More Interesting Facts
The area around Whissonsett, like most of Norfolk, is rich in reminders of those who have lived here over thousands of years.
The oldest finds are flint tools and weapons and then pieces of pottery, coins and the remains of buildings, many from the centuries of Roman occupation.
Metal detector enthusiasts may often be seen searching in the local fields before the next season’s crops are sown.
In 1995 when the Church Close building development began in Whissonsett it became clear that the meadow, known as Betts Field, on which the houses were being built, was part of a Saxon settlement.
Skeletons were uncovered in the field which lies at the rear of St. Mary’s Church.
Over the years human remains had been dug up in the Stone Pit in High Street and in the gardens at the rear of the Gravel Pit Cottages.
One skull was on display in the pub and school until it mysteriously disappeared.
A skeleton that was dug up during the erection of an air raid shelter in 1940 was wrapped in a sack and deposited in the bottom of a newly dug grave in the churchyard!
Before the second phase of building at Church Close in 2005 a thorough archaeological dig was carried out. Eight skeletons were found in a corner of what is believed to be an extensive Saxon cemetery, much of it now lies under existing houses. One was of a large man over six feet tall.
Other finds included shears, spindles and loom weights indicating the production of woollen goods at the settlement. Lumps of smelted iron showed evidence of blacksmiths working there. Personal items included carved bone combs, ironwork pins and what could be a book clasp.
Animal bones and oyster shells were remnants of long forgotten meals. Walls can be traced with foundations of flint and wattle and even the incorporation of Roman blocks brought from elsewhere.
A large building, perhaps a church or main village meeting place, is at the centre of the settlement. The Celtic Cross found in the churchyard could have been set up here.
When the skeletons and all the artefacts have been examined and dated an exhibition is to be held in Whissonsett village hall so we may all learn much more about the early development of the village.
The skeletons will be buried in the churchyard. It may be that some of their descendants still live in Whissonsett.