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Norfolk pub’s paviour floor a top 20 example of history at our feet

PUBLISHED: 06:30 07 June 2016

The Dabbling Duck in Great Massingham. Picture: Ian Burt

The Dabbling Duck in Great Massingham. Picture: Ian Burt

The rustic red and tan tiles have been worn smooth by the soles of generations of drinkers, many of whom may not have given a second glance to what laid beneath.

The floor at the Dabbling Duck pub in Great Massingham has been named as one of the 20 most historically significant in the UK. The floor at the Dabbling Duck pub in Great Massingham has been named as one of the 20 most historically significant in the UK.

But now an old Norfolk village pub has been named as having one of Britain’s most historic floors.

The Dabbling Duck at Great Massingham has been named among 20 of the country’s most historically significant floors, alongside the Chapter House steps at Wells Cathedral and Westminster Abbey’s 13th century Cosmati Pavement.

The brick paviour floor of St Agnes’, Cawston, near Aylsham, is also on the list, drawn up by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB).

The selection has been published as part of the heritage charity’s History at Your Feet campaign to raise awareness of the importance of old floors.

The ancient tiled floor of St Agnes Church Cawston. Picture: Miles Jermy The ancient tiled floor of St Agnes Church Cawston. Picture: Miles Jermy

The tiles and boards at the Dabbling Duck were chosen to represent the thousands of old pubs throughout the country where the shoes of centuries of drinkers have left an indelible impression.

The pub, near Fakenham, is now enjoying a renaissance after being closed for nearly six years. It reopened in 2006 following a campaign from villagers to prevent the building being converted into housing.

SPAB director Matthew Slocombe said: “The Dabbling Duck stands for the thousands of pubs that have been lost and for the thousands more facing an uncertain future.

“We looked for the ‘beautiful and useful’, and often, as in the case of pubs like the Dabbling Duck, that beauty comes through the patina of wear and age.”

Cawston Church team vicar, the Rev Andrew Whitehead said the ancient brick floor was one of many historic features that stood out.

He said: “There can be a tension between keeping these buildings as good as can be and making them work for the future. It should help us gain support from the public and funding bodies to preserve these features going forward.”

Also on the list are the medieval tiles of All Saints’ Church at Icklingham, near Bury St Edmunds.

The importance of floors is being highlighted by SPAB as a direct physical connection to a space and a link to the footsteps of those who have gone before.

Have you got a heritage story? Email miles.jermy@archant.
co.uk

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