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Horticultural Aspects

It was in 1829 that Thomas Starling Norgate of Hethersett (Old) Hall produced a prospectus entitled Proposals for Establishing a Norfolk & Norwich Horticultural Society. Its aim would be to encourage communication between members regarding their little "projects and experiments". 

Mainly designed for working gardeners, it would be advantageous to the gentlemen who employed them. The Cottagers would also be encouraged, "by the distribution of small prizes, to make the most of the little plots of land that they may chance to occupy". He noted that "He that takes a delight in his garden has the temptation weakened to resort to the public house for amusement and there waste his time, his health and his money". 

The proposal was accepted and at the inaugural meeting of 22 October, Edward Lombe of Great Melton took the chair, Elias Norgate, Norgate's son was elected secretary and Norgate himself was elected on to the committee. The first general meeting was held at the Swan Inn, Norwich, on 25 November, and among the exhibitors were Rev. T. S. Buckle with specimens of a Norfolk Pippin and of a seedling apple which had been raised in his own garden in Hethersett at the Priory. John Browne, Esq., of Hill House Hethersett, also had fruits of a Hethersett Pippin which had been raised from seed at Hill House and T.S.Norgate exhibited grapes grown at the Old Hall - White Muscadine and Black Cluster.

In 1830, Leonora Norgate, his daughter, designed two silver prize medals for the Society of 1.5 oz and l oz, and a bronze medal. Cottagers were to be presented with a framed, lithographic vignette drawn by Miss Bertha Browne (the daughter of John Browne), entitled The Reward of Industry.