Last week, we took a trip out to the Suffolk coast to visit Aldeburgh. It’s a beautiful seaside town which fans of M R James will recognise as ‘Seaburgh’ in A Warning to the Curious – my favourite of James’s ghost stories.
We quickly found the White Lion Hotel – called ‘The Bear’ in the story – and walked down the lonely stretch of beach where Paxton ran to his doom.
Here I am with Hattie near the martello tower that features in the story.
Leaving Aldeburgh, we drove inland to visit the church at Theberton which may well have been the inspiration for James’s ‘Froston’.
Like the church Paxton visits, it has a fine porch featuring engravings that could well represent the three crowns of East Anglia.
In true M R James style, we were greeted by a local man who happily told us some of the history of the church including the interesting idea that porches were added to churches to prevent churchgoers from doing inappropriate business transactions in the church itself!
Shortly after our trip to Aldeburgh, we visited the wonderful manor at Hemingford Grey in Cambridgeshire. The house and garden are famous as being the former home of children’s author Lucy Boston and were the inspiration behind her ‘Green Knowe’ books.
We were there to see actor Robert Lloyd Parry perform two M R James stories and it was an unforgettable experience. Sitting in the 900-year old Music Room lit only by candlelight, Robert held his audience spellbound. What a treat it was. Do book yourself a ticket if you can. You will not be disappointed.