Village FINALLY gets a sign after 1,000-year wait

The first ever Hemblington sign is unveiled by Tony Howe, chairman of Hemblington Parish Council

Pictured from left to right are Jean Wace, widow of Christopher Wace who formed the first Hemblington Parish Council, Sue Smith, winner of the initial sign concept competition, Caroline Ramsay, parish councillor and maker of the finished sign and Tony Howe, chairman Hemblington Parish Council - Credit: Contributed

It's been on the map for the best part of a millennium - but one Norfolk village has never even had its own sign. 

Until now. 

Despite being referenced in the Domesday Book, the village of Hemblington has not been able to signal its name to passers-by.

So Hemblington's parish council held a competition for villagers to design a piece which would finally tick the box.

After a final delay caused by Covid, the ribbon was finally cut on Saturday.

Villagers gather for the inauguration ceremony of Hemblington's new sign 

Villagers gather for the inauguration ceremony of Hemblington's new sign - Credit: Contributed

Parish councillor Caroline Ramsay was there for the historic unveiling and said the size of the village had held back its plight for an identifier. 

Ms Ramsay, who herself manufactured the sign with help from Mitchell House, based at Alby Crafts, said: "Because we are such a small parish council we literally had no budget and it was one of those things that never came up on the agenda.

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"People around the village have all been very supportive. It is lovely to have a bit of identity for the core of the village.

Hemblington's first village sign

Hemblington's new village sign - Credit: Caroline Ramsay

"The sign was originally modelled from clay, from which a mould was created to allow the final sign to be cast from then painted." 

Sue Smith, who lives in Cutton's Corner, won the competition to create the design.

The new sign depicts the Anglo-Saxon All Saints Church and a boot, representing shoemaker Jeremiah Cutton.

Mr Cutton was born in October 1850 and lived in Cutton's Corner, adjacent to the sign's location. 

Alongside the church, the sign illustrates the predominant farming influence of the village through a tractor and geese. Trees can also be seen to reflect the various woodlands.

Ribbon cutting by Sue Smith, of Cutton’s Corner, who was the winner of the original concept design competition for the sign

Ribbon cutting by Sue Smith, of Cutton’s Corner, who was the winner of the original concept design competition for the sign - Credit: Contributed

Jean Wace, widow of Christopher Wace who formed the first Hemblington Parish Council, was also among those in attendance for the ceremony.

A spokeswoman for the parish council said: "Hemblington is a very small village with few amenities and had never had its own village sign, so it is a historical day in the village calendar." 

Parish councillor, Caroline Ramsay undertook the task to organise, design, construction and installation of the village sign

Parish councillor, Caroline Ramsay undertook the task to organise, design, construction and installation of the village sign - Credit: Contributed

Mike Harvey from Woodbastwick Forge created a steel support for the sign, while Roger Pointer and his team at A11 Maintenance Services made the brick and flint base.

Hemblington has now got its first ever village sign

Hemblington has now got its first ever village sign - Credit: Caroline Ramsay

  • What is the Domesday Book? 

The Domesday Book is Britain's earliest public record. 

It was commissioned by William I in 1085. 

It contains the results of a huge survey of land and landowners at the time. 

It gives an insight into the medieval world and is by far the most complete record of pre-industrial society. 

According to the Domesday entry for Hemblington the village contained 15 freemen - those who owned their land but owed services to its lord - and one smallholder. 

Hemblington also had three men's plough teams and nine acres of meadow. 

Previously to 1086 it is recorded as having a freeman as the lord in 1066, and Earl Gyrth as its overlord. 

Hemblington is now home to a few hundred households and around 330 people. 

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