Villagers go back to beginning

Four years ago a group of archaeologists and amateur historians embarked on a project to chart the beginnings of a medieval Norfolk village and ended up winning national awards for its innovative research.

Four years ago a group of archaeologists and amateur historians embarked on a project to chart the beginnings of a medieval Norfolk village and ended up winning national awards for its innovative research.

And now they are to do it all again - in another village just three miles up the road.

Whereas the project in New Buckenham, near Attlebor-ough, was designed to chart the beginnings of a bustling castle town settlement, the Norfolk Historic Buildings Group will now be finding out how Tacolneston developed.

The New Buckenham Project was launched in 2001 and saw volunteers drilling into timbers of the village's historic homes in order to analyse the wood for information.

It spawned a 227-page book charting the development of the planned Norman town - and group leader, UEA academic Adam Longcroft, described the project as a major step forward in the understanding of Norfolk's buildings.

Tacolneston has been chosen as the group's second major project as it has many well-preserved houses to study and will offer a good comparison to its historically more important neighbour.

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Karen Mackie, who lives in Tacolneston and is helping run the latest project, said more than 50 householders had turned out for an introductory meeting in December and interest in the village was high.

“We were recording details of historic houses around the county while we were working in New Buckenham,” she said. “We had the opportunity to go into one or two houses in Tacolneston, which were well-preserved.

“So the village seemed like a good second project for us and it will be an interesting comparison between two villages in a similar area but with very different histories.”

Many of the people at the initial meeting said they would like the group to study the origins of their houses, and Mrs Mackie said she hoped the project would snowball.

Individual visits to houses will start in the coming weeks, and the eventual results will be published by the group in a special

journal.