long gone without trace, but tales still continue of a lonely figure sometimes walking along the riverbank and disappearing into the mist. One night however, a dark stranger asked some visitors where the lighthouse had gone and then requested a match to light his pipe, before smiling and walking away, heading towards that well-known bend on the River Wensum.
Christopher Weston, 2020.
Have you looked into whether there was ever actually a lighthouse in that location, I would imagine there would be some record of it, be that an old map or the agency which runs all the lighthouses?
 

EnolaGaia

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Were there actually "lighthouses" along rivers that far inland? Might the reference to "lighthouse" actually allude to some other prominent location or structure?
 

Timble2

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Also the Wensum doesn't leave Norwich and head towards Yarmouth, it's the River Yare that does that. The Wensum flows through Norwich to a confluence with the Yare at Whitlingham a bit South of Norwich. No part of Trowse could be described as being on a lonely bend, at that point the Wensum has just run through the city and passed the marshalling yards and engine sheds for Norwich Thorpe station (mid 19th century). BTC Cow Tower (as it says on Wiki) was part of the old medieval defences, it's in the wrong part of Norwich, and it's not in the least remote, and in very good conditio. The story is either fiction, or at best it's set on the wrong river and nicked from somewhere else.
 

EnolaGaia

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Also the Wensum doesn't leave Norwich and head towards Yarmouth, it's the River Yare that does that. ... (etc.) ... The story is either fiction, or at best it's set on the wrong river and nicked from somewhere else.
Thanks for enumerating these inconsistencies. I was having a hard time making sense of the scene / scenario but figured my confusion came from being on another continent unable to find any matches between the few details in the story and anything I could find in the alleged area where this happened.
 

escargot

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The Vanishing about the 3 keepers that disappeared from the Flannan Isles, light
was on Filme4 9th of july, may be on catch-up.
Is that the disturbing one where they keep catching each other masturbating?
 

DrPaulLee

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I've found the source - a posting by Christopher Weston on the "weird Norfolk" facebook group on February 3rd. As usual, it's been repeated verbatim with no critical analysis or thought, so no doubt it'll be in book form one day touted as fact which is bloody annoying. Lots of platitudes saying what a great story etc but a few didn't fall for it. Weston purports to run a local Norfolk archive!
 
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Nosmo King

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I've found the source - a posting by Christopher Weston on the "weird Norfolk" facebook group on February 3rd. As usual, it's been repeated verbatim with no critical analysis or thought, so no doubt it'll be in book form one day. Lots of platitudes saying what a great story etc but a few didn't fall for it. Weston purports to run a local Norfolk archive!
Had a cursory Google of lighthouses on the Wensum and could find no historical records on one.
 

Sollywos

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Many years ago, there was talk of a large and seemingly lonely lighthouse on a bend of the River Wensum as it leaves Norwich and heads towards Great Yarmouth.
Being more than a little familliar with Norwich and it's rivers I was bemused by the whole tale.

Other than the glaring inaccuracies it was a good tale though :)

Sollywos x
 
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