The Museum 4 Watton Watton
Museum For Watton Opening Times – entry is free donations welcome
Watton in Norfolk is steeped in history. After all, it has been around for well over a thousand years. But who knows more than that? We think Watton’s history should be explored and recorded for future generations. With this in mind, welcome to the Museum 4 Watton website, where you can explore our journey through Watton’s history, donate items, share your knowledge, or even volunteer to help us discover the next set of hidden secrets Watton has buried.
Why a Museum for Watton?
Many market towns in Norfolk have museums but, amazingly, Watton with over a thousand years of history didn’t and in 2014 plans were set in place by members of the community to change this! The Watton Town Council provided space in Wayland Hall, to house the Museum 4 Watton. After much hard work the team managed to obtain funding from the Heritage Lottery fund and in March 2018 the museum first opened its doors to the public. The Museum for Watton are delighted that over 6000+ visitors have now passed through our doors! The museum for Watton is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation run entirely by unpaid trustees and volunteers and is open Wednesday to Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. Entry is free (but of course we are happy to receive voluntary donations in our begging bowl! Whether you’re interested in the RAF and USAF, the “Crab and Winkle Line” railway, local businesses, social history of Watton, coins (ranging from an Iceni gold coin through medieval and later all found locally), Loch Neaton or pretty much anything else Watton related you’ll be amazed at our range of displays. Younger visitors can also join in our “mouse hunt” to win a prize!
The Watton Town Sign. Watton derives its name from the Saxon Wadetuna, homestead of Wade. In the nearby Wayland Wood, legend has it, the ‘Babes in the Wood’ were abandoned. The town sign shows the two babes, and the hare jumping over the barrel reflects the town name: wat being the local dialect word for hare, and ton for barrel. This device dates to the 1500’s. The legend that two children were abandoned in Wayland Wood and left to die. The tale was first published by Thomas Millington in Norwich in 1595.
Babes in the Wood. The Museum for Watton has heard of various theories as to how the legend of the Babes in the Wood came to be associated with Watton’s Wayland Wood. One of these theories is that the Elizabethan Manor House, standing a half mile to the south-east, contained, until about a hundred years ago, a carved over mantel of the period, depicting the story of the Babes, so even in Elizabeth 1st time it was already a legend. It was also in this house that the Wicked Uncle, who paid two ruffians to dispose of the Babes, was supposed to have lived. As all the world knows, the story of the Babes in the Wood has for hundreds of years been a favourite subject for Christmas pantomimes. From the 14th century until 1975 the wood was owned by the de Grey Family, but it was almost lost during Elizabethan times when Robert de Grey, a staunch Papist, who owned it at the time, was in Norwich gaol after having refused to attend the Anglican services or to pay the fines incurred by his action.
Metal Detecting in the Watton Area. Metal Detecting and finding artefacts by Field Walking are fascinating pastimes or hobbies. Whether you are already experienced in this field or a beginner, please read this leaflet carefully. Field Walking costs nothing but time and energy and can result in all sorts of interesting finds. Metal detecting is an absorbing hobby, once frowned upon by Archaeologists, now embraced to a certain extent. Please read what we say carefully to ensure that your activity is legal. For those that are ‘starters’ it is unfortunate, but, unless you pay ’good’ money for your machine you are unlikely to get much of a result. Be prepared to spend hundreds rather than tens of pounds. If you are uncertain of the quality or identity of your finds and are loath to approach the correct authority, try us. We will be able to establish enough to know if your find is important and what it is. Above all else, especially in this area, do not attempt to dig out anything that looks even remotely like it might be ammunition or a bomb. Contact the Police immediately, do not be tempted to move or take home any object like this. It is illegal to be in possession of any form of Ammunition, Explosive or Firearm no matter how you came by it.
Important Information. All ‘amateur detecting’ activities are forbidden by law on MOD property, SSSI sites, Crown Properties, Registered and known Archaeological sites, Scheduled Ancient Monuments and Forestry Commission property including Thetford Forest. If requested, permission will not be given. It must be clearly understood that ’Field Walking’, ‘Metal Detecting’ and ‘Night Hawking’, which are all terms for searching for artefacts, are all illegal unless:- You have the express permission of the owner of the property on which you are operating, preferably in writing, and it is not one of the types mentioned in paragraph one. Removing anything from any property that you do not own, without permission, is theft even if just picked up on a footpath. Read more…
Come and see for yourself all the interesting information Watton has to offer.
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