Flint and thatch... sparkling rivers and broads, rolling fields and meadows, Norfolk is far from flat... popular seaside resorts and harbours - and rich in local colour and dialect.

Home Page

A FOND Welcome

The Chairman

A FOND History

Speaking the Dialect

A Norfolk Glossary

Norfolk Placenames

The Merry Mawkin

The Gal Tina

The Boy Colin

Diary Dates


A Norfolk Naturalist


Harvest Time 1948

Written in Dialect

Lost in Translation


Interesting Links


Site Map


Take a look at the Friends of Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse (FoG) website


THE FOLLOWING are a few examples of Norfolk dialect in use, as well as the dry sense of humour:

“Whoa there, Wi’let, whoa, Gypsy, s’dockey time, here’s yar nosebags tergethar. Now then you fules, wait till I git yar bits out. Come on, Bob, let’s knock a blairze on an’ we’ll het. Thass suffun cold terdear, blowe’d if i’ tearnt. Le’s see what th’ old woaman ’a put up forrus in the dinner bag. Cor blast, bread an’ pullet an’ no thumbit. Thass a rummun thar-iss nowt on an’ nowt tut. I’ll hev suffun, gimme thar ole rat, he’ll do. Whass a marrer meart, carnt yer eat yars? Doant trow it awear bor, I can eart it, fat an’ all. Give us hold onnut if it’s gorn a meark yer sick. You young’uns er too finnicky nowadears.”

Norfolk dinner time  

Knock a blairze on is, of course, to make a fire, but bread an’ pullet an’ no thumbit, meaning dry bread and no fat on it, requires some further explanation.

A thumbit is an inverted pyramid of bread taken out of a half loaf to hold margarine or dripping. The piece of bread removed is put between the dirty thumb and the meat on top of the half loaf. This can be held comfortably in the left hand, while the right holds a pocket-knife to cut the loaf, meat, cheese, onion, etc., and also to spread the fat. With practise one can cut round the thumbit and eat almost all the half loaf without shifting the thumb.

I played a similar trick when quite a boy, while bird-scaring. I met a neighbouring scarer for lunch in an old lane and we made a bonfire. His brother brought him a hot meal from home. As my family were ‘on the parish’, I had nothing; so I put a dead mouse on his plate. He promptly lost his appetite and his temper, and I had his lunch.

Men in Norfolk have been known to carry a brick in their side-bag to make it look as if it contained something to eat.

Does anyone know the story behind the picture? It would be nice to credit the photographer.


Dear Mr Webmaster Bor,

Never throw nothin’ out. Specially not books!

Although I’m an exiled Fenman from Cambridgeshire (We’d say B’ not Bor) I was tidy pleased to find your website. The point of all this is I’ve got some old East Anglian Magazines my parents used to take and your picture [above] is in the March 1960 issue. It just calls it ‘Dinner Time’ but does have a photographer’s name: P.H.T. King, which you said you’d like.

Hoping that’s helpful,

Christopher Rule

[11/01/2010: Most helpful indeed, Christopher, many thanks for your help!]


Moost counties hev nearmes searm as Norfolk
Whot never sound quite loike they spell.
So, because I’m a trew Norfolk dumplin’
I fare ter know some onnem well.

Now, why should Wy-mond-ham be Windham?
And Happ-is-burgh’s Haisboro, yew see,
And Haut-bois....well, thass known as Hobbies.
They reckun thass French - dunt arsk me!

There’s By-laugh whot lay close ter Dereham,
Called Belaw, at least so they say,
And Gar-bold-is-ham-well, jist leave out the middle
Then Garblesham’s the trew Norfolk way.

There’s Colney, well, thass known as Coney,
An’ Cost-ess-ey thas Cossey fer sure.
Hindol-vest-on is well know as Hilderstun,
But please dunt arsk me what for!

The old folk at Wive-ton say Wiffen,
An’ the neartives of Cley will say Clay,
While Glandford’s referred to as Glanfer,
Thass torkin’ the trew Norfolk way.

The Norfolk for Salt-house is Saltus,
An’ Morston - just leave out the T.
While Stody is allus called Study,
That dew seem a rum’un ter me.

There’s Stiffkey what locals call Stukey
An’ their cockles are called Stukey Blews.
Thow, o’ course, the village med headlines
When the parson wuz well in the news.

This list ent complete I assure yew,
But these few are a proof jist ter show
Thass roight trew whot the rhyme say o’ Norfolk....
We allus dew diffrunt, yer know!


Lazy Wind by John Kett

  Please leave your comments or any questions in the FOND Guestbook – as we’d like to hear from yew, tergether!


Lost in Translation; read about the Norfolk Schools Dialect Project.

Return to top

Copyright © www.norfolkdialect.com 2016

Webmaster: Vacant