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Hethersett, Sri Lanka

Villagers in Hethersett, Norfolk, England, are being invited to take a cut price holiday break in Sri Lanka - at the tropical Hethersett tea plantation, 5,500 miles from home.

The invitation comes after villagers discovered a tea factory founded by their ancestors hundreds of years ago had been converted into a luxury hotel.

The hotel is set in the heart of Hethersett estate and even boasts a Hethersett bar.

Colin Wilson, chairman of Hethersett Jubilee Youth Club, stumbled across the hidden link when he received a letter telling him about the hotel.

I was over the moon when I found out about it. I think it is a wonderful tale. It is a lovely hotel and looks quite magnificent, he said.

The abandoned factory was discovered by hotel director Gaurin Wickremasinghe, who converted it into a hotel two years ago. He is now hoping to meet up with villagers from Hethersett in Norfolk.

He discovered that the plantation was founded by William Flowerdew, a former, Hethersett resident, who left Norfolk around 1879.

He is reputed to have set up the plantation and named it after his home village, but then returned to England by 1881.

Mr Wickramasinghe said: "I found out that the tea plantation was founded by the Flowerdew family and decided to find out more about them."

He has offered anyone with a Hethersett address a 20 per cent discount on accommodation at the Tea Factory Hotel.

He said: "Hethersett is a charming village. I found the two pubs very interesting and visited the famous Ketts Oak and found the gravestone of one of the Flowerdew family."

Facts about the Hethersett Factory in Sri Lanka


The factory produced some of the best Ceylon Tea for 50 years

The factory produced half a million kilograms of tea per year.

All the machinery was powered by one engine which now stands in the entrance lobby.

Tea from the Hethersett factory was the first to fetch the highest price in the world for silver tip tea from Ceylon ( a hand-rolled, sun dried whole leaf tea).

Hethersett tea was auctioned in London for 1.10s.6d over 30 times the average price for a pound of tea.

The original plantation, bought by William Flowerdew, consisted of 250 acres of which he planted 150 acres with cinchona.

The factory closed in 1973 due to cost-cutting and old-fashioned machinery.

Hethersett, Sri Lanka, is 6,800 feet above sea level and six degrees from the Equator.

We have also come across a Presbyterian Ladies college in Melbourne, Australia, which apparently is named after our Hethersett. To read about this Follow this link