I grew up just outside Norwich, and am currently writing a book on women and horses. I found a reference in Sarah Josepha Hale's Womens' Record (1853) to a woman called Mary Breese:
A SINGULAR character, was born at Lynn, in Norfolk, England, in 1721. She regularly took out a shooting license, kept hounds, and was a sure shot. She died in 1799. By her desire, her dogs and favourite mare were killed at her death and buried in the grave with her. “
Mary was actually born in Lyng, not Lynn, and I've found both her will and her grave in Great Witchingham, although I doubt that horse and hounds were buried there because of churchyard restrictions. I've also found her father, Robert, mentioned as an otter huntsman in the area in 1726.
I'm now trying to find a connection – the missing link if you like – between Mary and the story that Sarah Hale wrote. Mary must have been quite famous for her story to cross to America, but I can't find contemporary references to it. Mary was a spinster who left property in Elsing to a nephew called John Smith (not the most helpful name). Has anyone come across any further references to her? I would be hugely grateful for any help.