Categories ......
Back to Home Page Menu  
Mattishall Village Sign ....
Transcript by
Iris Coe
For more information there is a leaflet written by
Iris Coe
which is available from All Saints Church

The village sign is situated on Church plain ...
Erected in 1984,
the sign was designed by David Summers who is a practising architect who used to live in Mattishall. The artist was David Holgate who lives and works in the Norwich area.
The Mattishall Society commissioned the work and a large proportion of the cost was raised by a local resident, Frank C. Jerome, (affectionately known as J.J.) who collected unwanted furniture and other items which he auctioned. "J.J." died before the sign became a reality. Each of the four panels on the sign is headed with a different spelling of the village name.
© Ray Taylor  

MATESHALA is the spelling found in the Domesday Book of 1086. This panel depicts a hoard of Roman coins found during excavations for a new housing development in 1968. They were in a pot which had obviously been buried. There was 1100 coins which are now in the Castle Museum in Norwich. As yet no evidence of Roman occupation has been discovered in Mattishall.


MATESHAL appears on documents in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, the British Museum and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. Mattishall has had connections with the latter since 1370. Edmund Gonville endowed Gonville Hall with the income from the Great Tithes of Mattishall Church and with the Advowson (the right to appoint the vicar). In 1575 the Coats of Arms of Caius and Gonville were combined to form the Arms of the present college and these appear on the second panel. Also represented on this panel is the period when Mattishall had a large number of wool dealers who bought from the west of the county and sold through Norwich market. At least the law abiding ones did, but a number of these brokers actually bypassed Norwich, selling direct to clothiers in Suffolk, a practice which often landed them in the Norwich court where heavy fines were imposed. They were known by the uncomplimentary title of "Mattishall wool Broggers".

MATSALL is engraved on the silver chalice dated 1567, which belongs to All Saints' Church. The cleric shown on the third panel is Matthew Parker, the first Archbishop appointed by Elizabeth I. He was born in Norwich in 1504 and became a frequent visitor to Mattishall where his friends the Harlestones had an estate. His wife, Margaret Harlestone, was born in Mattishall and natives of the village believe that the house behind the butcher's shop was the Harlestone family home. It is not known exactly what the house looked like in Margaret's day, but it has been reproduced on the panel showing how it would have appeared when refaced around 1700. Unfortunately, no portrait of Margaret has survived. Matthew's likeness was taken from a copy of his portrait which hangs in and was loaned by Lambeth Palace.

MATTISHALL, the present day spelling, completes the quartet. This fourth panel shows a Dobbs Brothers' tumbril painted in their particular colours. The Dobbs family lived and worked in Mattishall for well over 100 years, manufacturing tumbrils, carts and harrows. Through orders gained during the Norfolk Agricultural Show, the work of Dobbs Brothers became well known and their reputation spread to Suffolk and other parts of East Anglia. The last tumbril was sold in 1950. A number of reconditioned Dobbs carts are to be found around the country, kept as show pieces.
Back to Home Page Menu  
If you are viewing this site through someone else's browser then refresh here:-