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Norfolk town preserves its heritage, thanks to old guidebook

PUBLISHED: 09:48 15 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:01 15 March 2019

L-R,. town councillor Robert Murphy, Deputy Mayor Mary Seward, councillor David Turner, Mayor Barry Hester, district councillor Eric Seward, Diana Velhagen (local historian), Judy Van Lawick (volunteer from the museum and info centre), and the Rev. Canon Paul Cubitt. Picture: Jenny Melville

L-R,. town councillor Robert Murphy, Deputy Mayor Mary Seward, councillor David Turner, Mayor Barry Hester, district councillor Eric Seward, Diana Velhagen (local historian), Judy Van Lawick (volunteer from the museum and info centre), and the Rev. Canon Paul Cubitt. Picture: Jenny Melville

Archant

It’s a part of a Norfolk town’s heritage that might have been lost for good, if not for an old guidebook.

The new Market Cross history stone plinth at North Walsham, replacing the old one that is almost unreadable on the cross itself. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe new Market Cross history stone plinth at North Walsham, replacing the old one that is almost unreadable on the cross itself. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The inscription on the side of the Clock Tower in the Market Square, North Walsham, dates back to the 1930s, and is slowly wearing away.

North Walsham Town Council wanted to erect a lectern to replace it, using the same words.

However, it was crumbling so badly that some of the wording was illegible.

Luckily, the wording was mentioned in an old town guide belonging to town councillor Dave Turner, who informed stonemason, Nick Hindle, and the work was completed.

The old Market Cross history stone at North Walsham that is almost unreadable, and has been replaced by a new stone plinth. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe old Market Cross history stone at North Walsham that is almost unreadable, and has been replaced by a new stone plinth. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The latest addition to Market Street has now been unveiled, preserving it for posterity.

The new plinth is in front of the water fountain, which itself dates back to 1911, and has also been moved around the town a few times.

Mr Turner said: “We had been looking at replacing the historic stone on the cross for about nine years.

“When we put the Christmas lights up, we get holiday-makers asking us what the words are, as some of them have faded away. Luckily, an old town guide that I found had the wording in it.”

North Walsham Mayor Barry Hester and other dignitaries at the unveiling of the plinth. Picture: David BaleNorth Walsham Mayor Barry Hester and other dignitaries at the unveiling of the plinth. Picture: David Bale

The words on the inscription are, “North Walsham Market Cross, 1549 built by Bishop Thirlby, 1600 damaged by fire repaired by Bishop Redman,

“1897 thoroughly restored as a permanent memorial of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, 1914 Conveyed to the town by ecclesiastical commissioners, 1930 included by the commissioners of works in the list of ancient monuments, the preservation of which is of national importance”.

Town Mayor Barry Hester said the authority’s next project was to clean up the water fountain, which was once used by horses.

“We will be putting a solar-panelled light on it as well,” he added.

Nth Walsham Market Cross lectern. Picture: Nick HindleNth Walsham Market Cross lectern. Picture: Nick Hindle

Mr Hindle, based in The Avenue, Wroxham, said: “The stone was deteriorating so much there was nothing they could do to put it right.

“The same words are on the new lectern as on the old one. It’s a Karin granite lectern. North Walsham’s my home town so it was lovely to be involved in it.”

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