Skeyton Village Hall
Skeyton Village Hall

The Village Sign.

The following article was written by Colin Ewing in 1981.

Skeyton is to have a village sign which promises to be a unique and fascinating landmark.

The idea was born last year and put to the Annual Parish Meeting. A sub committee was formed to raise funds and commission a suitable design. Local historians were consulted and the following facts about the village gradually emerged.

There is ample evidence that Skeyton was a Roman settlement. Coins and pots have been dug up in the past. It is highly likely that the Romans diverted the stream just past Felmingham Hall which forms the north west boundary of the Parish. The reason was to flood surrounding land to grow sedges. These were used to thatch roofs. The Saxon word for sedge is skegge. Hence Skegge – town of Skeyton.

The Goat Inn at Stake Bridge takes its name from the fact that goats grazed on the meadows in mediaeval times and were tied up for milking there. It is thought that these goats belonged to the Abbot of Sloley Priory and that pigs were grazed in open fields around Swanton Abbott – Swanton being a corruption of ‘swine’.

Another well known feature of Skeyton’s past is the brick kiln just behind the church. This is claimed to have specialised in chimney pots which were cream in colour. This local  history was first put to the schoolchildren at Skeyton to see what designs they could produce. Most of them preferred agricultural associations such as tractors, ploughs and horses. There were one or two Roman soldiers and a few goats as well.

The next step was to find a willing woodcarver. This proved to be quite difficult. Most signs in Norfolk seem to have been made by Mr Harry Carter form Swaffham. He has now virtually retired and the committee felt that they wanted something different in any case.

In the event Mr Joe Dawes from Corpusty was contacted. He is a well known carver who has worked on the restoration of many of the nation’s important buildings. For instance, the House of Lords. Although he was very busy he agreed and produced a design that excited everyone. Mr Dawes felt strongly that the sign should be fun, that it should raise a smile from passers by. His idea was a Roman soldier clambering uo a chimney pot to avoid an angry gost. A sheaf of sedges completes the scene. The committee readily accepted his proposal.

The next step was to raise the money. Fortunately the fund had a good start because there was still the residue from the ‘Three parishes Gala’. A coffee morning at the Od Rectory and celebrations at the Village Hall on the Royal Wedding Day were extremely well patronised. Nearly everyone in the Parish has now paid up to sign the Roll of Honour which will eventually be buried at the base of the sign.

As the materials need to be of high quality the committee were fortunate when Mr B L Bunting found a suitable post at Manor Farm. This was originally an old beam in one of his farm buildings.

It is intended to erect the sign in the coming months on the edge of the playing field near Skeyton Village Hall. The committee members were Mrs D Woodham, F Purple, D Wretham, Messrs M Flood, G Morton, R Bradbury, P Randell, T Lambert (secretary), and C Ewing (chairman). They would like to thank everyone who has supported them so willingly.
Colin Ewing

Thirty years later the sign was in need of some TLC. On November 6th 2010 it returned to it's home in the grounds of the village hall, following the loving restoration ,courtesy of David Pennington and the Parish Council.

Here we go!       

Has the new paint made it

All hands to the pump

It came down much easier
than this.

Back home at last.

The homecoming is given a
Welcoming Committee




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