The drama critic of the Daily Telegraph and the Morning
Post Clement Scott arrived in Norfolk in August 1883.
Unable to find himself accommodation he was put up in
the Miller’s House in Sidestrand. He was so taken with
the area that he wrote a number of articles in the
newspapers expounding the virtues of Norfolk, which
eventually resulted in Cromer and the surrounding area
becoming a fashionable place for holidays for the rich
and famous. He named his articles and, subsequent book
Poppy-land. The book was dedicated to the Miller's
The term Poppy-Land was due to the vast quantities of
poppies which grew in, and around, the area which he so
loved. One of his favourite places and for which he
wrote a poem entitled ‘The Garden of Sleep’, was the
church tower of St. Michael and All Angels at
The church and churchyard stood right on the cliffs and
as the land around it was gradually eroded the locals
decided to re-locate their community church further
inland. They dismantled the church stone by stone and
rebuilt it on its current site.
However, they left the church tower on the cliffs and
also the old graveyard. Every New Year's Eve for 15
years Scott walked along Tower Lane to the old church
tower and churchyard and spent the last few moments of
the old year on the cliffs in the place he called his
Garden of Sleep.
As the sea continued to claim the land, the locals had
the disconcerting sight of seeing the coffins and the
remains of those who had been buried in the church since
the 15th Century, tumbling one by one, piece by piece
into the crashing waves below.
Clement Scott died in 1904 and some say that in later
life he regretted that he had made Norfolk famous and
that he commented that it was no longer the lovely rural
landscape he had first visited in 1883.
The Church tower eventually fell over the cliffs in
1915/16, though its image continued to be used on
postcards right up to the 1930’s.The new church St.
Michael and All Angels at Sidestrand used the headstones
from the old churchyard to line the wall by the road.
The Garden of Sleep by Clement Scott
On the grass of the cliff, at the edge of the
God planted a garden - a garden of sleep!
'Neath the blue of the sky, in the green of the
It is there that the regal red poppies are born!
Brief days of desire, and long dreams of delight,
They are mine when my Poppy-Land cometh in sight.
In music of distance, with eyes that are wet,
it is there I remember, and there I forget!
O! heart of my heart! Where the poppies are born,
I am waiting for thee, in the hush of the corn.
From the Cliff to the Deep!
Sleep, my Poppy-Land,
In my garden of sleep, where red poppies are
I wait for the living, along with the dead!
For a tower in ruins stands guard o'er the deep,
At whose feet are green graves of dear women
Did they love as I love, when they lived by the
Did they wait, as I wait, for the days that may
Was it hope or fulfilling that entered each
Ere death gave release, and the poppies gave rest?
O! Life of my life! On the cliffs by the sea,
By the graves in the grass, I am waiting for thee!
In the dews by the deep!
Sleep, my Poppy-Land,