Wayland Partnership Community History

Bishop Launches History Project

By Emma Knights
22 February 2009

It is an ambitious project to create a window into Wayland’s past so that future generations can enjoy the area’s rich history. Now the Wayland Partnership is asking volunteers from Watton and the 13 surrounding villages to get involved and play a key part in recording their heritage.

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James officially launched the Capturing Our Wayland Heritage project at Barn Ruche, on the outskirts of Watton, following a special exhibition encouraging local people to help collate a record of Wayland’s history. The bishop has had a keen interest in the Wayland Partnership after being given a tour of the local area when he first arrived in Norfolk and has already written a foreword to the church tour book. Bishop Graham enthused about the new project and described it as “massive and important” as he addressed the audience at the launch.

The three-year project has been made possible by a £124,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other monies, and amateur historians from the area will have the chance to be specially trained in how to best capture the stories of their town or village’s past.

Some people have already been busy looking into their community’s history and at the exhibition groups living in Ashill, Saham Toney, Thompson, Griston and Watton displayed what they had already discovered. Partnership trustees’ chairman Jan Godfrey said there had been an excellent reaction and some fascinating stories and links had already been discovered.

Bronwen Tyler, a trustee of the Wayland Partnership, said it was hoped volunteer research groups could be formed for each of the villages and Watton itself. She said: “We want as much community involvement as possible. This is a unique area of Norfolk with a lot of important history. We are not being too prescriptive about what we want to find, and we are hoping to find some interesting surprises.” As well as getting involved in the research groups, people can also help by sharing old pictures and documents, and volunteering to be interviewed about their memories from days gone by. Part of the project’s aim is to create a book about Wayland’s history and also to provide information for local archives.

If you would like to get involved with the heritage project contact heritage officer Sue White on 01953 880216 or email contact@wayland.org.uk

Reproduced by kind permission of the Watton and Swaffham Times.

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