Norfolk’s past captured at fair

Celebrating Norfolk's heroes was the theme as hundreds of people flocked to the Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, near Dereham, to capture the county's proud past at the annual history fair yesterday.

Robert Kett, who led the rebellion against the loss of common land, Admiral Horatio Nelson, who was triumphant at the Battle of Trafalgar, Margaret Fountaine, the Victorian butterfly collector and adventurer, and Howard Carter, the archaeologist who discovered Tutankhamen's tomb, were all remembered during the day of re-enactments, demonstrations and displays.

Members of the Norwich and Norfolk Medieval Association set up a camp and lived as they would have done in the Middle Ages and showed how another Norfolk hero – Sir Thomas Erpingham – led his men to victory against the French at Agincourt in 1415 despite being massively outnumbered.

Turning the clock forward to the 18th century, and the Mannered Mob taught visitors traditional skills, crafts and pastimes.

Spinning, metal detecting and engines in steam were among the other attractions, while the library – which is only normally open by appointment – was accessible to the public.

The gusty winds proved tricky during the day, especially in the large marquees, but all the 40 local societies continued with their activities.

The final attendance figure was still being calculated but it is hoped it will be near the usual total of about 1,500 for the history fair.

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Duty manager Rose Sheen said the museum was eager to continue laying on the special event.

'It is always a very valuable day and highlights the connections between local history groups, other small museums – which are often independent – and the Norfolk Museums Service.

'This is a day to bring them all together.'

She added: 'The history fair brings the past to life and people enjoy talking to those who know in depth about the heroes and the activities. The Norfolk heroes are really important for our county and its heritage.'

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