Monday, 3 November 2008

Our village sign

History of the village sign
The village sign was re-installed in September this year. Here is some background to the history and design of the sign (based on information provided by the current Women’s Institute).

The original Old Buckenham village sign was unveiled on 23rd June 1979 by the then WI County Chairman, Jill Scott, in the presence of local WI officers and members and Audrey Juby (the then WI County Secretary). The sign was made by wood carver Steve Eggleton of Banham.
The creation and erection of a sign had been chosen by the village Women’s Institute as its charity of the year. Three different designs were put on display at different functions so that villagers could look at them and offer their comments.
To achieve their goal, the members set themselves the task of raising £600 - a considerable sum in those days for only a small institute. However, they accumulated £580 thanks to members’ hard work and generous supporters who had given donations. Permission was given by Breckland District Council for the sign to be placed on the village green between an oak and the jubilee tree and was mounted on a brick plinth given by Reg Sturman, a builder who lived in the village.

The deer on the sign represent the derivation of the name Buckenham (from the number of bucks which abounded in its Great Park).
The three figures on the top of the sign represent the local blacksmith (whose house was on the Green), a monk from Buckenham Priory and a cricketer. Cricket is important to the village because in 1911 a Lionel Robinson bought Old Buckenham Hall and was responsible for the famous cricket ground, soil for the foundation of which was brought from Australia. The village became famous for one day in 1921 when the Australian team, captained by Armstrong, played a match on this ground against an All-England XI captained by A C McLaren. The England team included Chapman, Fender, Hobbs, Jupp and White. Jack Hobbs always said that he played his finest innings in that match at Old Buckenham.
The main part of the village sign shows the local miller. There were several windmills in the village. The only existing mill in the village today is the one in Mill Road built in 1819. At one time this was owned by J & J Colman of Carrow Road, Norwich. It has undergone extensive renovation by the NorfolkWindmill Trust and had sails put in position in the 1990s. It is said to have the widest tower in the country at 23 feet across.
The coats of arms on the village sign belong to William d’Albini (later Earl of Chichester and Earl of Arundel). His estates included Attleborough, Wymondham, Snetsham and Kenninghall and he had to perform the service of 'Butler' at coronations in return for his vast estates. This office is held by the Dukes of Norfolk today as Earls of Arundel, as they are the present legal descendants of the d'Albinis.

If you have a chance to look carefully at the actual real sign (rather than just a photograph) you will find that there are subtle differences between the pictorial panels on one side to those on the other.


Celia D said...


I am very interested in discovering more about Lionel Robinson's purchase of Old Buckenham Hall. In particular, your mention of the fact that soil for the foundation of the cricket ground was brought over from Australia. Do you have evidence of this? Any information would be greatly appreciated!

I know this is an old post (2008) but hope that you can help me.

Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

Celia D
Hope you see this as I have no other way of making contact.
An article in a booklet on sporting life in Old Buckenham says:
In 1906, however, cricket in Old Buckenham became of great importance for in this year a Lionel Robinson, an immensely wealthy Australian stockbroker from Melbourne who had offices in London, bought the Old Buckenham Hall estate from Prince Frederick Duleep Singh (whose guardian in this country was none other than Queen Victoria). This was a factor which must have brought Lionel Robinson to the notice of the top social circles to which he aspired. He had a passion for cricket and in addition to rebuilding Buckenham Hall in an extravagant style, he erected splendid stables for a racing stud and sought to create a first class•cricket ground in the middle of his shooting estates.
Robinson‘s cricket ground was specially and scientifically constructed with clay from a lake on the estate. The clay was bound together with chickenwire netting and covered with fine turf specially imported from Australia. He aimed to create a cricket square as fast as those common in Australia and to stage first class cricket matches upon it. He employed a Archie MacIaren, a famous county gentleman cricketer and former English captain before the First World War, as his cricketing manager and provided him with a house on the estate. Archie was also a well known cricket correspondent for the press and particularly in the specialist 'Cricketer' magazine. At Old Buckenham he set about the task of developing cricket of the highest order.
I can send you more if you can provide an email address. Thanks.

Celia D said...

Thank you so much for your speedy reply. Your information has been extremely helpful! Any other information you are able to provide can be sent to my email:

Thanks again!