The Mystery Deepens: Roydon Village Sign Now Missing

On Sunday, I was travelling back from Diss when I noticed that the Roydon village sign was missing. Until recently, it stood outside the Village Hall on an unusual base, which features a bench built into classic East Anglian knapped flint walls. It’s now in a sorry state, with only the post and the base remaining.

As we saw with Thetford’s missing town sign last week, Roydon’s local press and parish council are mysteriously silent on the matter. Ironically, whilst doing some research, I came across an article published in the Diss Express last week about a local man, Andrew Tullett, who plans to “[photograph] every village sign in Norfolk”. I wonder if anyone has told him that he now has 2 fewer examples to visit.

The Roydon village sign, seen here in situ, depicted the nearby St Remigius Church, a fine example of the county’s stock of round-tower churches. A plaque on the post says that it was “unveiled… on September 14th 1991.” 26 years later, do you know where it could be? If so, please leave a comment below.

Did you know?

Like village signs, round-tower churches are another Norfolk speciality. Of 185 existing examples in England, over 120 are in this county. The Anglo-Saxons are credited with the innovation, although it’s unclear why they chose this method. One explanation is that the aforementioned building material of choice, knapped flint, made it difficult to construct corners. Whatever the reason, they are a beautiful local tradition that adds to Norfolk’s unique appeal.

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The Mystery of the Missing Thetford Town Sign

The Thetford town sign disappeared earlier this summer. Up until recently, it stood at an obscure part of London Road, close to the cemetery. As a casual passer-by you may not have noticed it, and you certainly won’t now. After a few fruitless online searches, Peels4U popped down to the site to look for clues.

As of my visit on 15th August, the base and supports are still there, yet there’s no notice about where it’s gone. I left wondering if the sign was being repaired, had been stolen, or was taken down to be moved elsewhere.

The Thetford town sign, as seen here in situ, depicted famous local resident Thomas Paine, an influential figure in the American Revolution. You can still see a statue of Paine on King Street, outside Thetford Town Council. Speaking of whom, there’s as yet no mention of the missing sign on TTC’s News page. If you have any information, please leave a comment below.

Did you know?

Village signs, also used in towns, most likely originate in Norfolk. The story goes that Edward VII started the trend in the early part of the 20th Century. According to this article, the king commissioned four signs for villages on the Sandringham Estate “as a means of fostering community spirit and identity”. The idea caught on, and other signs began popping up across the country to showcase local history and pride. Norfolk remains at the forefront of this trend, boasting over 500 examples across our county.

We are Norfolk Signwriters

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