History of the Group
The Heritage Group is made up of village groups and individuals researching the history of Wayland. When we were first formed we researched the history behind all of our wonderful churches, plus a few more, making 18 in total! In 2004 the results were published in a book, ‘Unlocking Our Histories – The Churches of Wayland’, which is available to purchase at Wayland House.
In 2008 we were awarded Heritage Lottery funding for a very ambitious project which in many ways followed on from the church research. So many wider historical questions were left unanswered and so many church visitors asked why the churches were built where they stood or wanted to know more about the community that we felt it important to continue. We were fortunate to be awarded a sufficient sum to employ a Heritage Officer and we re-convened the research team from the church project but with many new members. Over a three year period we researched the wider history of each of our Wayland villages in which the churches were set. The results were published in November 2011 in thirteen separate village books, each containing an accompanying DVD. They are available for purchase at Wayland House.
Partly due to a small funding legacy from the sale of the village history books, the Heritage group continued to meet, with the villages each concentrating on researching individual aspects of their own community with support from the Partnership. The group has also proved invaluable in supporting each other in many ways; answering queries, looking up information in our own resources, providing expertise on specific subjects and much more.
When it was announced that the Heritage Lottery were making funds available for WWI projects it seemed an ideal opportunity for the group. It was felt that, while a certain amount was known about the War and about many of the individuals who served, little had been done to discover what impact the war might have had on the very close-knit and isolated rural community that was Wayland. Much was known about Pal’s Brigades in other parts of the UK and the impact of their service and loss together, but what about the impact on the rural economy of the loss of so many of its workers? This extended into discussion as to how women had coped, if many served or otherwise had their lives changed, how the farms and estates managed and if they changed forever, how the children were affected and more. The result was a bid to HLF for £10,000 which was awarded in 2014.
The Wayland in WWI project will finish in April 2016 but before that date we have a major commemorative event and exhibition on November 14th and 15th 2015 at Watton Sports Centre (Further details to follow). This will give us time to collate all the research findings and any new information arising from the exhibition to produce a written outcome, DVDs and other methods of ensuring that our results are available for posterity.
Perhaps one of the most important but less obvious benefits of belonging to the group has been the increased confidence of many of the members through being part of such a supportive network. Some, who began their association with the group unsure even of what to research and how, are now giving lectures to others and managing exhibitions and events. Others have developed a lifelong hobby, or learned new skills and increased knowledge.
If you would like to join any of the village groups or become part of the wider Wayland Heritage Group then please contact the Wayland Partnership on 01953 883915 or email jan(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)wayland.org.uk .