Oxnead Hall event massive success

Chronicle in action  High tea

An invitation-only afternoon at Oxnead Hall, a main home of the Paston family over the centuries, was held on Friday, September 26 to celebrate the Paston Heritage Society's 21st birthday and to launch Chronicle's new book: Oxnead – a Paston Treasure.

About 85 people enjoyed the gardens at the Hall, by kind permission of the current owners, Beverley and David Aspinall. The weather could hardly have been improved – warm, dry and with frequent sunshine. Strolling in the grounds was followed by a 45-minute performance by Chronicle, an offshoot of the PHS which consists of poets Caroline Gilfillan, Tim Lenton and Rob Knee, who is also chair of the society. They were assisted by Dot Lenton on violin for one of the songs.

Following the performance PHS volunteers, including Ruth Bird, Brigette Evans, Anne Digby and Penny Knee, provided a memorable high tea, with sandwiches, cakes and biscuits. A birthday cake was provided by PHS member Christine Damen and was cut by Lucy Care, joint founder of the Paston Heritage Society, with Rob Knee's assistance. Lucy was able to attend the last part of the afternoon despite her illness.


Some comments from visitors: 

  • It was a rare opportunity to visit Oxnead Hall, and the performance by Chronicle brought the Paston family and their wonderful house and gardens to life. So now we know that home-improvement is not just a modern-day obsession! And the Afternoon Tea was delicious... all very genteel and cultivated!
  • What a wonderful afternoon yesterday to form a treasured memory of a happy, entertaining, beautifully organised, relaxing  and friendly time spent in a stunning atmospheric place. I have so often walked over the river and admired Oxnead Hall. It was so thrilling to have an invitation to visit, and the treat lived up to every part of the expectation.
  • ​Thanks to everyone at the Paston Heritage Society for such a great day. Looking forward to the event at St. Margaret's Church, Paston, on the 11th.
  • ​Chronicle performance really good - entertaining and informative. Loved the varied use of the three different voices as well. Tea & cakes lovely, and a privilege to wander round beautiful Oxnead. Many thanks for invite. 
  • Just wanted to say thank you for a really enjoyable afternoon yesterday - it was a great way to learn more about the Paston family.

The event was made possible especially through the hard work of chair Rob Knee, both in terms of paving the way, hours of organisation and tireless activity on the day itself. He was assisted by many willing volunteers, including re-enactors from the PHS. The book, Oxnead – a Paston Treasure, was written by members of Chronicle and edited by Tim Lenton. It is available at Paston events or by contacting the PHS, at £5 each. Also available on the day and at Paston events are Chronicle's earlier book, Another Country, and the accompanying CD, Margaret Paston: a Norfolk Heroine.

The highly praised costumes and set at Oxnead were by Penny Knee.

Pictures are by Paul Damen. They show Chronicle in performance; a section of the high tea served afterwards; and Rob Knee and Lucy Care cutting the anniversary vake.

The event was featured in the EDP. Please click here.