29 JANUARY 1910, Page 49


The Land of the "Babes in the Wood." By Charles Kent, M.A. (Jarrold 'and Sons. 12s. 6d.)—This "Land" is a part of the county of 'Norfolk which goes by the nanie 'Of:Brecklatid. It is in the ' south-west of the county _.anti the besdlia-own name connected with it is Thetford. It is largely moorland. Mr. Kent speaks of it as "the Norfolk Sahara," and describes it as a game preserve," a state of things which does not please him, though he allows that the land is of very little worth for agricul- ture. The connexion with the ballad of the "Babes in the Wood" is curious. Mr. Kent analyses the available evidence, and con- cludes that it is a highly figurative account of a family dispute in the latter years of the sixteenth century. Thomas de Grey died in 1562, leaving a son of the same name aged seven years. The boy died four years later, very suddenly, and an uncle succeeded to the estate. The uncle was a Recusant, and the countryside, which was strongly Protestant, was greatly roused against him, and freely charged him with murder. Some imaginative person transmuted this into the "Babes in the Wood" legend. Apart from this, there is a highly interesting account of the region with its moors and lakes, the latter not so large as the Broads of the eastern portion of the county, but picturesque places, and commonly abounding in fish. Thompson Water, Stanford Water, and Scoulton Mere, with its flocks of black-headed galls, are the most remarkable. We see that the flint industry at Brandon (which belongs to Suffolk) is • now extinct. Less than forty years ago it carried on a brisk trade in fine flints, chiefly with Africa. Brandon flints were specially valued, it would seem, in prehistoric times.