The Wreningham Community Archaeology Project got off to a promising start over the weekend of August 11-12 with a total of five test-pits dug in gardens around the village, reports archaeologist Steve Hickling, who is leading the project.

A sunny weekend saw pits being dug in people’s gardens on Wymondham Road, Ashwellthorpe Road, Mill Lane and the B1113 and all the test-pits yielded some interesting results:

Victorian pottery and little bits of tile were unsurprisingly found in all the test-pits and almost all also yielded prehistoric burnt flints (pot-boilers). These are flint pebbles heated in a fire and then thrown into a liquid in order to heat-up that liquid.

In prehistoric times pottery was terrible and would not survive being put on a fire to heat the contents so pot-boilers were used instead. It is thought that they were heating liquid as part of the process of dying cloth or perhaps making beer. A great number were found in Graham’s test-pit on Mill Lane.

Two of the pits yielded medieval pottery. One on Ashwellthorpe Road produced a couple of sherds, and one on Wymondham Road, behind Pear Tree Farmhouse, produced some rather large sherds. This suggests that there is medieval occupation here.

Pear Tree Farm is a lovely c.17th century timber-framed farmhouse. The test pit produced a lot of c.17th century pottery, a posthole and a layer of redeposited yellow clay, which may be spoil from a deep hole dug nearby, or the remains of a demolished clay-lump building. The medieval pottery suggests that the present house may be a rebuilding of a medieval farm.

All the artefacts recovered will be cleaned and passed to an expert for dating and describing.

What Next?

The next step is to excavate a couple more test-pits on Saturday 1st of September. It would be nice if we could have people to help with the two test-pits on the 1st September. Both are in the middle of the village. If anyone else wants to take part, please let me know on 01508481718 or email me on steve.hickling@norfolk.gov.uk.

Ashwellthorpe Road pit

Wymondham Road pit

Mill Lane pit


The Wreningham Community Archaeology Project got underway last night (August 7) with the digging of a test pit on the village playing field, led by local archaeologist Steve Hickling.

Old bricks fragments, pantiles, an iron nail and a fossil were among the items uncovered during the short dig.

A number of villagers took part in the digging and sifting training for the main event which is this coming Saturday, August 11, and it is still not too late for anyone to take part.

Villagers are invited to dig a 1m square pit in their garden, sift the soil layer by layer and pick out anything of interest for experts who will be on hand in the village hall to identify finds. You will then get a fascinating insight into the history of your house and land. Pits will be filled in afterwards.

The weekend will start at 10am when everyone will gather at the Village Hall for instructions and anyone who is interested in digging a pit or simply lending a hand (the more the merrier) to those who have already volunteered their gardens.

All the information gathered will be looked at by experts and form part of an official archaeological report. Becky Sillwood, a freelance finds (artefacts) expert will be on hand in the village hall on Saturday if anyone wants to show her anything they have found for identification.

There will be a barbecue for participants from 6pm onwards at the Village Hall social club, so please bring something to barbecue, and the bar will hopefully be open.

If you are interested you can simply turn up at 10am but if possible please contact steve.hickling@norfolk.gov.uk beforehand.

The Step-by-Step guide to digging an archaeological pit is here:
ACA field academy handbook 2011 final
and the test pit record booklet is here:
ACA test pit record b&w 2014

Pictured above are villagers during the test pit dig on Wreningham playing field last night.


Wreningham has paid a special tribute to a well-loved local postman – Pat Maidment – with a community meal and his own special postbox erected at the village hall.

Known, of course, as Postman Pat, he lived in the village for over 30 with wife Jill. Pat worked for the Post Office his whole career from the age of 16, until he died last March, aged 60, from a brain tumour.

After a community Sunday lunch in the village hall on March 4, around 40 family and friends gathered together outside the hall to watch Pat’s brother Mark unveil the special black postbox, which had been erected on the wall of the hall by some of Pat’s many friends in the village.

Friend Trevor Wadlow said: “There was a strong feeling in the village that we wanted to do something to recognise what a truly memorable and well-loved character Pat was and a postbox seemed a fitting tribute. We hope it will help preserve fond memories of Pat for us all for many years to come.”

Pat and Jill moved to Wreningham in 1986 and Jill said Pat worked for the Post Office since he left school at the age of 16. He started as a messenger boy and then became a postman, based at Thorpe Road in Norwich.

Commenting on the tribute, Jill said: “It means a lot to me and the family. I knew he had a lot of friends in the village, but it is great to know that so many people genuinely liked and thought well of him. It is comforting to know he is well thought of and people still think of him now. A postbox is an entirely appropriate memorial.”

Pictured above are Pat Maidment’s wife Jill, brother Mark and other close family members with the new postbox erected in his memory at Wreningham Village Hall. Picture by Michael Hill.


UK Power Networks (UKPN) maintains the electricity network in the South East and East of England. In the light of Storm Fionn, due to hit the area this evening, they have re-issued advice to remind its customers about what to do in the event of a power cut.

The electricity network is built to be resilient but extreme weather can damage overhead power lines resulting in some customers losing their electricity supply.  Where this happens UKPN work to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. Their contact centre is there to help customers whose electricity supply might be affected by adverse weather, and UKPN deploy additional engineers to repair the overhead lines and poles as soon as it is safe to work.

Regular updates on the website www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk and social media @UKPowerNetworks throughout periods of windy weather.

If you experiencing a power cut you should:

  • Call 105 to report power cuts and damage to the electricity network, or 0800 3163 105 (from a corded phone or mobile phone if you have no power)
  • Visit www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk for the latest updates
  • Visit www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/powercut and type in your postcode to view the live power cut map
  • Tweet @ukpowernetworks to report a power cuts or to receive updates.

UKPN advise you to stay clear of power lines and report damaged power lines immediately by calling 105 free from a landline or a mobile phone. If you see electricity lines that are down or causing significant risk to the public you should call 999.

UKPN provide extra help to customers on the Priority Service Register during a power cut. Households with older or disabled people, those with children under five, or where someone uses medical or mobility equipment that requires electricity as well as other reasons can join the register. Further information about the Priority Service on the website: ukpowernetworks.co.uk/priority.

If you would like to share information about preparing for the storm or the priority service register on social media you might like to use the following:

  • @UKPowerNetworks has extra staff on hand 24/7 to deal with the impact of storms
  • Call 105 to report a powercut and visit www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/powercut for the latest updates

Do you, or someone you know, need extra support during a power cut? @UKPowerNetworks provides free services to vulnerable customers. Visit ukpowernetworks.co.uk/priority for more information.

Preparing for a power cut

  • Add 105 to the contacts on your mobile phone
  • Keep our Freephone 0800 3163 105 number handy
  • See www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/powercuts for useful videos and advice during a power cut.
  • Locate a torch, check it is working and that you have spare batteries. Take care if using candles.
  • Charge up your mobile phone, and a rechargeable mobile ‘powerbank’ if you have one
  • Use a phone with a cord if you have one, cordless phones don’t work in a power cut
  • Keep fridges and freezers closed, with a blanket over as they will stay cold for many hours
  • Switch off all your electrical equipment, except one light which will let you know when the power comes back on
  • Street lights may also be off so take care if you go out
  • Dress in warm clothes
  • Look out for vulnerable neighbours

This is early warning of a talk by the Archaeologist, John Newman, who worked on the 2014 dig at the Bird in Hand.

The talk will be held in the Village Hall on 16th February 2018 at 8pm. Mr Newman will talk about the finds from the Bird in Hand and also discuss potential for further finds from the planned Summer dig in the village. Meeting information on the Summer 2018 Dig.

This is a village project and all are encouraged to find out how they may make discoveries in their own gardens under the supervision of trained professionals. Steve Hickling will host the meeting and be ready to answer your questions.

 


A welcome pack for new residents to Wreningham has been published in print and online, providing useful information and a warm welcome to village life.

Written by parish councillor Keith Morris, the Welcome Pack contains information about village history, local government, faith, village hall, regular events, clubs and societies, facilities, education, media, public transport, health and useful contacts.

You can download a copy by clicking here

The packs are being delivered to new village residents. If you are new to Wreningham and have not received one, please contact council chairman, Michael Hill at wrendriff@gmail.com


A potentially life-saving public access defibrillator has been installed in the South Norfolk village of Wreningham, thanks to the parish council and the National Lottery.

The automated external defibrillator can play a vital role in saving people’s lives and works by detecting an irregular heart rhythm and then sending an electric shock to restore a normal one.

The £2,000 defibrillator, which is available to the public 24 hours a day, was paid for by a grant from the National Lottery and purchased off the Community Heartbeat Trust. It is now fixed to the wall of the village hall next to its car park, near the centre of the village.

Parish council chairman, Michael Hill, said: “Our thanks go to the Mulbarton First Responders Group and the National Lottery for helping us to follow through on our plan to secure a defibrillator for the village. It is positioned at the village hall as it is well located and the hall regularly hosts sizeable events including dancing, Zumba and private parties.

“We know that with a cardiac arrest, every minute is vital and the chances of survival go down by 7-10% with every minute’s delay in using a defibrillator.

“We have arranged life-saving training sessions for villagers already but the equipment is designed to be used by anyone.”

In the event of an emergency ring 999 and they will direct you to the nearest defibrillator and give you a code to access the box. The device will literally tell you what to do and will only give an electric shock if it is needed. It is perfectly safe for anyone to use, no training is needed.

Wreningham Village Hall is located on Mill Lane, NR16 1AN.

If you live near Wreningham and would like further information and to join the next training course, please email Michael at wrendriff@gmail.com

Pictured above is Michael Hill, right, with the defibrillator, and fellow villagers Hughie Glaves, left, and Chris Peachment.


Rev Suzanne Cooke said goodbye to the Upper Tas Valley Benefice in South Norfolk at All Saints in Wreningham on Sunday morning (July 2) at her final service before moving to begin a new ministry in Northumberland.

Suzanne is taking up the post of vicar of Doddington, Ilderton, Kirknewton and Wooler and will be licensed at Kirknewton on July 27. She is moving with husband Adrian and children Alice and Toby.

She was part-time priest-in-charge of six parishes, eight churches and four church schools, including Wreningham, in the Upper Tas Valley Benefice for just over four years.

Parishioners said goodbye at a party in Ashwellthorpe Village Hall on June 24 and a farewell service at All Saints Tacolneston on June 24. They presented Suzanne with money to buy her own set of vestments.

Her final act in Norfolk was to celebrate a Book of Common Prayer (BCP) Holy Communion service in Wreningham on July 1 with a congregation of over 40.

She said: ”I have felt most at home here in Wreningham, partly thanks to lots of small acts of kindness.

”I am very proud of what we have achieved here, increasing the congregation for the BCP service from small beginnings of around 5 or 6 to 20 to 25.

”Jesus model of ministry is to go and then stay and love and then to move on. It can appear tough but we need to trust that Jesus knows what is best for us all. For me it is now time to take the message and move on.

”I am still fully committed to rural ministry and I will take all the things you have taught me into my new role – so thank you.”

While part of the Diocese of Norwich, Suzanne also helped to run a creative worship service called Soul Circus at Norwich Cathedral, led a chaplaincy team at the Royal Norfolk Show and was a regular columnist for Network Norfolk.

Pictured is Rev Suzanne Cooke during her final service at All Saints, Wreningham.


A Parish Council work party gave the village playing field a spring clean and make-over on Saturday April 8.

From 8.30am to 3pm several hardy souls undertook to clean up the playing field and the play equipment on it. Jon put his pressure washer to good use and washed away years of grime from the zip wire platform, the skate park, the shelter, the table, swings and dolphin. Josh, Hughie and Michael worked on the grass covered mats – lifting them, cleaning away layers of earth and grass, and then replacing them. The turf came in handy to restore the grass under and around the shelter. Anne applied the graffiti remover with vim & vigour to the skate park. Meanwhile Keith fitted a set of goal nets onto one of the goal posts and cleaned the posts before helping with the mats.

Thank you everyone for your work. Especial thanks to Christine for allowing us to connect to her tap to provide water for the pressure washer.

So much done and still more to do. We will be arranging for at least one more day of effort to tackle the equipment we did not have time to spruce up. Watch out for announcements, we would love to see more helpers.


There have been several instances of the theft of lead from Church roofs reported in the press recently.

The police believe a blue Seat Alhambra may be involved. They ask you to ring 999 if you see this vehicle or anyone acting suspiciously near a Church. Please do not approach them yourselves – just ring 999, advise them of your suspicions and quote “Operation Randell”