Fine outlook for annual meeting – and dates for diaries!

An auspicious 13 members attended the annual meeting of the Paston Heritage Society, which took place at 7.30pm on THURSDAY 23rd APRIL in the MANOR HOTEL, MUNDESLEY. This was a new setting for us, and we enjoyed the sea view and comfortable chairs – not to mention the excellent sandwiches, provided by member Jo Berry. Many thanks to her.

Both chair Rob Knee and treasurer Peter Stibbons spoke about the Paston Footprints project with the UEA, and the large amount of work required from all sides. Rob Knee reported on good progress with the planned changes at Paston Church. Peter said there were about 20 paying members of the society, and it would be good to obtain more. But the financial state of the society was healthy overall. All officers were re-elected, and Peter showed some slides of Rob in costume for his Cromer talks and some pictures of the 3D work done on Paston Church and the revealed wall paintings.

Dates for members' diaries:

  • Talk by Stephen Heywood, Norfolk County Council's historic buildings adviser, at Bromholm Priory on May 16 (11-1) – cost £2.
  • Hellesdon Carnival, July 18 - with participation by PHS and Elizabeth Macdonald from UEA.
  • Major event in Paston Church on Sunday, July 26


Chairman's Report

The highlight of our year was the celebration of the Paston Heritage Society’s 21st birthday on the 26th of September. Beautiful weather and beautiful surroundings at Oxnead Hall (with the kind permission of Beverley and David Aspinall) helped to make this a very special day. Many thanks to the individuals who help us to run these important events with their hard work producing teas, selling books, re-enacting, performing, maintaining mailing lists, photography and general organisation: 21 years of successful events have relied on such support!

The same teams were in action a few weeks later when we supported a day at St Margaret’s Church in Paston. This was a celebration of the completion of the first part of major works at the church aimed at restoration and enhancement.

One of the discoveries of the restoration work included further glimpses of the original wall paintings in the church.  Since last autumn we have been successful with two bids to the Coastal Partnership’s Social Development Fund, the first to produce 3D images of the paintings (with thanks to the skills of James Mindham) and the second to follow this year – community art and craft workshops with the aim of exploring the images further and producing an exhibition.

In January we produced the first issue of our magazine, A Paston Letter, with a second edition to follow later this year. The magazine will provide opportunities for sharing insights and research into the Paston Letters. In this vein we have also been very active in providing talks and presentations to the Cromer Society, Aylsham Local History Society, Dereham Antiquarian Society and the Friends of the Norwich Museums.

Currently we are linking with the University of East Anglia to seek lottery funding to enable further Paston-related material to be bought into easy public access.

We shall continue, with the resources at our disposal, to work with a wide range of partners, contributing to a wide range of activities. Here’s to the next 21 years!  

Rob Knee