Norfolk wherry Solace and her marshman’s punt
Still on the Norfolk Broads, my grateful thanks go to Nigel Royall for taking me down the river from Hoveton to see Solace, a stunning pleasure wherry built in 1903, and which has been in use every year since that date.
The Royall’s business makes much of its income from hiring Broads motor cruisers and dinghies, but also does a fair amount of restoration and maintenance work, as well as the occasional small build – of which more later. The jewel of this side of the business is caring for Solace for the Rudd family, who have owned Solace since the 1940s and are only the third family to do so.
So we set off to Wroxham Broad in Nigel’s gun punt Shoveler, and while Nigel and his colleague Steve got to work putting up a shelter on the bows of the boat, I took some shots of both Solace’s stunning exterior – it’s wonderful to see a grand old boat that is so clearly loved by its owners and carers over so many years – and one of the bows of the family’s Brown Boat or Broads One Design called Redshank.
I also took quite a few shots of the little 16ft marshman’s punt tied to her stern. Royall’s recently made this little boat for the Rudds, and Nigel and Steve describe this as their favourite small boat at the moment.
Moulded in GRP from a traditionally-built marshman’s punt Nigel built some years ago, they say that it’s a superb rower, and looking at it on the water I have no doubt that it is – and I also have little doubt there will be some others in the area who would be interested in having a similar little boat, perhaps to tow behind a Broads cruiser or tie to a dock in their garden. Would Royall’s be willing to make further examples of this pretty little boat to order? I think they might be persuaded…
There’s more on Norfolk wherries here and here (there’s quite a lot here so you’ll need to scroll down and use the links to go back through previous pages), and more on Royall’s yard and Nigel’s small boat projects here.
10 thoughts on “Stunning Norfolk wherry Solace and her pretty marshman’s punt”
Great post, love to read about the Wherries
Hi Gavin, I wonder if you can offer me some advice on a little problem which I have re the family history research in which I’m involved? Basically, I have recently realised that my great grandfather owned a wherry (his occupation was wherryman) I have two tantalising photos of this craft but have no means of finding anything further out. The photos are taken on the craft and so there’s little in the way of photographic detail to assist. Is there a register of these craft or a means of finding out who owned what and when?
Hi Paul – Send me scans of the shots and I’ll put up a post here to ask for information.
You might also contact these folks: http://www.wherryyachtcharter.org/
I’m sure they will have a few historians and researchers among their members!
Beyond that that, there’s this lot: http://www.museumofthebroads.org.uk/
I hope you find what you’re looking for! Gav
I have admired Solace many times especially gilded nameboard. Do you know who has done the gilding please? I intend carving a nameboard for my 1932 broads yacht Golden Dawn by OA King of Wroxham
I don’t, but I know a man who will… I’ll come back to you on that. Gavin
Hi, this is so interesting. I have an ancestor who was a marshman and only just found out. He lived all his life in Norfolk and am wondering if someone here could explain what sort of work he would have done as a marshman. He was also a corn miller man at one point but went back to being a marshman. Intrigued to know what this occupation involves.
Thank you so much if you can help.
I’d say it would likely be a mix of tending drainage, gamekeeping, harvesting reed (for roofing etc), clearing weaterways etc… These obituaries of marshmen may add something: http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/obituaries/arthur_beales_marshman_on_norfolk_wildlife_reserve_for_four_decades_1_2020618 and http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/reed_cutter_marshman_and_true_norfolk_man_eric_edward_dies_aged_71_1_1389724.
And British Pathe has this old film depicting marshmen at work apparently being bothered by some charming young women: http://www.britishpathe.com/video/the-marshmen/query/norfolk+broads
Steven durrant built all royalls punts
Thanks for letting us know!