Rocklands, Norfolk

The Villages of Rockland All Saints and Rockland St Peter

Home The VillageFacilities and OrganisationsClubs and Leisure activitiesBusiness DirectoryThe Parish CouncilBygone Rocklands2001 CensusLinks

Kemp's Visit to Rockland

Will Kemp was an actor and buffoon, a friend of Shakespeare's.
He danced the morris from London to Norwich in 1599

On Munday morning I daunst to Rockland ere I rested, and comming to my inne, where the Hoast was a very boone companion, I desir'd to see him:but in no case he would be spoken with till he had shifted himselfe from his working dayes sute. Being armed at all poyntes, from the cap to the codpeece, his blacke shooes shining and made straght with copper buckles of the best, his garters in the fashion, and every garment fitting Corremsquandam (to use his owne word), he enters the Hall, with his bonnet in his hand, began to crye out:
"O Kemp,deere Master Kemp! you are euan as welcome as-as-as-," and so stammering he began to study for a fit comparison, and, I thanke him, at last he fitted me; for saith he, "thou art even as welcome as the Queenes best greyhound." After this dogged yet well-meaning salutation, the carrowses were called in; and my friendly hoast of Rockland began withall this, blessing the houre vppon his knees, that any of the Queenes Maiesties well-willers or friends would vouchsafe to come within his house; as if never any such had been within his dooes before.

I tooke his good meaning, and gaue him great thankes for his kindenesse; and hauing rested mee well, began to take my course for Hingham, whether my honest hoast of Rockland would needs be my guide: but'good true fat-belly, he had not followed mee two fieldes, but he lyes all along, and cryes after me to come backe and speake with him. I fulfild his request; and comming to him, "Dauncer," quoth hee, " if thou daunce a Gods name, God speede thee ! I cannot follow thee a foote farther; but adieu, good dauncer: God speed thee, if thou daunce a Gods name!"

I,having haste of my way, and he being able to keep no way, there wee parted. Farewell he: he was a kinde good fellow, a true Troyan; and if euer be my lucke to meete him at more leasure, Ile make him full amendes with a cup full of canarie. Bur nowe I am a little better aduis'd, wee must not thus let my madde hoast passe; for my friend late mentioned before, that made the odde rime on my maide-Marian, would needes remember my hoast. Such as it is, Ile bluntly set downe.

He was a man not over spare;
In his eyebals dwelt no care.
"Anon,anon," and "Welcome, Friend,"
Were the most words he usde to spend,
Save sometime he would sit and tell
What wonders once in Bullayne fell,
Closing each period of his tale
With a full cup of nut-browne ale.
Turwin and Turneys siedge were hot,
Yet all my hoast remembers not:
Kets field and Muscleborough fray
Were battles fought but yesterday.
"O, 'twas a goodly matter then
To see your sword and buckler men !
But I would meete them every where:
And now a man is but a pricke:
A boy, arm'd with a poating sticke,
Will adre to challenge cutting Dicke.
O 'tis a world the world to see !
But twill not mend for thee nor mee."
By this some guest cryes "Ho, the house!"
A fresh friend hath a fresh carouse:
Still he will drinke, and still be dry,
And quaffe with euery company.
Saint Martin send him merry mates,
To enter at is hostree gates!
For a blither lad than he
Cannot an innkeeper be