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Golden treasure inspires pupils’ work on new local history book

PUBLISHED: 09:57 09 December 2016 | UPDATED: 09:57 09 December 2016

'Gold from Norfolk', Snettisham school book launch with pupils and author John Haden. Picture by Emma Hunt

'Gold from Norfolk', Snettisham school book launch with pupils and author John Haden. Picture by Emma Hunt

Emma Hunt

Youngsters have been working with author John Haden on a book about the gold torcs found outside their village.

Snettisham school - launch of 'Gold from Norfolk' book. Picture by John Haden Snettisham school - launch of 'Gold from Norfolk' book. Picture by John Haden

In Gold from Norfolk, pupils at Snettisham Primary School have tried to answer the question few people, even in their own village, know the answer to – namely, just what is a ‘torc’?

In the book they tell the story of how these gold necklaces were found, who made them and how long ago. The children, aged 10 and 11, also illustrated the book.

It’s a story that takes readers back to the Iron Age, before the Romans came to Norfolk, when Iceni craftsmen were making wonderful gold necklaces, the torcs, on Ken Hill, at Snettisham.

They made not just the most famous piece, the Great Torc of Snettisham, but more than 170 of them, many still complete.

This wonderful collection of gold jewellery is now in the British Museum but it was found buried in a Norfolk field.

The book also tells the story of the Iceni Queen Boudicca, who wore a torc into battle when she rebelled against the Romans.

She sacked their towns at Colchester, London and St Albans only to be defeated in one last great battle.

The book was launched by a representative of the Halls Exhibition Foundation, a charitable trust in Snettisham set up after the closure of the Hall’s Grammar School, which helped with printing costs.

Mr Haden, pictured above, who is the former principal of Wymondham College, said: “The children were very excited to be involved. They did some lovely bits of writing about Boudicca, and the drawings were good.

“We hope people enjoy reading about a metal that has always been the symbol of wealth and royalty.

“This is the first of the books I’m writing with primary schools about each of the metals used by the Romans – gold, silver, copper, lead, tin and iron – and the places in England where they have been found.

“I previously wrote a book with children in Heacham about Pocahontas and John Rolfe, which is still available.”

Gold from Norfolk is on sale from the school, or online from Amazon.uk/ARIES at £5.99.

Are you working on a book project? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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